customer loyalty

4 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty

Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on business development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated- and promotional-apparel industries. With more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel-decorating businesses looking to improve profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his website at ypbt.com, and send email to Vince@ypbt.com.

Convinced you need to do something to take your customers beyond just being satisfied and nurture loyalty? You may want to try some of these suggestions:

  • Invest in listening training for your salespeople and any employee that interacts with customers, either on the phone or face-to-face. Listening is not just hearing the words a customer utters. It’s being able to read the literal and informal cues a customer exhibits when first entering the business or at the beginning of the phone call. An excellent training videotape to consider is Charthouse International’s “FISH! Catch the Energy. Release the Potential.” It’s available for sale or rent from charthouse.com and teaches the FISH Philosophy toward treating customers: play, make their day, be there, and choose your attitude.
  • Encourage your employees to take a risk to get to know your customers on a personal level. Ask them about their likes, dislikes, pastimes, and vocations. Tell them to ask meaningful questions that are more open-ended and get to the “need behind the need” for the customer. Asking when the customer needs the decorated garments is important but take a moment to follow up with a question such as “Why is that date so crucial?” to gain an insight into the customer’s circumstances.
  • Have your employees get caught going above and beyond the call of duty. Consistently and respectfully confirm the customer’s expectations have been met and attempt to gauge how delighted they were throughout the transaction. When you can get a customer to verbalize how happy they were shopping with you, you improve the chances they will come back or tell a friend about the experience. Use this opportunity to highlight the positive in the customer as well. If they did something to make your life easier, such as promptly responding to and approving the proof you sent them, it generates a feeling that you work well together and they are likely to look forward to the next time you do business.
  • Teach your employees to upsell, cross-sell, and provide additional information succinctly without appearing pushy. When you tie in an alternative or additional product or service to a stated or inferred customer need or desire, you stand to gain additional revenues and give the customer the impression that your company has more to offer than just what they came in for initially.