By Tyler Bray, owner, The Trailer Parts Outlet.
Throughout my time as an entrepreneur, I have paid careful attention to the values that generate customer loyalty. These have guided my decision-making throughout the growth of my company.
Let’s talk about how to measure customer loyalty so that you can track the results of new efforts. If you’re trying to put customer loyalty into numbers, measure retention rates and how likely your customers are to order from you again.
Empathy: The Foundation Of A Loyal Customer Base
When you want to build a loyal base of customers, the foundation is empathy. Too many business leaders make a crucial mistake without even realizing it. They ask, “What good or service do I want to sell?” instead of asking about the experience the customer wants to have. I’m not saying this is a conscious choice; I’m saying it’s an unspoken mindset that sets you off on a mission that neglects empathy. When you turn the question on its head and ask what experience the customer wants, amazing things can happen. Without getting into details, I identified a pain point in my target market that could be solved with carefully bundled products and kits. Identifying pain points and offering solutions is central to any successful business model, but you can’t do it without putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Overcommunicating is central to developing long-term relationships with customers. Shift your thinking from getting retention numbers up to deepening your relationship with customers. If you can do the latter, the former will happen on its own. Look to your customer service and sales team. They are the front lines of your relationship-builders. I consider elements of my website like our chat response so important that I will test them myself from time to time. I always steer my reps toward responses that deepen a connection and relationship with a customer.
Reputation is everything. You have to put in the work to do the things that earn you a good one. It’s all stuff you’ve heard before. Be the real deal, and keep your promises on time as often as you can. When you make a mistake, fix it and move on. Some of the mistakes that our company has made have given birth to the deepest relationships with our customers because we took care of them. I promise you that some of my most loyal and consistent recurring customers are people with whom I built a relationship after fixing a mistake. It’s all about cultivating a mindset in which you truly believe there is opportunity buried in every setback. Each choice you make has to contribute to this overall effort. You do those things consistently, and your reputation will take care of itself. Ask yourself, “How does this situation sound when this customer is telling their friend about my company?” Make the choices that create a story in which you shine.
MORE FOR YOU
Be real with customers! Behave like a human being in all customer interactions and your brand will sound human. If you try to sound like a “brand,” you’ll sound unnatural. Sometimes people get a little confused when I say that. The key is simply to be natural whether you’re calling, emailing, instant chatting or blogging for your customers. Be helpful like they’re an old family friend. Let them bring out the best in you. You’ll feel better at the end of every workday when you do this, and customer loyalty will come your way over time.