If you own a business, you’ve already achieved a milestone in life that many people can only dream of: You get to be your own boss. However, founding your startup is only the first step. If you want your entrepreneurial enterprise to succeed, you need to nurture a loyal customer base. Forbes explains that loyal customers support company growth and boost profits. Investing time, energy, and money into keeping your customers happy so that they come back again and again will pay off in the big picture.
As the Senior Executive Vice President of two major internet retailers, I understands the value of customer loyalty. This guide explains how you can create your own dedicated following to grow your brand.
Hone your business skills to streamline processes and make time for customers.
Satisfied customers require time and attention. You want to carve out enough hours in your workday to attend to client needs, whether that means posting on social media or responding to complaints. Business education can give you the knowledge and skills you need to effectively run a streamlined, well-optimized company, leaving you time for customer issues. Western Governors University provides an online MBA program that will allow you to hone critical skills in everything from marketing to strategy, leadership, and more.
Define and communicate your brand values clearly.
Establishing a strong brand for your business makes it easier for people to identify with your company. Annex Cloud lists critical values that help to nurture loyalty and improve customer retention, including compassion, respect, nostalgia, and social responsibility. Write down your business values to establish a clear vision of how you want your company to be presented to the world. Then, make sure to communicate those values going forward. They should be reflected in the tone and content of all communication.
Get active and stay engaged on social media.
Business.com explains that a strong social media presence can help you connect with customers and build their loyalty. Social media is also a great way to present your brand values to the world. The key to social media success is to post consistently. Instead of getting on every social media platform possible, focus on posting regularly on one to two channels. Further, make sure your social media is interactive. When people comment, respond to what they’re saying. The goal is to promote active engagement.
Define your customer communication channels.
Modern technology has created a diversity of customer communication options, including helpdesk software, web chat tools, call center technology, chatbots, and more. Decide which tools are most convenient for your company and focus on providing attentive, consistent support via those channels and market places. While many entrepreneurs initially handle customer service themselves, you’ll likely want to hire a dedicated service team as your business grows.
Define a satisfaction guarantee to keep customers happy.
Happy customers will be loyal customers. A satisfaction guarantee is an excellent way to maintain a content client base. HubSpot details different types of customer satisfaction guarantees you might explore. Examples include a money-back guarantee, a try-before-buying guarantee, and a reliability guarantee. Whatever type of guarantee you settle on, convey the terms clearly to both your customers and your customer service employees. Consistent implementation is critical.
Provide employees with customer service training.
Employee training will further help ensure consistent implementation of satisfaction guarantees and other customer service policies. Provide your team with the information they need to make brand-consistent decisions when it comes to customer requests and complaints. First, write down your customer service policies and ensure all workers have a copy. Then, provide a customer service training session, ideally with role-playing scenarios. Finally, follow up with regular “refresher” training sessions to keep service skills sharp.
Keep employees happy and motivated.
According to Harvard Business Review, if you want your customers to be happy, you have to ensure your employees are happy. How can you make sure that’s the case? Be clear with your workers regarding business objectives and expectations. Ongoing communication can help ensure mutual satisfaction on both your and your employees’ parts. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with individuals in your team to check in. It’s also important to incentivize employees, not only in terms of salary but also with bonuses and perks.
Get feedback from your customers.
If you want to keep your customers loyal to your brand in the long term, you want to make sure your customer service efforts are working. The best way to know whether this is the case is to ask them directly. Consider asking clients to complete a survey providing feedback about their experience with your business. What did they like or dislike? Where could improvements be made? Did a specific employee help create a positive experience? You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey to create an easy-to-use digital survey.
Investing in customer satisfaction will increase long-term loyalty among your clients. This is a critical component of business success. Follow the steps above to get started.