It’s no secret that I think too many business owners prioritize new customer acquisition over customer retention. Attracting new business is relatively easy. But for the enduring health of the company, most businesses need long-lasting, profitable relationships with their customers. And as we all know from our personal lives, building relationships can be challenging – especially when we’re not sure what the other party wants from us.
Why are people loyal?
Customer loyalty depends on the customer experience. For a person to choose to do business with your company time and time again, they have to enjoy it. Enjoyment is a relative term, of course – few people literally jump for joy when they get online to order some dog food – but at a minimum, the customer experience should be pleasant enough that they don’t mind repeating it.
Delving deeper, it becomes clear that there are 3 aspects of the customer experience that are absolutely critical in building loyalty. These 3 aspects are:
Quality of Product/Service
Not surprisingly, most customers rate the quality of the product or service as the most important consideration in continuing a business relationship. Consistency counts! The customer who is attracted to your business because you offer superior products won’t stay if they only get average goods the next time – and if what they get is sub-par, forget it – that relationship is done.
Easy to Work With
How many of your customers have busy schedules & difficult days? The answer is probably close to 100%. That’s why their interactions with your company need to be simple and stress-free. This encompasses every aspect of your business, from how long customers wait for an appointment to the process of resolving a problem or returning an order.
Maya Angelou spoke many truths, with the greatest one being “People will never forget how you made them feel.” What we hear again and again from loyal customers is that they consider how a business makes them feel. When they feel value, appreciated, and even loved, they stay. When they don’t, they don’t stay.
Ways to Build Loyalty
Building loyalty means building relationships, and building relationships requires interaction. The reality of the way we do business today means that many of these interactions take the form of digital conversations. When a customer visits your website, checks you out on social media, or messages your business with a question, they’re presenting you with an opportunity to strengthen that relationship. Make sure you make the most of it.