Most of us would agree that it costs considerably more to get a new customer than to maintain a loyal one.
So, it follows that customer retention must be a major component of an effective marketing strategy and that’s especially true for your business.
From least desirable to most desirable on the customer-relationship continuum, the sequence is: “new” to “repeat” to “loyal.”
The key to long-term customer retention is loyalty and the key to loyalty is in understanding the “perceived value” the customer gets from doing business with you.
Then it’s as simple as delivering that value 100% of the time, in a manner that is “easy” on the customer.
The process of converting an existing customer to “loyal” status isn’t quite so simple and may take years to accomplish.
The customer experience typically evolves through four levels:
Satisfaction with price and availability.
There has to be level of understanding of why your price points are what they are.
By being open and honest with customers as to your pricing policies, you create a level of trust and understanding that is consistent and builds reasons for future loyalty.
Recognition of superior service levels.
There is something special about getting superior service.
Whether it’s the individual attention we get at a restaurant or the personal touch that is given to us when we check in at a hotel, the more special we feel, the greater the ‘stroking’ of out ego is received.
Appreciation of the value of your knowledge and experience.
Customers value your expertise in areas that are important to them and their business.
If you are able to make them see how running the various aspects of their business could be improved, they cease to see you as a supplier of goods and services, and start viewing you as a partner that is increasing in asset value to them.
Connection on values, mission and vision.
This is the deepest level of relationship you can have with a customer, where your purposes and missions meld into a continuous, harmonious journey that can last a long time.
By sharing the same goals and building the road towards achieving those goals, both of your companies create experiences that bond you together beyond partnership level.
They depend on you for their profitability, productivity and future success.
One way to determine loyalty is to remember that a repeat customer must successfully answer the question:
“How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”
Companies that focus on loyalty lead their industries in profitability.
Loyal customers have the potential to be your best salespeople, because they will find opportunities for you that would otherwise never appear on your radar screen.