Building customer loyalty is easier said than done. To cultivate it, you have to place the client at the center of all that you do. They must be the focus point of the company, your department, daily routines, how you hire, even the way you design the forms on your website. If all this seems to be difficult, then you are not ready for it.
But if you are willing to give importance to your client, know that it will be worth the effort. Here are some ways in which professional services firms can provide quality customer service and in return gain loyalty.
- Above and Beyond Excellent Service
Everything, including customer service, is built around the service you are providing. If it is not good or is lacking in some aspect, there will be complaints. An excellent service is designed and tested so that it will perform well within reasonably foreseeable circumstances.
- Caring Delivery
The service will have to be presented to the client in a 'caring' and 'personal' way. No matter how good a service is, if you have not presented it without showing care to the client, the customer will not be satisfied.
- Delivery on Time
An excellent service that is not delivered on time is defective. Clients mostly have high expectations from the services they use and many of them will not accept delays in delivery.
- Process to Resolve Problems
Sometimes you cannot avoid delivering services late or the client may inadvertently receive a below-par service. Your apology should emotionally resonate with them. And you should be prepared to compensate them with something better. Just surprise them!
Steps to Build Customer Loyalty
To keep a business thriving, you have to pay close attention to your current clients and their needs. The best way to get repeat business is to leave a positive effect on your clients when you follow up with them. This begins when you call your customers to thank them after selling the service and ask if the customer is happy with it. A few other ways include:
- Let them know how you are helping them – You can do this through a newsletter or you can make it more informal like a phone call. If you do not let clients know how you are helping them, they may never know. There is no harm in this if you do it in a way that does not seem to be cocky.
- Write handwritten letters to your long-term clients – You can write a letter occasionally to your clients to let them know you are thinking about them and are ready to render your services, if they need it. It can also be as simple as a 'thank you' note for using your services, maybe on a holiday.
- Keep your communication personal – Email and voice mail have made it easy to communicate, but while doing so, you lose your personal touch. You cannot call them legitimate follow-ups. If you cannot get through, you can leave a voice mail saying you would like to speak to them personally.
- Note special occasions – You can send your clients birthday cards, holiday cards, and anniversary cards. You can also send small gifts if they are within the budget. Come up with creative gift ideas that blend in with your business or the clients', and their recent purchases.
- Pass on relevant information – If you have read an interesting article, a new book, or if you have heard about an organization that your clients may be interested in, you can drop them a note or make a call.
When you call your clients they may give you referrals, which may lead to new clients. With all the things that your existing clients can do for you, there is no reason why you should not stay in touch with them.
About the Author: Bob Wolff is an accountant-turned-channel manager at BQE who helps to offer consulting and software solutions for BQE customers. He likes to share his business expertise here on the blog whenever he can.