Customer Loyalty

by : Christoph Puetz

Loyal customers are the foundation of almost every business. Going the extra mile to provide outstanding customer service is the first step to customer loyalty. But there is more. Of course - your products and services in general need to be good. If you offer lousy uptime there is not really a reason to be loyal when being a customer. You just don't deliver, period.

Here are a few more suggestions to gain customer loyalty.

1) Be smart. Be smarter than your customers are. Make sure you and your staff always (no exceptions) have more answers than your customers have questions. Most people are very loyal to expertise and proven skills.

2) Pay Attention. Pay attention to what your customers really want from you and what they really are hoping to find. If you see a pattern - follow it and adjust accordingly.

3) Attitude and outfit. Show positive attitude. Always be on time; never ever run late when a customer is involved. Be professional, act professional. If you meet with a customer - don't look like coming from a .COM company (even if you are) where shorts and T-Shirts are business attire. Don't over-dress either.

4) Dump any strict policies. Don't make customers think, that doing business with you is a risk. Be generous and flexible. Every situation is unique - so can be your decisions. If a customer is not satisfied, give him the money back and try spinning this into an even bigger sale.

5) Don't hire unlikable people. Nobody likes to give money to someone they don't like. Even if your staff might never really talk to customers and only communicates via email or forums - a personality will always shine through. A customer will feel after a while, who he is dealing with.

6) Don't be pushy. Don't try to push a customer to something they don't want, they don't need or they are not sure about. Show options, be patient. Customers like that more than a stupid sales pitch.

7) Offer superior products. Add a little more to each product or service than necessary.

None of these things alone with get you loyal customers, but a combination of things will make it very difficult for a customer to leave. If you get a customer to this point, you are able to ask for a higher price for your products and most of them will be happy to pay a little more so that they can continue to enjoy the service and the products that you provide.

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