by WALE DEINDE
Good morning all, you are welcome to another
beautiful business week. Today I will be taking us through a very important
topic which is the Keys to Build Customer Loyalty in this era of Pandemic. It
is important to note that keeping your customers in this period is a great
factor for the success of your business.
Remember that Customers don’t have to keep buying from you, and they don’t have to tell their friends how great your business or your product is. But if you put in the effort to earn their loyalty, that is exactly what they will do.
An ongoing challenge for any company is the retention of customers. It is well known that getting new customers costs much more than maintaining ones already doing business with you. Incorporating these ingredients I will be taking today to a well-rounded strategy for building customer loyalty will produce dramatic results.
1. Be Reliable
Reliability arises from consistent follow-through and execution. Standardize service and product quality. I love eatery like the Tastee Fried Chicken, it typifies reliability of product quality (if not service) in their standardization. We all know that we can go to a TFC Outlet anywhere in the Nigeria and be assured of getting the same good taste. I have eaten fried rice in their Lagos outlets and also did in Abuja; I enjoyed the same delicious meal with same taste.
Reliability begets repeat business. Become the TFC of your industry by assuring customers that they will receive the same top-quality service every time they do business with you.
2. Be Credible
Credibility is enhanced when you do exactly what you say you will do–every time. Avoid holding any hidden agenda. Your customers understand the need to make a profit, so don’t try to imply that you are in business just for fun. Provide clear value and remind your customers of this value.
3. Be Responsive
Share your customer’s sense of urgency. Provide customers with easy access to information they may need, such as delivery schedules, tracking of shipments, etc. Use the internet for this if possible (people are coming to expect such access). But learn the lesson that the better e-commerce companies are starting to get: give your customers access to live people in case of problems.
Have an aggressive customer recovery strategy. Be sure that all employees recognize the value of each customer. Teach them to recover potentially lost customers, even if the short-term cost may seem high. Empower the employee to make good decisions in light of customer needs, not just the company’s.
4. Show Empathy
Assess customer emotions and mirror them. If the customer seems anxious, reassure them. If a customer is excited about the product, share that excitement through comments, voice, and other nonverbal messages. Use their own terms to reinforce feelings.
Understand sensory preferences for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information. Listen for key words and use these cues to establish rapport. If a customer indicates a visual preference, show them visual information; if an auditory preference let them hear information; if a kinesthetic preference, give them opportunity to feel the product or service.
5. Hire Good Employees
Select frontline employees based on emotional intelligence, not just skills. Hire upbeat personalities and good attitudes. Then teach them the skills needed.
Poach good employees from other companies. If you receive exceptional service from someone, consider them for a position in your company. Build a file of such candidates. Reach out to potential employees; don’t just wait for them to apply.
6. Train Employees Constantly
Have an ongoing training process in place. This need not be formal classroom training but should be built around a set of skills critical to your company’s success. Involve employees in designing curriculum. Ask what they would like to know more about, and then find sources for training in those areas.
7. Create a Sense of Employee Belonging
Remember that employees are internal customers and earning their loyalty is important. Invite them to participate in strategy development and quality improvement efforts. Use their input. Involve them in organizational decisions.
Keep employees well informed. Trust them with important informational data. Don’t censor the “facts of life” for them. Treat them like intelligent participants in the company’s enterprise. Your employees will treat customers the way you treat them. Make it a respectful partnering.
8. Make Things Easier for Customers
Look for things that give customers difficulty and solve them. Work to reduce customer paperwork (especially repetitious forms). Continuously simplify for the customer. Consider delivery alternatives. Ask for feedback about what is helpful or nonproductive.
While I stop here this week, I will like to implore all business owners to apply these eight elements to build greater customer retention. And customer retention provides greater profit opportunities.
Thank you and till we meet next week, don’t give up on your dream, pandemic is not endemic, you can start all over and win better. New Situation, New Focus, New Strategy, New Result that is supposed to be our New SONG.