When you start a small business, loyalty is something you'll have to earn from your customers. It’s not enough to just have a good product or service on offer. People are growing more concerned with what a company/brand stands for, how they show up for their community, and what type of work culture they provide their employees. What are some ways you can earn loyalty among your clients?
1. Be invested. Go beyond putting on the customer service voice for your clients and take a sincere interest in their goals. People don’t really need to hear a generic corporate spiel when they voice concerns. Ask questions, show a real curiosity, and when they talk, really listen so you can provide thoughtful discussion.
2. Be kind to everyone. This means that everyone from the delivery guy to your right-hand man gets the same level of respect and compassion from you. The same applies to your clients. Yes, they all have unique needs but when it comes to dignity, they all deserve equal treatment. Word of mouth is still incredibly powerful in business. Give them all good things to say about you and your business.
3. Be active in your community. This can be time consuming, but it is well worth it. There are always local kids’ sports teams that need sponsors, nonprofit organizations that need volunteers, and fundraisers. Hosting a fundraising event is a great ways to let your clients feel involved with your efforts. Plus, it just feels good to do good.
4. Be open to feedback. Every business is going to get a bad review or an unsatisfied customer at some point. How you handle it makes a huge impact on your professional reputation. Listen to the feedback and try not to take it personally, then respond with kindness and see if there may be an area for growth in your current operation.
5. Be loyal to them. Remember to offer specials or discounts to current clients, not just to bring in new customers. Occasionally you can even host a customer appreciation event or maybe consider starting a loyalty program. Consider ideas that fit your specific business and move forward with them.
Loyalty is a golden road to growth for any business. Think of the reasons you may be loyal to certain businesses and reasons others have lost your allegiance over the years. This is a great exercise to help you discover ways to build customer/client loyalty. Discuss your plans and goals with your partners and employees so that everyone can do their part to build consistency in your customer loyalty activities.