How To Keep Customers Loyal To Your Brand (so that your business keeps on growing)
We’ve all had that experience in business, we open our doors on the first day with no customers at all. Then slowly, painfully, they come trickling in. We work really hard to get those first customers, and bend over backwards to make sure that they are happy with our service. After all, we have nothing else to do right? However, after a while, we start taking our customers for granted and we are no longer as thorough in following up on their satisfaction levels. What happens? Business starts to drop and customers start seeking solace in our competitors. In the long term, we are the losers.
How can we avoid this scenario repeating itself over and over? We can avoid this by adapting our marketing methods. We need to adjust the way we see marketing from being merely something we do to attract new customers. Marketing needs to now encompass how we retain the customers that we do have already. This is crucial if our businesses are to grow in the long term. Gone are the days when we could afford to have extensive flyer campaigns every day to attract new customers. It’s expensive!!! Instead, we are going to explore the power of the customer.
Picture this scenario, a disgruntled customer of yours tells 100 of her friends what a lousy service she got from you the other week. These people will tell yet a hundred more and before you know it, you have 10,000 negative adverts about your business floating about. It will take you much time and effort to overcome this adverse publicity. On the other hand, if you give a fantastic service, you now have 10,000 free brand ambassadors, telling everyone how amazing you are. You choose… do you want to burden your business with extra advertising costs, or do you want free positive publicity? We all know what every business woman will choose!
So how do we ensure that our customers think the world of us? It’s by making sure that first of all, as the business owner, you are clear on what you want your customers think of you. This is called market positioning. Do you want to be thought of as classy, clean, professional, quick on delivery, as a business that gives attention to the small details, modern, world-class etc? Then keep all these elements in mind as you prepare your marketing plan.
We have all heard of the 7Ps of marketing, Product, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Process and Physical Evidence. As you plan these 7Ps, make sure that in each and every P, you incorporate the image that you want your customers to have of you. If you are aiming to look modern to your customers, are your offices modern looking? Are your employees dressed and trained appropriately? Does the location of your premises say what you want your customers to think of you? Of course, after you have crafted your excellent marketing plan, don’t forget to get feedback from your customers and take it seriously. After all, your business exists to serve them, so take what they think seriously.
In future instalments, we will continue this discussion as we cover how exactly one can position their business strategically in the market.