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Ten Suggestions to Build Customer Loyalty

The key to a successful business is maintaining a steady customer base. After all, successful businesses typically see 80 percent of their business coming from 20 percent of their customers. Too many businesses neglect this loyal customer base and chase new customers instead. Since it costs significantly more money to attract new customers than to maintain relationships with existing ones, your efforts toward building customer loyalty will certainly payoff.

Here are ten ways in which you can build customer loyalty:

1. Communicate: Whether it is an email newsletter, monthly flier, a reminder card for a tune up or a holiday greeting card, reach out to your steady customers.

2. Customer Service: Go the extra distance and meet customer needs. Train the staff to do the same. Customers remember being treated well.

3. Employee Loyalty: Loyalty works from the top down. If you show your employees loyalty, they will feel good about their jobs and pass that loyalty along to your customers.

4. Employee Training: Train employees in the manner you want them to interact with customers. Empower employees to make decisions that benefit the customer.

5. Customer Incentives: Give customers a reason to return to your business. For instance, children outgrow shoes quickly, so a children’s shoe store owner might hand out a card that makes the tenth pair of shoes half price. Likewise, a dentist may give a free cleaning to anyone who has seen him regularly for five years.

6. Product Awareness: Know what your regular customers buy and keep those items in stock. Add other products and/or services that go with the products your regular customers buy.

7. Reliability: If you say it will be there on Wednesday, deliver it on Wednesday. Be reliable. If something goes wrong, let customers know immediately and compensate them for their inconvenience.

8. Be Flexible: Try to solve customer problems or complaints. The phrase, “well that’s our policy” will lose more customers then setting the store on fire.

9. People over Technology: The harder it is for a customer to speak to a human being when he or she has a problem, the less likely it is that you will see that customer again.

10. Know Their Names: Remember the theme song to the television show “Cheers”? Get to know the names of regular customers or at least recognize their faces.



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