Developing Customer Loyalty is easy if you employ the “Principle of the 3 Cs”…”Constant Customer Contact”.
You must find ways to constantly stay in contact with your customers and clients. Before you sell them your products or services, and even after the sale has been made. Constantly. Continuously. Repeatedly. Because, when you do, your customers and clients will become more loyal to your business.
But, this process of constant contact sounds like it’s going to take some time? Yes, it does take time. And persistence.
But with consistent effort, and patience, you will start to see your customers and clients returning back to your business many more times than ever before!
At last! Just think of it. No more “one-timers”.
Because by staying in contact with your customers and clients before and after a sale, they will begin to trust your business, and most important of all… YOU!
Constant customer contact helps you develop credibility and reliability. Your customers soon learn that you stand behind the quality of your products and services. Your continual contact with your customers and clients is also a way that you ensure they are satisfied with your products and services once they have purchased. Most importantly, constant customer contact helps you develop a “relationship” with your customers and clients. An ongoing one. They will see you as being their trusted adviser or confidante.
When you reach that point with your customers and clients, that’s when you’ll see that they really start to come back for more, and even refer their family and friends to you! Customer Loyalty will grow.
When your business starts to grow, a strategic focus on Customer Loyalty must become a primary goal. It’s an ongoing process. And it’s important if you want to continue growing and making money. Recall this oft-repeated marketing maxim:
“It costs 3 times as much to obtain a new customer, than it does to sell to an existing one.”
To get you started employing the “Principle of the 3 Cs”…Constant Customer Contact, just follow these first 3 of 9 Simple Steps to Build Customer Loyalty.
STEP 1: USE YOUR MANNERS.
Design a “Customer Service Protocol(TM)” that is carefully crafted to continually demonstrate to your customers and clients that you appreciate them and their business. You design such a “Customer Service Protocol” within your unique “Business Operating Systems”.
Now, what do I mean by a “Business Operating System(TM)”?
A “Business Operating System(TM)” is a formalized method and manner of performing certain routine functions and practices in your business…, a “system of operating.” These routine functions and practices can occur hourly, daily, weekly, and even monthly in your business. Your “Business Operating Systems” have these routine functions and practices written down and described in detail for all of your staff to easily read and follow. The functions and practices are then pre-scheduled to take place at strategically determined intervals. Repeated over and over, and you soon see a dramatic boost in your Customer Loyalty… and this can all be done by your staff if designed properly… even without your “hands-on” involvement in the routine and process!
One key aspect of your “Business Operating System(TM)”must be to ensure that your pre-established “Customer Service Protocol(TM)”functions exactly in the manner that you described, at the time that you scheduled, and for the specific customers and clients you are targeting.
Now, what do I mean by a “Customer Service Protocol(TM)”?
It’s a “modus operandi”…
A “Customer Service Protocol” is an established procedure, a “modus operandi”… a method of doing business and treating your customers and clients in the best manner possible. Your “Customer Service Protocol” sets out specific actions your staff will take towards your targeted customers and clients. These actions are carefully designed to demonstrate your company’s continued commitment to Customer Service, and to specifically generate an increase in Customer Loyalty.
6 examples of “Customer Service Protocols(TM)” that can be easily integrated as routine procedures into your “Business Operating System(TM)” are:
1. Send personalized thank you notes to your customers and clients whenever they do business with you.
2. Periodically ask for your customer’s own business card (if you know that they own a business) for your own potential referral of business to them. You will need to keep this busines information in a database along with that customer’s other identifying information.
3. Mail out a survey card with simple responses for your customers to check off. The survey should request the opinions of your customers on various issues, like product quality, employee relations, professional services, and even ideas for improvements to your business. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.
4. Send your customers an “appreciation” token gift, or discount for future products or services, with a simple note attached that again thanks them for their loyalty to your business.
5. Ask your customers for specific feedback on ways that they would like to see your business improve… to produce better products for them…to service them even better.
6. An additional must-have event written into any Customer Service Protocol(TM) is a coordinated system or method, that you have established IN ADVANCE, to call back, or contact by mailing, any customers or clients who have purchased products or services from you. You are calling to ensure they were satisfied with your products and services.
Why go to all this “trouble” for your customers and clients?
Because it shows your customers and clients that you truly do care about whether your products or services benefited them.
“Go The Extra Mile” for your customers and clients.
It’s also a clear demonstration to your customers that YOU will “go the extra mile” for them.
How can you do this effortlessly? And without feeling that you are adding another task to your, already long, daily list of to-do’s?
Again, designing your “Customer Service Protocol” into your “Business Operating System(TM)” is the key.
Account for this information. Develop these routines that function within your “Business Operating System” for the task.
A computer database program or some other method of obtaining and storing your customers’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other pertinent information (such as whether they too own a business) can be set up for a relatively small price and some reasonable investment of time. Such a customer and client database should be set up to generate mailing lists and even the pre-designed and customized customer contact letters that we discussed above.
Establish a procedure or routine within your uniquely tailored “Business Operating System(TM)” to call the customer back shortly after a sale of your product or service has taken place, or at a reasonable interval if they purchased a series of services from you.
But, what if something went wrong with the sale?
If something in the purchase or sale was not right in your customer’s eyes, you should do whatever is in your power to correct the problem first of all. Your customers and clients will appreciate it. Customer Loyalty for your business will build.
Then another great Customer Loyalty building initiative is to take their name and address down and send them a coupon for a free or discounted future product or service the next time they come in to your business. This again shows your customers and clients that you do appreciate their business and want them to feel satisfied that you have done all you can reasonably do for them. That you have gone the extra mile for them. Even in times of trouble.
When they realize your sincerity and commitment to their satisfaction, your customers and clients will feel even more loyal to your business. They’ll come back, and likely refer others as well!
As a side benefit, your customers and clients will feel like you really cared about making them feel happy to have done business with you. They’ll feel positively about your business. In addition, human nature as it is, they will undoubtedly tell their family, friends, and colleagues about this positive experience with your company, even when the initial impression may not have been a favorable one.
Okay, but it sounds like it’s going to require some effort.
Why do it, if no one else is going to the trouble?
That’s exactly why you should. Because most of your competition won’t bother to even thank or show appreciation to their customers and clients.
But, you will. Your “going the extra mile” will become part of your unique selling proposition. Your customers and clients will love it…will appreciate it…, and will come back for more of it!
STEP 2. TELL THEM YOU CARE:
Let customers and clients know that you care about them.
How? An easy way is to send out a weekly mailing. This mailing should again, strategically include:
* The latest news related to your customer’s needs and desires.
* Staff highlights that show your ongoing interest in improving quality service to your customers.
* Interesting tid-bits of information that your customer will be interested in.
* Featured upcoming products or services that your customers can benefit from.
* Any other potentially helpful customer information or news.
The key here is to make sure that your customer can clearly see how the mailing information from your business BENEFITS THEM.
Another high-quality business idea for this mailing piece is to include information about a “Sale of the Week”, or maybe even a “Product of the Month”, and specially discounted prices for them… your targeted customers and clients.
You could even provide useful and practical information that your customers and clients may want to keep around, or say, hang up on their refrigerator. Safety tips. A recipe. Anything personal, practical, and useful that could BENEFIT THEM. And remind them of you.
Whatever such information that you do provide, remember that the fundamental purpose behind a mailing is to show your customers and clients that it is YOU, and your business that cares about them, their needs, and wants.
When your customers and clients see this over and over, and feel it, they’ll want to come back for some more of you and your business!
STEP 3: MAKE IT ELECTRONIC.
Think of your e-mail as a press release that you send to your customers and clients.
As part of your “Business Operating System(TM)”, you should provide your customers and clients with regularly scheduled updates on your sales specials and product discounts via e-mail. Do this at a minimum of once per month.
Using the “Principle of the 3 Cs”, your “Constant Customer Contact” routine will serve to embed your business name in the minds of your customers whenever they think about a product or service your business provides. In marketing, this principle is more technically referred to as “branding”. Employing the “Principle of the 3 Cs” in your “Business Operating System” is thus helping you build a BRAND for your business…one that your customers want. And it’s also helping you POSITION your business in your target market. You see, the more you employ the “Principle of the 3 Cs”, the more that your business becomes “positioned” as first in the minds of your target customers and clients.
So, employ the “Principle of the 3 Cs”. Constant Customer Contact.
Design a “Customer Service Protocol”, within your “Business Operating System”, that carefully and strategically incorporates the “Principle of the 3 Cs” into your routine “customer contact” functions and actions. It’ll go a long way towards building Customer Loyalty for your business. And with Customer Loyalty as your goal, your business will grow and make more profit in the process!