Simple steps that are guaranteed to keep customers loyal


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“The ones that give, get back in kind.” – Pam Durban

You may have heard of Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt from their very popular book series Chicken Soup for the Soul. With the same sensitivities to interpersonal relationships, they have also crafted a book called the Power of Focus. It is a book challenging business leaders to be specific and intentional in order to be able to hit goals with absolute certainty.

Under one section on establishing core client relationships, they have provided a definition of these most important customers in your business:

“Your core clients are people at the heart of your business. They buy from you consistently and our main source of revenue. They are also happy to provide excellent referrals for new business, because they genuinely love your products and service.”

It’s this attention to your best customers that can help you grow your business. When these people feel like they’ve been taken care of consistently, then they will consistently take care of you.

Some of the suggestions offered in the book for taking care of regular clients include the following:

  • Golf outings.
  • Dinners or special trips.
  • Time to share ideas or advising how to handle certain challenges.
  • Making them aware of a great book.
  • Communicating an article about their favorite pastime or hobby.
  • Connecting them to people who have a unique service or product.

As you can see, the more you know about the interests of the people on your core client list, the more opportunities you create to be able to help them and build ongoing relationships.

Sometimes, though, you may not have the benefit of repeat business with core clients on a regular basis. Your customers purchase once and are gone, or they have no need for repeat purchases until many years down the road.  What are some ways that you can show these valuable customers that they are just as important as “regular” clients in other businesses? Here are some ideas based on practices that have worked in various customer service team environments:

Respond quickly. At the risk of stating the obvious, resolving issues within timeframes that are comfortable for the customer is the key satisfaction driver. However, if you are not even accomplishing this most basic practice, you will have to take the time to bolster systems and manpower to ensure this happens consistently, otherwise any other efforts to satisfy customers will be in vain. Always return voicemails promptly (i.e., right away). Email responses should take place within 4-6 hours. Keep people informed and they will have less need to ask questions and use valuable resources where needed elsewhere.

Create proactive, permission-based communication. Find ways to increase contacts with these customers in ways that are noninvasive. Perhaps create a subscriber list to a biweekly or monthly e-mail keeping them posted as new events and offers from your company. It may be helpful to provide a follow-up call after her service appointments as a way of ensuring everything went smoothly, and to determine that no new issues have arisen. Remember to always keep your communication as permission-based as possible to avoid appearances of “spam” and junk mail or obnoxious survey-takers.

Give generously of your own time. It was Kahlil Gibran who said, “It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” When customers realize that you are giving of yourself, they will be much more tolerant and understanding when things may not always go as planned. But beyond that, an understanding of your giving spirit and generosity will also build “credit” towards future potential relationship struggles, and will lay the groundwork for positive word-of-mouth business.

The key is not to expect this flood of praise and new business overnight, but to understand that it takes time for good deeds to bear fruit. Be patient, though, because when you are giving of yourself and your time, you will always reap the benefits.  You will have already provided the benefit to your customer, and they will respect you for it, and provide the benefit of increased business for you in return.

“You know your children have grown up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they are going.” – Anon.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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