In today's marketplace, you must work very hard to increase the loyalty of and learn how to build relationships with customers. With so many people working to do the exact same thing you are, you can't afford to let any of them go. Obviously, you don't want to annoy your customers to death, but you can provide consistent value to them and they will greatly appreciate you, your efforts, your business, your mission, your passion, your level of customer service, and much more.
If you take a look at what the most successful companies are doing, you will quickly see they have some type of way they have created customer and brand loyalty. How you go about doing this depends significantly on your business and the demographics of your customers. For example, if you own a construction company, you probably don't want to write a weekly newsletter to your clients. However, if you're an Internet based business, writing a weekly newsletter could be extremely detrimental to your success.
Instead, try sending the less-inclined clients a mouse-pad with your company name printed on it and have your company logo and tag-line on it, as well. If you want to go a step further, make the mouse-pad have a slot for a picture. This way your client can slide in a picture of his family or favorite sports team.
Now that you have a better idea of how to provide value to your customers, try being creative. The idea is to set yourself apart from the rest of the companies competing for your customer's business and to be the first person/company your customer thinks about when they are in need of your product and/or service.
As I mentioned previously, you can't afford to let your customers go once you have attained them. There is another company just like yours knocking on their door everyday and you can't leave anything to chance. You have to build the relationship and nourish your customer. You want to think of each customer as a precious diamond. If you leave it alone, it will be lost forever.
Here are some examples of ways you can increase your sales, grow your business, and of course, create customer loyalty:
1) Create a VIP program. Many companies already do this. They offer an in-store debit card for you to use whenever you visit their store. Some companies even give you FREE stuff when you spend a specific amount of money. This is genius! Your customers will want to spend more money with you because they know there's a reward waiting for them on the other end.
The best example of this is Starbucks. Starbucks has created a loyal world-wide following. They have the best VIP program around. They make you feel like a million bucks and they even give you a Gold Card with your name on it. Once you earn enough stars, you get a very nice postcard in the mail for a free coffee any way you like it. To learn more, visit your local Starbucks or go to www.starbucks.com.
2) Write a weekly newsletter. No matter what type of business you own, you are most likely an expert in your industry. Even if you aren't, it doesn't matter. Get to know your customers' behaviors, interests, dislikes, etc. This will provide you with valuable insight into what to write about. Each newsletter should be packed with "value" and not sales pitches. If you focus your time and energy on the former rather than the latter, you will have life-long success.
Your customers are bombarded with the equivalent of 5GB of information every day -- equivalent to 33,333 web pages, 500,000 emails, 1,250 downloaded mp3 songs, 14 hours video streaming, or 185 hours of music streaming -- most of which are sales pitches. This is astronomical! These sales pitches can be in any form -- TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspapers, Magazines, Websites, Emails, Newsletters, etc.
Your customer-base has to ignore 99.9% of all these messages because it's information overload. Remember, you want to set yourself apart. You don't want to be like all the rest. Make your customers excited to read each week's installment. Make them want more. Don't make them block you out because you are annoying, pestering, and always trying to take their money.
3) Build Life-Long Relationships. This is easily done and most of the time, overlooked. Make your customers feel good about themselves. Most people are so busy nowadays they don't have time for a lot of friendships so to some people, their professional friendships are the most important to them. Get to know your customers on a personal level. If nothing else, make sure you know their name, their spouse's name, and their children's names.
Believe it or not, this is not done enough anymore. People just don't care about other people like they used to. This is why this behavior is so powerful. Getting to know someone on a personal level is very simplistic and can make or break your business. If you have a hard time remembering people's names, write them down on a 3x5 index card along with the information about them, their hobbies, their birth date, and their family. Start creating a Rolodex you can quickly access when you are speaking with them on the phone and ask them about them. Never focus on yourself.
Another great exercise is to repeat the person's name at least three times in the first meeting you have with him. This sounds funny but it really works. You will be blown away at how many names you will begin to remember and you always want to greet him by his name when you speak to him on the phone or see him in person.
These are just a few ways to create customer loyalty. As I mentioned previously, be creative.