Building customer loyalty

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Jonah Nyoni

FOR about a month now we have been focusing on the most important ingredient to business success: customer service. Every business person wants to see their old customers coming time and again. He wants to see more new ones coming and staying.

By JONAH NYONI

How is that possible? Research says that it is less expensive to retain a customer than to hunt for a new one, as such this article helps you build a loyal customer base.

Offer what others can’t

We can’t build customer loyalty basing on products and prices. Customers do consider these, but the same product with the same price could be sold across the street. There is an intangible thing that can’t be duplicated by anyone and its customer service.

In his article Create a powerful customer service experience, John Tscholh, author and customer service expert said:

“Integrate service into every facet of your business, from hiring to technology. At the core of a service, strategy is the belief that no transaction is complete unless the service your customers receive is powerful enough to motivate them to do business with you again and again.

Create a management team that is zealous about customer service. Reward employees who go above and beyond the call to provide great customer service; terminate those who do not. Send the message that service is at the top of your priority list”.

Maintain integrity

Loyalty stems from transparency and integrity. First of all, make your customers trust you because you deliver on time as promised. Or because you inform your customer of any glitch way before they start complaining.

Create an experience

I have always asked myself; does a cheap product keep customers? If it were so, people would flood to cheap retailers? Do customers want durable or strong products? Do customers want special discounts? Those are questions that attract customers, but they might not retain them. Customers love a great experience. Customers don’t only buy a product, but they buy what they are emotionally attached to.

Build loyalists

Some companies call for cocktail parties to their customers, especially when the year is ending. This is because they have created a group of a loyal community, which has a bond with a company. This has been successful with referral or networking companies.

Recently, I was invited by a bank for their customer family fun day.

Create a personal relationship

Communication with the customer all the time is essential. As a country Zimbabwe, we hear from a company mainly when there is an overdue debt or an unpaid instalment. Constantly be in touch with the customer. Communicate with your customer about a new product and build that rapport.

Be approachable

At times companies make it hard for the customer to communicate with them through processes and unnecessary procedures. Make it inexplicably easy for the customer to do business with you. Secondly, try, at all cost, to eliminate protocol in resolving customer complaints.

Empower every employee to work on a problem. As soon as a complaint has to be attended by a particular individual it wastes and takes so much time. For example, when they are not present what do you do?

Remember the small things

Every company must master to do small things in a great way. For example, mobile companies and the bank have mastered this through anniversaries and birthdays. The customer feels remember, important and appreciated.

Let your customer be first and the best

Every customer wants to be treated like a king. Let your customer feels that by giving them a five-star treatment. In your field be the best in customer care.

Fight to beat the best

In your specify industry, you probably know the top 10 players that offer the best customer relations management (CRM). Learn from them, benchmark on them and beat them. Learn their values, strategies and their unique value proposition.

Call them and hear how they answer your calls. Send them an email and see how they behave. Every time I am hired to train a company to train on customer service, i do a background check and undercover fact-finding. This helps me to make a diagnosis on the strengths and weaknesses. I love to check on how the front officers behave and their personalities.

Recruit the right people and treat them well

Google search previous my article titled, Great employees key to a great customer service. A great customer experience is made by great employees. You will need people with a positive attitude and good values. Then train them your service expectations and standards. By training them, you are making them feel valuable.

Train employees

In life we usually attract who we become in the process of life. This is true for business. The more you become great in customer service, you attract great customers. Great customer service comes from constant training. Sports people know the significance of training. The more you train, the more you hone the necessary skills.

As you set a budget for the year 2018 you must not forget to budget for customer service training. Sometimes we sabotage our best interests by thinking that if we train employees they will be taken by some company. Remember, employees, are looking for employment in great companies.

So let your company be “the” great company. When you train employees they feel special and needed. Most companies forget to train the front line employees, thinking they have little contribution to company growth and profits. Nourish the plants, and the garden will bloom.

Use positive reinforcement

In my most of my employment history shows that most leaders or managers do give less attention to good work than bad work. Employees are not acknowledged for their great contribution. When one’s work is not recognised, their enthusiasm usually wanes. When their enthusiasm is deflated, they pass their grumpiness to customers.

Take advantage of the situation

In Zimbabwe, it looks like no company cares about customer service. This is the great time to offer great customer care. This is the greatest time people need to feel your love and warmth, even though they are waiting in a long queue for their hard cash.

When people are stressed and strained by the economic downturn, it’s the best time to put a smile on their face.