Customer retention remains at the forefront of how to succeed in business.
This guest article from Barbara Wold contains some great information on this important topic!
Trust + Loyalty are the key ways to brand your business right through a recession.
Having a solid brand strategy at the foundation of your business will help you succeed through lean times. That’s because, at the end of the day, there are really only FOUR fundamental ways to grow your business:
• Get more customers
• Get your current customers to buy more
• Get current customers to buy more frequently and for a longer period of time through loyalty
• Get your current customers to buy different products and services from your business rather than jumping over to a competitor. This is done through upselling and cross-selling
So, how do you do it? By building trust and loyalty.
Corporate scandals, wildly inappropriate executive compensation, failing institutions, all are signs of eroding trust in the marketplace. But people want to trust the companies they patronize.
You can build trust by creating and offering something of genuine value. Be clear about what your product or service promises, and then, over-deliver on your promises. Another way to build trust is through testimonials of satisfied customers.
Build trust through all your marketing and communications. Don’t stretch the truth. This applies to sales presentations, press releases, advertising, business cards, social media and websites. When this trust is infused in all you do and say, you’ve got a brand worth patronizing.
“Trust is probably the most basic human value,” said Fred Rogers from the children’s show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Once your customers completely trust you, they’ll become loyal followers. Walmart is no slouch at building trust and loyalty themselves. Shoppers automatically assume their prices really ARE lower.
One way to build loyalty is to practice extreme customer service. While customer service is a core expectation for all businesses, you can differentiate your business by bending over backwards for your customers and prospects.
Remember that even small improvements in customer retention from trust and loyalty can increase the profits in your company.
Copyright 2012. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold’s Retail & Consumer Tips
Guest post #2 for the week!! (where were these when I was on vacation??)
From Barbara’s Wold’s newsletter:
Retailers and business owners hope that in tough times, people will long for the comfort of hometown shopping with people they know and trust. Customers like to feel important. Here are some things you can do to enhance that feeling and build sales:
• Call customers by name. If you don’t know their name — “We haven’t see you in awhile, welcome back” — let customers know you recognize them.
• Listen to their needs, wants, ideas and criticisms.
• Great timing for staff meetings and a focus group — ask for “new” business building ideas and “new” services
that can be offered. (“How to Conduct a Focus Group” – email me!)
• Remind employees to focus on the positive. Customers don’t want to come in and hear doom and gloom.
• Many customers may plan to scale back — offer more services to build on the perceived value.
• Learn customer’s preferences and respond to them. Example: Asking, “Do you still prefer ……. ?” This lets
them know you remember and helps you fine tune your merchandise selection.
• Get to know your customers and potential customers as people. Learn something about their families,
professions, interests, etc.
• Compliment and reassure customers on their purchases.
• Keep in touch with your customers via newsletters, email, phone calls, events and local paper advertisements. This is the time to clean-up and build your contact information database. Remember, monthly email Newsletters don’t cost anything to send out. Make them informative, worth looking at, list your special events, added services, new merchandise, etc. Don’t forget your complete contact information including area code for the phone, address with city, state and zip code, website, etc.
• Get to know your local newspaper editor and help him work on a human interest story about you and your business — far better than advertising and cheaper.
• Take customers’ pictures. Example: A pet and supply store takes photos of customers with their pets and
posts them on a bulletin board. What a great way to bring them into the “family of happy customers!”
In short: Treat customers as guests you care about.
Copyright 2010. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold’s Retail & Consumer Tips, firstname.lastname@example.org.