The Importance of Customer Loyalty
Your business needs to operate from a number that can be regularly expected with no profitability beyond sustainability. You as a business owner must know that whatever happens, you’re going to hit that number. Small businesses become massive ones by following strategies that don’t spend beyond a business’s means.
Certainly, a great deal of the modern economy is based on debt management. And while there are definitely good reasons to go into debt, staying out of it is always recommendable. Instead of financing a loan to push that new strategy, why not focus instead on slowly building sustainable growth?
One of the best ways to build sustainable growth which will allow you to expend assets toward expansion without resorting to debt is to foster customer loyalty. Following are several ways modern businesses have been making loyal customers.
Getting Into Client Minds
This may seem like a simple piece of advice, but it can be surprising how many people neglect to employ it. People don’t put themselves in the shoes of other people these days, it’s a skill fast being lost with the millennial generation. This can be disastrous for marketing and customer retention, but realizing this and working to change your own attitudes and practices can be a competitive advantage. So get in the head of that new customer as they walk into your establishment, or peruse your web site online. Think like someone who is totally unfamiliar with your services.
One of the best ways to do this is to shop around competitor sites, and make a list of the things you like, and the things you don’t. Your perspective, personally, will be representative of a certain demographic. If you can find folks in the office with different perspectives, and from different demographics, you can conduct your own in-house focus group; though it may be better to work with individuals who have nothing to do with your business whatsoever.
Regardless how you choose to pursue this, it is a very necessary component in the growth of today’s business. With increasingly less empathetic people making up increasingly large demographics, cutting through the veneer of modern attitude can surprise clients into love of your services. They expect to be treated with indifference today; so flip the script on them.
Oh, The Humanity!
Another important element of retaining clientele is the “human” element. Think of the last time you had to call your cellphone company. How long did it take before you were talking to an actual, flesh-and-blood individual? And was that individual one with whom you were familiar with on a cultural level, or no?
What I’m saying is: was there a connection that was fostered, encouraged, or otherwise made possible? Probably not. Today, everything is faceless. Teenagers would rather text, Instagram, or Snapchat their friends than hang out with them—except in very specific scenarios. People seldom call one another on the phone anymore. Companies design automated software that funnels people one direction or another to save time.
While metrics may look good on the back end, customer experiences suffer in such scenarios, and unless all options yield the same, a potential client is less likely to use a service where no human connection can be made. It’s almost like the more things change, the more they stay the same; as the old saying goes.
Digital solutions have taken over the industry. People today find themselves pining for human contact in areas where before they could have cared less. People just want to be treated better, and there’s no automated solution that can provide this. So the industry is evolving away from automation except in bottom-dollar, cut-price scenarios. More qualitative service often incorporates the human element.
Anticipate Client Needs
Forbes.com published an article on this topic several years ago that pointed out something very interesting at the Grand Del Mar resort. Some children of guests found a patch of sand, and were about to play in it. Before they could say anything, a person on the hotel staff walked by and dropped off a bucket and shovel in colorful plastic.
When the kids looked—voila! There were just the things they needed to have fun in the sun and build a sandcastle. Later, at the same hotel, a valet asked where guests were headed. When the kids said “Legoland!” the valet grabbed some water bottles and gave them to the family, knowing the distance of that location from the hotel. He said “It’s going to be a hot day.”
Now has this hotel increased the likelihood of this family returning in future, or decreased it? See, the staff have been trained at such an institution to anticipate client needs and see to them before clients realize such needs have arisen. This is easier to do than you might expect.
If you’ve got clients who need to save money on something, websites like My Deals can help them get online discounts. If your client needs transportation—and it’s likely that others will need similar transportation—have a cab or limousine company at the ready perpetually.
At a hotel like the Grand Del Mar, hundreds of guests will come through on a weekly—even daily—basis. Continual operations will inform employees where needs are likely. The best way for you to collect data on your own clients in this manner? Talk to your employees, and find out what customers are most likely to do in a given situation, and why. Collect that data and turn it into policy, and you’ll have quantized the anticipation of customer needs.
The Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction And Loyalty
When customers are satisfied, they’re more likely to be loyal. The best customer satisfaction comes from customer service operating in such a way that the business takes the customer’s perspective and works from there.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Evolving business trends today hearken toward interpersonal interaction precisely because of technological proliferation. So get in ahead of this trend. Excise technological “shortcuts” from your customer-interaction protocols. The current trend in facilitating customer loyalty is evolving toward less technological, more personable solutions.