To keep customers and clients long-term, you need to have the right systems in place to manage customer expectations and respond to problems in a timely fashion. Let’s look at two key issues of client management: customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Satisfaction and Loyalty Defined
Customer satisfaction is how happy your customers are with your solutions and your pre-sales and ongoing support. Do they feel they got their money’s worth? Did you resolve any issues or concerns in a timely manner? One way to measure satisfaction is to look at how many people cancel your service, stop doing business with you, or drop out of your program.
Customer loyalty is what your customers think about you and your services. How likely are they to purchase from you again? Will they refer business to you?
Why Customer Loyalty Matters
Customer satisfaction is a good measure of how you deliver your products and service, but just because your clients were “satisfied” with the results they received doesn’t mean they will purchase from you again or refer business to you. Here are three reasons why customer loyalty is important.
- Loyal customers are repeat customers. It is far easier to sell to existing customers than to continuously attract new clients. Your existing customers already know what to expect from your solutions and the advantages of doing business with you.
- Loyal customers buy more. Most people are hesitant to make major purchases. They want to try out your low-cost option before they spend lots of money with you. As they try out your products and services, they evaluate how satisfied they are with your delivery, results and support. If they like the provided solution, they are much more likely to spend more money with you.
- Loyal customers refer business. As you build rapport and trust with your customer, you also build relationships with your customer’s family, friends and co-workers.
How to Build Customer Loyalty
Your current customers are the lifeblood of your business. Here are six tips to keep them coming back.
- Create a positive first impression. Loyalty begins with a first impression. If your prospect has a negative interaction with you, it will impact all future interactions. Be professional and polite.
- Listen. What are prospects and clients telling you? Do they feel you understand their problems and concerns? Don’t suggest your services until you have a clear understanding of what your prospects and clients want. Be empathetic and honest about whether your solutions can help.
- Figure out what matters most. What is your client’s top priority? What does “satisfaction” mean to them? What are their expectations? Your prospects’ and clients’ expectations and priorities can change over time, so make sure you listen and ask for clarification.
- Respond promptly. Whenever someone calls or emails, respond with in two business hours maximum. Also, consider creating an online “help desk” to resolve common customer issues when you are not available.
- Resolve complaints quickly. Inevitably, if you work with someone long-term, you will face issues and obstacles. Sometimes, they will want to return a product or change the terms of the delivered service. Have a fair change or cancellation policy in place so customers know what to expect (such as a project delay or a cancellation fee).
- Learn why customers left. If you have past customers who have stopped doing business with you, find out why. Many people won’t switch vendors solely because of price. Often, they switch because they are unhappy with your service or don’t feel valued.
Customer loyalty develops over time and is based on how satisfied customers are with your products and services. By providing high-quality solutions and great customer service, you will build much more loyal customers.