Sometimes we take our customers for granted, don’t we? We just assume that because they just bought our product or service that they will always continue to buy from us. I mean, you do have the best _____ (fill in the blank here with what your company does or offers) on the planet, right? And why would they ever consider to NOT buy from us?
There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but I think it may come down to the fact that we never really take any concrete steps to turn them from a satisfied customer to a loyal and raving fan.
Keeping a client does take work and while all of us know this, how often do we practice it? How do you make your customers feel? Are you building a loyal and raving client or it is a “1 and done” relationship?
There are many different factors that go into building loyal clients and here are just a few of them. (Our workshops and seminars on The Customer Experience go into detail on how to create this experience for your clients and not make them a “1 and done.")
#1- Make it personal- Get to know more about your client than just his or her name. What do they like to eat, drink, do, etc.? Know the birthdate and/or the anniversary of when they became a client with you and celebrate these events.
#2- Be Proactive, not reactive- I call this- “the vision.” Can you anticipate your clients’ needs before they can? Or are you always reacting to them? Remember, when you are reacting, you are typically on your heels and you are apologizing. Now, you can’t be everywhere all the time, but you can avoid challenges at times by just thinking one step ahead to potentially quiet the storm that may be looming.
#3- Ask this question- "How else can I help you today”? And it may not have anything to do with your business, but it has everything to do with theirs. Who can you connect them with to solve a problem that they may be experiencing? What you are doing is building value for you and your company. If they can think of you as an expert and someone who can help them achieve their objectives, you are making them feel better about themselves and your company at the same time.
#4- Handle last minute requests with… Professionalism. That can be challenging at times, especially when clients change their minds and orders… a lot. But all of us can pick up poor body language cues and non-verbal communication, even on the phone. Make sure your people handle these requests with a smile on their face, no matter what they may be really thinking about your customer.
#5- Think like a Franchise- Here is what we mean. Any good franchise will have systems in place on how to do most everything in their company or organization. In theory, almost anyone in their company (who can read and follow directions) should be able to handle any situation or challenge that could arise with a client. Do you have your systems in place so that anyone in your company could take care of a client when they have a challenge? Or is your customer “shuttled” from one department to another because people in your company just don’t know how to answer that particular question. If you are able to create systems that will cross-train your employees, just think what the feeling will be from your customers. They will feel better about any challenge they may have knowing that anyone from your team can work with them. This is quite refreshing in this day of “always being put on hold.”
#6- Thank them over and over- This doesn’t always mean with gifts (although those are always nice). It could also be in the form of a special price on a product or service they order from you. It could be special recognition on your website or social media sites. It could be having their favorite beverage and snack waiting for them the next time they come to your office (or when you visit them).
These are just a few ways to not only build loyal client relationships (and friendships) but to make people feel better about you and your company brand than they do about your competitor.