With so much competition in today's marketplace, it can often be a challenge to turn first-time customers into repeat customers.
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Gabriel Bristol, president and CEO of Intelicare Direct, a customer service solutions company, said that providing good customer service isn't always enough to keep consumers coming back. To create loyal customers, businesses need to be prepared to make their customers feel special and wanted, he said.
Bristol offered five tips to help small businesses improve customer loyalty:
- Provide great service. Customer loyalty wanes when customer service is lacking. Make sure the customer is attended to promptly, courteously and efficiently. Listen to their needs, and meet them as efficiently as possible. Customers will remember this, but they will remember bad service even more.
- Be quick to resolve issues. Not all products work perfectly, and sometimes, paid services don't meet expectations. Accept when customers' expectations haven't been met, and work hard to make sure the issues are resolved to their satisfaction. They will remember this and will feel like their purchases are safe with you next time.
- Keep in touch. Gather contact data on your customers when you can. Reach out to them with special offers and new products and services, or just send them a birthday card. Use any excuse to keep your company in their minds.
- Reward loyalty. Once in a while, you should treat a loyal customer with a free product or special discount just for being loyal. You'll be surprised at the loyalty this will generate.
- Thank your customers. Chances are, you have competitors in your category — and that means your customers have options. The fact that they chose you — whether it's because of your pricing, reputation or convenience — is something that you appreciate, so show it. Thank them. Thank them every time for choosing you, and let them know in words and deeds how important your business is to them, regardless of whether they're your smallest customer or your largest.
Originally published on Business News Daily.