A study published by Bob Thompson, “The Loyalty Connection: Secrets to Customer Retention and Increased Profit”, found that 73 percent of customers who stopped buying from a business did so because of customer service. Further digging showed that customers felt the business just didn’t really care about them.
The key to creating customer loyalty is to regularly remind your busy customers that you exist and you can eliminate their pains, wants or needs. Your success in building customer loyalty lies in setting up a detailed plan for consistent contact with your customers.
Start by finding the best times to contact your customers and remind them to buy from you. Here are 11 ways you can stay in touch with your customers:
- Send a monthly newsletter. We discussed this in detail in our interview with Jim Palmer, “The Newsletter Guru” in our September 2012 issue. Check it out and you will understand why monthly newsletters are one of the easiest and best ways to increase customer loyalty.
- Send thank-you notes. Any time a customer buys, you should send a thank-you note. Hand write it and use a regular stamp. This works because so few businesses will bother.
- Tell them about a new product that will solve their problems. You need to know what your customers need and want, so ask them! Maybe they are unsure of what solutions might be available. Digitally published books that educate your customers are a great way to gently nudge your customers in your direction.
- Thank them for a referral. They have taken a risk and you should thank them for trusting you. Plus, rewarded behavior is repeated, so reward them for making the referrals.
- Remember special occasions. Birthdays and anniversaries of their first purchase are great examples.
- “Thought of you when I read this article…”. This is a great way for the customer to realize that you have their best interests in mind, even when they are not right in front of you.
- Mention you saw them in the news. Let them know you saw their advertising. The business owner spent money on the advertising, and likes to know that someone saw it.
- Tell your best customers about a sale or special offer. Companies often have a deal that is only for new customers. Don’t forget your current customers. They are the easiest and cheapest sale you can make.
- Have contests. Everyone loves a contest. Have a prize drawing where the customer can earn an extra chance to win with every purchase they make during the month.
- Do periodic customer satisfaction surveys. Ask your customers what you are doing right and what you can improve. Keep it simple—two or three questions at the most.
- Write educational blog articles. Educated customers buy more. This is where blogging helps. We have been doing so for years, and it has really helped us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and increase our customers’ loyalty.