Building loyal clients is a strategic imperative for every business regardless of size. Satisfied customers can go anywhere but only loyal clients want to come to you. Turning a client into a devoted advocate is indispensable, not only will they repeat buy but often they buy in high quantities, bring more clients to your business and are prepared to endorse your services or products.
To turn a satisfied customer into a loyal customer something different needs to happen; they need to have a great experience. Keeping in touch with your clients, remembering the things they like and don’t like, rewarding them for choosing you over the competition (make sure this is in line with the client’s company policy) are ways to build loyalty. To build loyalty you need to strengthen the relationship further and develop an allegiance. This comes from the client knowing you truly care about their business and want to help them become more successful. Putting in place a customer loyalty strategy and retention programme is not just an approach for the ‘big boys’. Entrepreneurs and small businesses who truly want to grow their businesses know that like their bigger brothers and sisters in the industry they also need to consider their strategy to deliver above and beyond client expectations. Consider undertaking the following steps:
- Decide on your approach to get close to your clients. Find out about their interests, concerns, their vision and how they intend to make it a reality. Once you’ve done that you should systemise your approach so that you can repeat the process.
- Frequent contact is important; don’t just stay in touch in the latter stages of a contract. Build in connection time with your client and members of their team from start to finish. Consider sending out regular newsletters, schedule coffee meetings for one-to-one catch-ups or a light lunch – don’t become a faceless person in the background become part of the fabric of your client’s business.
- Even if your business is online, show your personality. Clients prefer to interact with a human.
- Understand a client’s expectations and show that you can meet them. A client likes to know they come first. It makes them feel valued and this is an important step towards gaining loyalty.
- One of the key ingredients in building loyalty is providing excellent customer service and support. Clients today are not only interested in the products/services they are being offered but the additional elements they receive as a result of that product/service.
Building loyalty and developing relationships with clients who are worth keeping won’t happen overnight. Care, patience and a good plan to know how you will achieve your goal of having a loyal client base are vital. Consistently delivering work of a high standard, anticipating client needs and establishing a business relationship that’s based on trust, respect and an understanding of each other’s skills and offerings ensures a client understands your value as you do theirs. The best relationships in both our personal and business lives do not go one way. If one side does all the work and the other saps energy and enthusiasm we know something is fundamentally wrong. Success breeds success and once you know how to spot a good client relationship you can begin to nurture your own. A loyal client will be your best advocate and will be key to telling others why your business is so valuable to them.