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Customer loyalty can never be mis-underestimated but it often is. It is a proven fact that it is much cheaper to re-market to your current customers and costs less in time and money to resell to them than to find new customers. Why do you think the multinationals bend over backwards with discounts when you are threatening to leave them. Mobile Phone & Pay TV providers for example suddenly offer amazing new deals & handset upgrades when you are showing that you are about to go to their rivals.
But how do you keep customers and keep them keen. Here’s a few tips that might help you…
If you keep communications hot with customers then they will more likely be in a position to buy from you in the future. This could be through a blog, email marketing campaigns or even printed newsletters. Keeping in touch is key as the buyer (customer) goes through different buying cycles and decisions. By giving them information on the latest skills you’ve acquired (hired) or latest technologies applied to your recent website creation in your portfolio, they may just want that upgrade too.
2. Add Value
Be there for your customers and deliver a good quality product. It’s not all about how cheap it is, there are more important things for customers. Are you there to answer phone calls or emails when they need support? Are you active on your support forum? Do you do extra work such as logo design or brochures on top of website design? Can you SEO the site for when it launches? Do you throw in a couple of email marketing templates too? There are lots of things you can do to add extra value to the purchase a customer makes other than just a discount.
3. Loyalty Schemes
A successful loyalty scheme can encourage frequent purchases from customers over time. Ideas might include yearly discounts on hosting over the monthly price; buy 5 hours of changes for the price of 4 and even a yearly refresh in design for a % off the usual design price you charge. Be creative, reward loyal customers and they’ll keep coming back for more and even turn into your advocates. When that happens, you won’t be able to handle the work that comes your way.
4. Customers are God
In Japan, there’s a well know proverb that says that “customers are God”. Customer service is very important for your brand, business and customer loyalty. Make sure you handle complaints effectively, manage their expectations and answer any questions promptly. The biggest problems for designers can often be managing expectations with the design brief. My advice is to always under promise and over deliver and you’ll do just fine.
5. Listen to your Customers
The more you know and learn about your customers, the easier it is to shape your business’ and its direction to meet your customers’ needs and desires. Yes, add getsatifaction.com’s feedback widget to your site, ask customers for feedback through surveys and referrals, call customers and find out how they are doing if you’ve not heard from them and listen to what they have to say. Then, act on it. There’s no good hearing and disagreeing. Remember, customers are gods and although they don’t know what a CMS system or an H1 tag necessarily is, they know what they want and you have to give it to them for your design business to succeed.
Whether you think your customer is a God or have a strict policy to answer all support emails within 48 hours, there are lots of things we can all do to improve our customer relations and ultimately our bottom line. Happy customers equals loyal customers. And, loyal customers equals healthy business.