The most recent Forrester Customer Experience Index, released in June of 2018, reveals that U.S. brands are lacking a clear leader in terms of customer service experience. "Though brands are catching on to the fact that high quality customer experience correlates with business growth," Forrester Chief Research and Product Officer Cliff Condon says, "many companies don't fully understand what matters most to their customers."
Unfortunately, many businesses are missing out on building a loyal customer base. No matter which industry you are in, watching your fan base grow is one of the most exhilarating experiences an entrepreneur can enjoy. Loyal customers infect others with their enthusiasm and can be your most vocal marketers. Use these strategies to nurture them, reinforce their loyalty, and drive your business goals.
Anything associated with your brand must be of the highest standards. Don't just focus on excellence in your primary product - the entire customer experience should be one to remember. Trust blooms when customers see that you go above and beyond to make them happy. Conversely, a disappointing product or service erodes trust and loyalty instantly and, often, permanently.
Every business owner needs to understand that social media is very much a double-edged sword, and a mighty sharp one. There is no faster way to lose brand loyalty than a social media snafu. Resist the temptation to post impulsively, whether it is in response to a positive or negative experience; let the emotion of the moment subside and then decide whether it is a good idea. If budget allows, employ a social media manager to implement a coherent strategy and implement it.
The most effective way to build your customer base is to focus on your existing customer base.
That might sound counterintuitive, but it is a well-established truism in business. Research shows that most consumers read ratings and feedback before making a purchase. If your clients are consistently leaving 5-star reviews, you have the perfect magnet to draw those sitting on the fence.
Most new clients take a leap of faith and give you their hard-earned money after seeing how happy your existing customers are. This has a snowball effect and studies indicate that old customers advertise themselves as early adopters loudly and proudly.
Don't be flexible with your promises and your customers won't be flexible with their loyalty. It is important that a business sticks by what they say and advertise. For example, it may be tempting to extend a sale after the promised last day or to drop prices. Sure, it might ring the cash register a few more times but consider how those who believed you the first time will feel. You are assured of a lukewarm and cautious approach for the next sale, if they return at all.
In today's world of email marketing and impersonal interactions, let your customers know you value them. This can be in the form of a well written email, a handwritten note, or phone call. Send regular customers birthday cards or season's greetings. If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization that a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know. This personal attention helps to build and maintain customer loyalty.
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