For me as a business owner, it's my long-term loyal clients that are the reason I get up in the morning. That's not because of the impact they've had on my bottom line, although that's obviously important. It's because those happy, satisfied clients are the ones that make me love my job.
They're the ones that I've seen go from chaotic, scattergun marketing to a structured, methodical marketing operation that is clearly and measurably contributing to the growth of their business. And they're so pleased with the results they tell all their friends about me - brilliant!
And if you're a founder-business owner then you must have customers (hopefully many!) like this too.
But how can we turn new customers into these brilliant raving fans? What do we need to do drive that customer loyalty in our business?
Here are a few of my favourite blogs on the subject - enjoy!
We all know that it is cheaper to win business from an existing customer than to find a new one. Even so, it's easy to take long-term customers for granted. The danger is that once you start to take them for granted, you begin to lose them.
No matter what your business, your customers have a relationship with you. The stronger the relationship they have with you, the more loyal they will be. It'll then be harder for a competitor to lure them away.
I've mentioned before the parallels between buying decisions and relationships. The process of nurturing a new customer is similar in many ways to meeting and dating a new love.
And the parallel doesn't end there. In both situations, it’s not uncommon to find that relationships somehow get neglected over time. We are all familiar with divorce rates reported in the press. Do you know how many of your long-term customers quietly decide to move to a competitor?
If your sale is quite transactional, It’s easy to forget that you need to sustain your customer relationships to avoid them drifting away.
So how do we “keep the magic alive”? Funnily enough, this might start to sound a little like marriage advice:
Not long ago our toaster gave up the ghost. My mother happened to be visiting and told me how I simply must get a big, Dualit one as it’d last me the rest of my life and they make great toast.
A bit of research told me that Dualit toasters are British-made to high quality standards and are designed so that components can easily be replaced which means that the product doesn’t have to be replaced when one heating element goes. Great, I thought! However, when it arrived in the post, I couldn’t help wonder what on earth I had been thinking spending £70 on a toaster!
I lifted it, heavy and shiny, out of its strong box and noticed it had been carefully wrapped in branded tissue paper. I knew then I’d made the right choice.
In that moment, the quality packaging and attention to detail made an emotional connection with me that instantly converted me from a first-time customer to a raving fan. I can’t explain it – writing it down and considering it objectively makes me feel particularly silly – but that’s how I felt.
Bryony Thomas at Watertight Marketing calls this “The Hug”.
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