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23 March

There is one thing that every successful business has in common: repeat customers. The reason a company generates repeat business is not always because they offer the lowest prices—it’s because they are doing something to make the customer feel good about spending his or her money on the goods or services offered.

As an example, I do not patronize restaurants that are the absolute cheapest. If that were the case, I’d be eating fast food every day. I don’t go to the barbershop that will cut my hair for the least amount of money; I go to the shop that cuts my hair how I like it. Oh, and it’s a bonus if they remember my name or something about me when I go in!

Find a profitable business, and you will find a business that knows how to treat customers. Without commendable customer service, a business cannot stay afloat in today’s marketplace. By placing your patrons at the top of your business’s totem pole, you create customer loyalty, which is sure to produce long-term success.

Here are 10 ideas to help foster customer loyalty:

Be unique. Set yourself apart from your competitors. Give your customers something that nobody else can. Make it your niche, either online, or in a brick and mortar location. There is a very popular restaurant in Titusville, Florida that always has a line of customers waiting to be seated. Nobody really minds this line, however, because every few minutes, the hostess comes by with a plate of hot, fresh corn fritters, topped with powdered sugar. Who can complain about that? Not only do they offer these delectable goodies at no charge, their specialty on the menu is something that few other restaurants serve; rock shrimp. They developed a way to get through the rock-like shells of these shrimp, so they profit from the very catch that other fishermen toss back into the water. This is a great example of being unique. Genius Monkey can help you find your niche, and deliver the results you’re looking to achieve with your company.

Don’t waste your valuable time on activities that can be automated. If there is technology that can increase your profitability, look at it as an investment, not an expense. If the activity can’t be automated, then figure out the most effective method to use to get it done, or consider hiring a team of experts that know just what must be done to maximize your bottom line, freeing you up to deal personally with your customers to foster that one-on-one relationship.

Eliminate time wasters. If there is anything you can do to increase your effective time and eliminate wasted time; do it! This may be a simple case of going through your email and unsubscribing to newsletters or sales material that you never read. This is way more effective than deleting each one individually. As papers come across your desk, take care of them, file them properly or throw them away. Don’t let things pile up that may distract you from your quest to provide the best business you can for your customers.

Identify your target market. You would never go target shooting without establishing what you are going to shoot at … it would be completely futile. Such is the case with your company. By figuring out the proper demographic for what you have to offer, you have a target to aim for. Genius Monkey can help you identify your target market and can deliver your message to that specific crowd. Why advertise to someone who is almost certain to have no interest in what you’re selling? With programmatic marketing, you are no longer bound to waste advertising budgets on those who will not benefit from your message.

Respond quickly to customer inquiries. Let them know that whatever they have to say is extremely important to you. After all, how well would your business be doing if you had no customers? People who make inquiries to businesses do not have the time, nor do they have the patience to wait days before getting an answer. They will feel a sense of importance if they get an answer right away, and that places your company leaps and bounds in front of the competition.

Make sure to follow up. Make sure that your customers are completely content with their purchase. They are glad to know that you are concerned with their happiness. This is also a great opportunity to offer additional goods or services that may relate to their initial purchase.

Make things right. If the customer is unhappy with a purchase, or if the product is faulty, be sure to issue refunds promptly, and unconditionally. Most people have had a bad experience while making a purchase. However, if the company resolves any issues right away with either a refund or a replacement, customers are usually very forgiving, knowing that you care. Sometimes all it takes is a genuine, simple, “I’m sorry” to mend things.

Find out where you stand. By having your customers complete a survey on their experience with your business, it gives you the opportunity to improve. You may wish to offer some sort of reward, or freebie, compelling them to take part in offering your opinion. This will establish a rapport between you and your customer, and will allow you a glimpse of the direction of the effectiveness of your customer service.

Publish a company newsletter. This will provide you the opportunity to offer subscribers valuable hints, tips or coupons. Make sure that it’s something that they can get nowhere else. This will also help them feel even more connected to your business. This is also a great emporium for offering special deals to established customers.

Make your site user-friendly. If it is easy to navigate, you will not lose your customers’ attention. You must go through your site and read it through the eyes of someone who knows nothing about your operation. Customers value their time and appreciate finding what they want quickly and effortlessly.

Imagine every customer as a real person standing in front of you. What are his needs and how well are you addressing these needs? Let this image guide you in all aspects of your business and you’ll discover hundreds of ways to form lasting customer relationships.

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