What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of commitment that makes customers stick with you, even when your competitors become more aggressive, and price competition intensifies? Here are some tips from the experts.
1. Profile your customers. Customer bases are not homogenous. They are made up of different demographics, with different needs and different motivators for shopping with you. Creating customer profiles tells you what your key customer groups “look” like. The more you understand these profiles or the demographic make-up of your customer groups, the more you will be able to create a plan to keep them.
2. Make it personal. A shift from generic communications to 1:1 print communications. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications.
3. Create a personal point of contact. Some companies assign each customer their own individual CSR or sales consultant. This creates a special relationship between your customers and the rep that further personalizes the relationship with your company and can be invaluable in keeping their business.
4. Increase in frequency. Communicate with your customers regularly, not just when you have a special promotion or event. This is the idea behind monthly newsletters and “tips and tricks” postcards, especially those personalized to the recipient’s individual needs.
5. Reward loyalty. When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Send them a thank you once in a while. Send them “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences.
Retaining customers takes planning. It requires an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan?