Retaining Customers in Today's Business World | Your Business Coaching Club

In the world where very few industries and companies could claim that they have the market cornered, is it really that hard to retain customers?

It appears that it is getting hard to command customer loyalty and have a stable (forget growing!) customer base. The factors are numerous and not all are in the control of the companies anymore.

Why are today’s companies obsessed about customer loyalty?

Maybe it is a throwback to yesteryear, but the prestige of a company is still measured by the fanaticism of its customers. Look at the list of Forbes 500 and it is clear that the companies that head the list are those who have managed to foster a community around their brands. Case in point is Apple, a company that has built an entire community of fan boys who are willing to buy every new gadget that the company produces.

Another reason to look for customer loyalty is purely financial.

Loyal customers are return customers who spend more at every visit, come back month after month and really support the brand. In addition, a loyal customer base is the best form of free advertising. Companies have found out that a loyal customer in a position of power in a corporate structure will convert those below them into loyal customers as well. This word of mouth advertising has become an important factor in today’s world of social shopping and peer opinions.

Given the choices available to customers in everything from food products to software to engineering products, the challenge of retaining the customers’ loyalty has come to the forefront of corporate decision making and strategy development.

Big Business is able to get away with shenanigans that might hurt small and mid sized businesses. Wal-Mart could get away with a stocking blinder but a small grocery store would lose the customers permanently. Hence, retaining customers has become a big issue for the survival and continued health of the bottom line of many SMEs.

Several factors affect how customers perceive a business. Customer loyalty depends more on small things and seemingly insignificant actions rather than broad bold steps.

Instead of looking toward complete shifts in business strategy, SMEs and Big Business could benefit more from small changes in their corporate strategy.

Anticipate What the Customers Want

Anticipation is less guesswork and more informed decision making. Looking for patterns in customer data would point out the changing requirements of the customer base.

Anticipating the needs of the customers goes beyond just stocking for the coming season. It includes providing the best fit for the customers’ requirements and having all the accessories and related products on hand so that the customer will not be forced to shop else where.

Be there for the customers

At the core of all loyal customer communities lies a proactive customer care department.

Appointing account managers is not enough. Ensuring that the customer could contact the account manager at all times is what would earn the customer’s loyalty. Many businesses widely advertise their contact information but very often customers find out that there is nobody to return their calls and emails.

Talk to Them

All successful brand based communities lead to a loyal customer base. And the majority of successful brand centric communities are often owned and run by the brands themselves.

This is an important dimension of customer service that many companies refuse to accept. People turn to the internet to resolve their problems. This means that the corporate website and associated forums are considered to be the most credible sources of information. This is an excellent leverage point that could be nurtured into a loyal customer base.

Employ Knowledgeable People.

Perhaps, the most important element that boosts customer loyalty is to have knowledgeable employees. This is true for every industry from high tech engineering to FMCG.

Nothing breaks the deal like an employee who does not know anything about the business. Worse yet are employees with partial knowledge of the products and services they are dealing with. Such employees make outrageous promises that really hurt the reputation of the business.

Employee education and training are the only way of presenting a knowledgeable customer service front to the customers.

In the end, customer loyalty is all about consistently good products and a competent customer services unit. These two elements have become the new face of any successful business and thus the twin foundations of continued customer loyalty.

About the guest post author

Dave Jones is a web content writer, and guest blogger, who offers content writing services to online business owners. If you need a reliable guest blogging or content writing service, contact Dave at davejone00@gmail.com

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