1Gas is a leading supplier of gas connections and continually have an exceptional customer satisfaction rating. Here, it shares its expertise with Installer on ensuring customer loyalty for 2015.
Your clients are the lifeblood of your business and the source of your livelihood, so it’s important you treat them well and ensure they’re happy and satisfied wherever possible.
Many small business owners often underestimate the importance of customer loyalty and the impact it has on their accounts. Repeat customers are often the cornerstone of many businesses; the value of word-of-mouth praise and the impact of referrals can help grow your company exponentially.
It also costs you a lot less to retain your current customers and ensure they remain loyal. You’ve already fought hard to win their business once, so the last thing you want to do is pay for marketing again after you’ve let them slip away to a competitor.
So what can you do to keep your customer base happy and loyal?
1. Offer exceptional customer service
Good customer service is vital in any businesses, but it’s exceptional customer service which will ensure you stand out from other competitors and ensure your customers are happy to stay with you.
Communication is of paramount importance at every stage of the project, and transparency goes a long way too.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and try and understand what they’d want to get from you. Plan and manage the project to appropriate dates and deadlines wherever possible, and help your customers understand that you’ll do whatever it takes to make things work.
“In our opinion, exceptional customer service is the single most important part of any business,” says ‘Teres Hager, Service & Sales Manager at 1Gas. “If a company has a willingness to chase other suppliers and businesses on behalf of the customer, they’re much more likely to earn that customer’s loyalty moving forward.”
2. Perfect your temperament
Perhaps one the most under-looked ways of ensuring customer loyalty is the necessity to be nice. It seems very obvious, but many small businesses get so caught up in work, they forget to smile, be happy, and engage those people who pay the bills.
Smiling is key, because the University of Portsmouth conducted a study which found that people can actually hear over the phone when someone is smiling. So whenever you speak to your customers, be sure to put on that smile.
Be patient, be honest, and have a little humour, and you’ll be well liked by everyone. And when your customers like you, they’re much more likely to stay with you.
3. Ask for and listen to feedback
One of the best ways to understand exactly what your customer is after is to ask them for their feedback. Once you know their needs and concerns, you can address them directly and ensure their continued loyalty.
Speak to them directly in person, or if you feel more inclined to do it anonymously, there’s plenty of free software available online to survey your customers and ask for their opinions.
If you can read between the lines and be as attentive as possible to your customers then you’ll be able to be proactive. Identify and tackle any issues or problems before they arise and your customers will be forever grateful.
4. Exceed expectations
Whenever you can deliver more than the customer expects, you’ll increase their loyalty to you.
It’s the little things which count and what a customer will remember when they come to either renew their business with you or turn to a competitor. Take every opportunity to go the extra mile, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Turn up early, stay a little later, and give out your best advice freely.
If you’re installing any products, take the time to offer explanations and explain to your customer exactly how it works. Offer to answer any questions any time, and whilst you might never be needed, your customer will always remember your generosity.
When your business permits doing something for free, even if it’s just including a free pack of spare bulbs or something really simple like that, grab the opportunity. That little touch will help retain customer loyalty for a long time.
5. Give them a reason to come back
Finally, if you’ve finished working with your customer directly, don’t forget to give them a reason to come back and use your services again.
As well a big thank you for their custom, there are number of options you can offer to customers to keep their loyalty and entice them back.
These might include:
- A returning customer discount
- A loyalty scheme
- Incentives for referring you to friends and family
You might also be able to thank them by referring business to their company. Or, you can always just show them you appreciate their custom by interacting with them occasionally on social media, keeping up a great relationship. Don’t forget to send them a Christmas card either.
Above all, customers like to go back to a business if they’ve had a good, trustworthy experience – so be sure to deliver that on every occasion. Try out the tips above, and you’ll have excellent customer satisfaction and a loyalty base for years to come.