Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Building Customer Loyalty

Small Businesses 1Image by Angela Radulescu via Flickr

How loyal are your customers to you?

The answer to the question could be what stands between success and failure of your small business. Today you see many major retailers trying to build customer loyalty through their so called rewards cards. It is the latest attempt to keep customers coming to their stores as opposed to their competitors.

But what can you do to create customer loyalty?

The Freelance Folder blog has several ideas to build your customer loyalty.

The first idea they mention is to add a human touch to your service. When is the last time your tried to call a company on a 800-number and have been totally frustrated with the results? Make sure that your customers are able to reach someone that can answer their questions.

While I have said it is OK to outsource some projects, you should never outsource anything that will affect the service that your customer receives. These days too many companies are outsourcing their customer service functions which in the long run will only harm the experience the customer has when they call.

An outsourcer can provide the same level of customer service that you can because it is your business and to them it is just another account.

Another important way to build customer loyalty is to take care of the customer no matter what. To often small businesses have return policies that are too restrictive and cause them to loose customers in the long run. While a return always hurt, a customer that is able to return a product without problems is more likely to come back and buy more than a customer that cannot return a product.

The best way to deal with returns is to set aside a certain percentage of your sales to compensate for returns. This way you are not being caught by surprise with a really big return that you are not expecting.

Building customer loyalty should be one of your biggest priorities. It will mean the difference in the long term future of your company.

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