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Independent's Day: Loyal customers and how to create them

Independent's Day: Loyal customers and how to create them
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
 

Posted: Fri 12th Oct 2012

We all know that customers that keep coming back are one of the most valuable assets to our business. This may be even more important for smaller businesses with just a few customers than it is for larger ones. But how do you create that kind of loyalty?

For Sophie Dahlqvist of marketing and communications agency 55Connect, keeping good information is the foundation for building good relationships with your customers (see below). But we'd also love you to tell us what you're doing in your business to keep customers coming back.

The importance of data in creating customer loyalty

It's said that it costs five times more to get a new customer than to retain a current customer, writes Sophie. Yet why is it that so many businesses focus on new customer acquisition only and forget to look at their current customer base? Acquiring and using information about current customers is an increasing area of focus for marketing. Businesses are spending a good deal of time and money ensuring that back-end systems that collect customer information and track customer engagement are up to scratch. This includes things like your website's content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing software and even your social media tracking applications. Good customer data also provides a solid foundation for an effective marketing plan that should not only increase customer retention but also sales - I've also seen it said that a two per cent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by ten per cent.

Some customer loyalty tips

So what are the things you can be doing to increase customer loyalty for your business? Here are just a few suggestions to think about:

  • Make sure you are recording customer details systematically.

  • Have tracking tools for all your points of contact with your customers.

  • Learn to read and use the information these can give you -they'll help you identify your most responsive and profitable customers so you can focus marketing efforts on them.

  • Think about the kind of rewards you can offer customers who make repeat purchases.

  • Make it easy for your customers to communicate with you and invite their feedback.

  • Always make a point of thanking your customers after they've offered feedback or bought from you.

These are just some basic things you can be doing. Setting up systems and keeping information up to date might seem a hassle at times, but it pays off in the long run! Photo credit: John Fischer

What are you doing to create customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty: A customer service promise Sophie's given us a few suggestions above. But what are you doing in your business to look after your best customers and keep them coming back?

  • Have you tried any incentive schemes that have produced results (such as competitions or special offers)?

  • Have you used information you've gathered from your customer engagements to target particular customers?

  • What channels work best for you when communicating with your customers (email? Facebook? Twitter? Old-fashioned phone calls?)?

  • Do you offer any special customer service to make your customers feel good about buying from you?

Please do tell us what you're doing in the box below - we'd love to share your successful strategies with the Enterprise Nation community.

Fill out my online form.

Photo credit: Roland Tanglao

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Contribute to Independent's Day

Jelly babies in cafe **Independent's Day every Friday on Enterprise Nation is intended to be by small businesses for small businesses. We'd love you to send us your contributions. ** So if you have tips, advice, comments and insights from your own experience of running a small enterprise to share, please use the button below to send them to us. Whether it's something you've learned about customer service, a time-saving tool you've discovered or a great sales technique you employ - if it's useful, pass it on! All we ask is that your contributions are relevant to other small enterprises and not self-promotional - Independent's Day is about sharing, not selling. Oh, and if you try to keep it to around 300 words or so, that will mean we can feature more of your contributions each week! Have your say!

 
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Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.
 

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