Creating Loyal Customers
How many store “loyalty” cards do you have? As I sit here typing this, I am looking at three loyalty cards for different coffee shops! I have loyalty cards to different grocery stores, hardware stores, and even sporting goods stores! Everywhere I go, businesses want me to sign up for their loyalty club in one form or another. These stores use the information from my buying habits and send me targeted coupons so I shop there again. But are they really creating loyalty? No. The fact that I have loyalty cards for three different coffee shops means I am not that loyal to any of them! Creating loyalty really comes down to three things, filling a need, being excellent, and being irreplaceable!
Fill a Need or Desire
Customers shop for your product or service because they need it or want it. As long as your customers want your product they will keep buying from you. It doesn’t matter if you are selling shoes or digital marketing, you can develop loyal customers by filling a need and solving a problem for customers. Develop a habit of helping customers solve problems through your services or by referring them to someone that can help. Build your reputation as an expert problem solver, and you have a loyal customer. To do this you have to take time to understand what your customers want.
People appreciate quality. Substandard service, or poor-quality products will not keep people purchasing your products. Let’s look at an example. Parents of growing children constantly need to purchase new clothes for their kids. If you are in the children’s clothing business, you probably understand that with each new season, growing kids need new clothes. By that same season next year, the kids will outgrow their clothes. However, nothing is more infuriating for a parent than to have their kids’ clothes get worn out before they are outgrown! From my experience this happens often with shoes. I know that I have to buy quality products for my kids, if I wanted to get maximum usage of the shoes. People are not afraid to spend extra money to buy dependable, quality products. When you provide an excellent product that people need, you will create more loyal customers.
If your customer can get your product or service from any number of venues, why are they going to buy from you? At my part-time job in college, a store manager told me they didn’t compete on price, they attracted customers for the selection and service. And this was true. There were a large number of customers that shopped at that store. They knew they could find what they wanted. If they had questions, there was a knowledgeable employee willing and able to help. Being irreplaceable means providing value above and beyond the product or service you sell. Knowing your customer, service after the sale, and an inviting atmosphere are all ways you can enhance the buying experience to create more loyal customers.
This Week’s Challenge
From a business standpoint, it’s always more cost effective to keep a loyal customer than it is to gain a new one. Spend this week focusing on creating loyal customers. Find out who your customers are and what problem they are trying to solve. Provide an excellent product, pair it with an excellent experience, and watch your customer loyalty increase!
Are you Serious About Creating Loyal Customers?
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Quote of the Week
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”