The most important part of a thriving business is sales. If you have enough customers, even a poorly run company can survive. However, the sales process isn’t easy and for most businesses it’s far easier and cheaper to retain a customer than it is to develop a new customer. Customer loyalty is extremely valuable because a lifelong customer will buy from you again and again.
This is why gaining customer trust and keeping it after the initial sale is so important. Too many companies focus exclusively on the initial sale and then fail to deliver on customer service after the initial sale. If you haven’t given some serious thought to how your customer experience after the sale affects trust and loyalty, it’s time.
The rest of this post is going to break down the 7 keys to keeping customer trust and gaining customer loyalty.
The biggest reason customers leave a brand is because they don’t like the product or service they get. Your number one priority is to have a system in place for addressing customer complaints.
When a customer comes to you or anyone on your team with a complaint, they should be met with the following:
- Listening – Don’t try to fix anything before the customer has been able to vent and explain the problem. Give them as much time as they need.
- Empathy – Always try to find ways to relate and connect with the customer. It turns the situation into an “us vs the problem” situation instead of the original “you vs the customer” situation.
- Apologizing – You need to try to give every customer the best experience you can. If something goes wrong, a simple apology goes a long way. People can be pretty understanding when you sound like a person and not a corporation.
- Solving – First, ask the customer how they’d like the problem to be solved. Or offer your own solutions for them to choose from. Go above and beyond here to maximize your chances of retaining that customer.
Encourage your customers to communicate with you. Provide them with multiple access points – email, phone, web forms – and make sure they are visible on your website. Take the time to follow up and see if your customer is thrilled with your solution. If they aren’t, encourage them to contact you again.
If you could anticipate customer complaints, you could take preventative action and minimize the number of complaints and bad experiences. Many complaints happen because customers don’t fully understand what they are buying. It could be because the sales page isn’t clear or because the customer is assuming far too much – either way, the customer doesn’t get what he expected and is dissatisfied.
So how do you prevent this from happening?
Answer all the questions before a purchase is made. Remember that it’s never just one potential customer with a question. So, even if you only get one or two complaints about a specific issue, it could mean there are several other customers with the same problem.
But you can eliminate a significant number of these bad experiences by using a simple FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your sales page.
Don’t let your business be the guy who pays someone a lot of attention, so they naturally think you like them. Then, as soon as you get something from them, you stop paying any attention to them.
That is, until you need something from them again in the future. Your relationship with your prospects and customers is a relationship. It goes beyond just getting money from them for your products. They need to know that your primary desire isn’t just to make money but to try to improve their lives and the lives of others like them.
This starts with giving more than what you take. Here are some tips:
- Be mindful of what your sales pitches look like.
- Make sure that once the sales cycle is completed, you continue to offer your customers solutions to other problems they might have.
When someone buys a product, they’re trading their money for your product. However, if they purchased it online, they may not get that product for a while. Usually, that’s at least a few days if it’s a physical product.
At this point, they’ve given up money but got nothing in return, which makes them feel like you owe them something—which you do.
But if you just ask them to buy additional products at this stage, they have no choice but to think that you don’t really care if they get what they’re owed. It seems like you only care about making money from them.
It’s a great way to lose a customer.
You need to take care of all aspects of your customer’s order before moving them on to any future products.
A good friend always checks in – As someone who has sold both products and services, I love seeing how they improve the lives of my customers. Check in with your customer after an appropriate amount of time (enough to receive and possibly try the product).
Regardless of whether someone just bought something from you or is considering buying from you, you want them to think one thing:
That if they buy it, they will be making a good decision. It will make them happy.
A lot of factors go into that feeling, but more than anything else, it is seeing the results of others.
If you showcase happy customers in your case studies, it’ll help your new customers feel like they probably just made a good decision instead of feeling buyer’s remorse.
The better someone feels after buying one of your products, the more likely they are to buy again in the future.
If you do one thing right, do this – over-deliver on your promises. Deliver a great product or service and surprise your customer by giving a little more than expected. This will go a long way towards happy customers and long term loyalty.
If you give your customers something extra, most will be inclined to give something back to you somehow. Your options depend heavily based on your type of business, but here are four main types of rewards you can give out:
- Exclusive offers
- Loyalty programs
- Fun bonus events
You can also do this on a more personal level. Take some time and go to lunch with your clients or customers.
If you want to maximize the value of a new customer, you need to convert them into a loyal, repeat customer. To do that, you have to demonstrate that you deserve their trust and loyalty. Focus on these seven and make them part of your overall customer loyalty service system and you will be well on your way to repeat, loyal customers.