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20 Ways to Earn And Build Customer Loyalty

ShannonJanuary 8, 2019
People are more likely to go to an expert for help than an amateur. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Become An Expert People Can Trust

Even if you have not gone to school to get a PhD in whatever subject your business is under, there are still plenty of ways to prove that you are an expert in your chosen field. It is wise to do as much research as you possibly can. Read books and blogs, watch documentaries, and attend lectures as often as possible in order to understand all aspects of your business. It may take hundreds, if not thousands of hours of study before you truly feel confident in your craft. But remember that unlike a degree, no one is ever going to come along and hand you a trophy with the word “expert” engraved on it. Just be confident in the things you know, but don’t pretend to know more than you actually do, and don’t be afraid to admit when you do not know, by saying, “I’ll get back to you on that”. People can see through insincerity right away, if you just make something up.

Pumpkin Spice is a great example of a limited-time special event that drives people nuts. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Hold Special Events

Customers love special events, and it can cause a huge influx of people to come to your business at certain times of year. Think about the McDonald’s Monopoly contest. Even the most healthy eaters will suddenly buy a Big Mac, just for a chance at winning a million dollars. A “special event” can be as simple as a sale, or a limited-time release of a seasonal item. If people had fun with your special event, they will remember that for next year, and want to come back for more. Of course, you can have a special event a multiple times a year to keep people coming back again and again. On the flip side, if you normally offer a seasonal item every year, and then suddenly get rid of it out of the blue (We’re looking at you, Eggnog Milkshakes at McDonalds!) your long-time customers may feel disappointed, and they will not come back as often as they would have otherwise.

Example of rules that customers need to follow. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Have Clear Policies Listed Up-Front

It is extremely important to let your customers know your policies up-front. Maybe you have been in a situation where you go to a restaurant or store, and you are ready to pay for your  items, and the cashier abruptly tells you that they are cash-only. Other times, you need to pay for at least $10 to $20 before using a credit or debit card. If there was never a sign anywhere in the store to indicate this policy, or if there was only a teeny tiny post card posted on the cash register, this is guaranteed to annoy your customers.

Even if people just so happened to have enough cash in their pocket to pay for their items, they often feel duped if they have to change their game plan. This lowers their likelihood to come back. Same goes with a “no return” policy. If people do not know this ahead of time, it may lead to arguments if they try to get their money back later. Make sure your policies are hung somewhere noticeable, and potentially in multiple places around the store, just in case they missed the first sign. Also, if your policies are so strict that it prevents people from coming inside, you may want to rethink your rules.

Okay, maybe you don’t have to be THIS flexible…Credit: Shutterstock

4. Be Flexible

While it is important to let your customers know about your policies up-front, it is also important to be flexible on the rules, for the sake of keeping the customer happy. For example, if you have a 30-day return policy, and they show up on day 31, your customer is going to be really upset if you do not accept the return. On the flip side, if you are flexible on the rules for this person, they will remember your kindness, and this will make them more willing to come back in the future.

Coffee machines, jars of candy, and mints are all small surprises that make customers happy. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Surprise Your Customer

Just about everyone loves a surprise, and it will bring a lot of happiness to their customer experience. In most cases, these surprises just boil down to having great hospitality. Bringing a small spark of joy to a customer’s day will have a lasting impact, and it will make them more likely to come back in the future. For example, if you run a restaurant, you could include free mints with their check. If you have an office where clients come to meet with you, offer them with a free snack and coffee while they sit in the waiting room.

Remember to compete with your rivals when it comes to how you treat your customers. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Go Above And Beyond Your Competitors

One of the best ways to foster a great customer experience is to scope out your competition by becoming a customer of theirs. Pay attention to your own experience when you are at a rival company. What do you like, and what do you dislike? You can even (discreetly) take notes on your phone to remind yourself later of all of the little pet peeves you had at another business. Also keep in mind that your expectations may not be the same as someone else’s. Ask your friends and family how their experience could be improved in certain businesses, and try to take their suggestions to heart.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos swears by putting the customer first. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Put The Customer Above Everything Else

One of the most famous quotes by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is that when he first created his online book store, he put the customer’s needs above everything else, even if it meant losing money or breaking even. By giving a customer a great experience, they will come back for more. Most major corporations know that they need to spend money in order to advertise and acquire a customer, but if they have that customer’s loyalty for years to come, the efforts up-front will more than pay themselves off in the long run. Good luck in your journey, and remember that sometimes, the customer really is always right.

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