Growing companies are often eager to acquire new customers to expand its clientele, but also risk losing touch with its old customers. That is why building and maintaining customer loyalty is almost as important as gaining new ones, and as the business environment is difficult at the moment, now is the best time to enhance your customer relationships.
[related|post]According to analyst Gary Cuevas of business solutions provider Techno Serve, providing great customer service is cheaper in the long run, since it spares businesses the trouble of amending mistakes or service related errors.
“A big part of building customer loyalty is excellent service. You’ll only be able to retain customers if they feel that you are taking care of them, and that they are important to your company,” he said.
Cuevas shares some tips to help your company build customer loyalty:
1. Get the right people. Weed out and replace unenthusiastic service representatives, because they’re hurting your business. It’s easier to replace talent than regaining customer trust.
Lyn Garces who runs a specialty foodshop in Makati recently fired two of her staff, including the manager because of customer complaints of bad service. “Customers were telling us through the suggestions box that our staff were impolite, slow to act, and would often frown at people who took their time to order. I had to let them go because it was a recurring theme, and I couldn’t risk having them on board to turn off customers anymore because I believe our product is great,” she said.
For his part, Cuevas advises business owners to keep their employees in line at all times, even if they don’t speak to customers on a regular basis.
“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, the customer can always sense the personality of the person he is talking to,” he said.
2. Motivate your front line people. Keep your employees focused on your customers, by putting incentives in place for exceptional service. Give them refresher courses on the company products and services, as well as how to deal with clients.
Cuevas says a good test of your employee’s commitment to service is by showing expertise in the particular industry you serve. This can be achieved through constant and effective training.
“Be smarter than your customers are. Make sure you and your staff always have more answers than your customers have questions. Most people are very loyal to expertise and proven skills,” he said.