How to Keep Customers Happy and Loyal

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

Follow this simple plan to keep customers happy…

Most businesses actively seek new customers. But few businesses put the same amount of effort into keeping those customers happy once they’ve got them. Which is strange. Because spending the same amount of time and money on turning good customers into repeat customers is more cost effective than constantly chasing new customers.

Your goal is to keep customers happy and encourage them to tell their friends about your business.
Your goal is to keep customers happy and encourage them to tell their friends about your business.

And the best part is, turning happy customers into raving fans is more about customer experience and less about expensive marketing.

As with many areas of life, treat people right and they’ll treat you right.

It all starts when a customer discusses their problem with you

At this point, the customer accepts they have a problem and they’re considering your business as a viable solution. They hope that you might deliver the results they need. You now have two important jobs to do. You need to convince them that yes; you are the best placed business to solve their problem, and you also need to provide an excellent customer experience every step of the way from now on.

Customer signs up for your solution

Now they’ve admitted to themselves, and to you, that they have a problem and need your services, they’re on the road to becoming a customer. A feeling of euphoria can accompany this acceptance, because they think they’ve solved their problem. However, this euphoria is short lived and can soon turn to buyer’s remorse, where they doubt the decision they just made or the deal they’ve committed to.

Keep them onboard and avoid buyer’s remorse

Next you need to affirm that the decision they just made was the right decision and convince them they won’t regret it. Assure them you can solve their problem and things will get better from now on.

You only get one chance to create a good first impression

This is where their purchase activates. This stage could be a physical delivery of goods such as a bicycle, the delivery of a service such as unblocking their drain, or the first meeting if your service is a long drawn out process.

The customer is anxious that there might be problems or that things will not go as they planned. It’s up to you to put their mind at ease. Start things off on the right foot, create a great first impression so your customer thinks “phew, it’s OK things are working out as planned”.

If you give the customer a bad first impression, it will be difficult to get them back on your side. A bad first impression could damage the relationship long term, no matter how hard you try to fix it later on.

So, start as you mean to go on! Make a great first impression and put your customer’s mind at ease.

Guide customers carefully through your process

If you deliver a multi-step service, you need to acclimatise the customer to the way you will work together. You’ve done your job many times, you know exactly what happens at each stage and you know what to expect at each junction. But your customer does not.

You need to hold their hand and guide them through each step of the process. Make sure they know what’s coming at each step of the journey and make sure they’re ready and comfortable with the process. They don’t want any surprises. They want to feel comfortable and they want to oversee any parts of the process they need to carryout themselves.

Keep customers well informed about the process you’re both going to go through, and encourage them to ask questions if they feel unsure or uncomfortable with any part of the process.

Deliver what the customer expected you to deliver

In this stage, the customer accomplishes their goal. If all goes well, you’ve solved the problem the customer had when they came to you. This could be when you deliver the bicycle they ordered, and they jump on and ride away. Or maybe their blocked drain is now clear. If you provide more complex services, you might have had several meetings, analysed problems, and implemented solutions.

The problem your customer had when they came to you should now be solved.

It’s no good delivering a pink bicycle when the customer wanted a blue one. You must deliver what the customer expected you to deliver. If there’s any disconnect between what they the customer expects to get and what you deliver, you need to work on your ability to communicate clearly with your customer.

Make sure customers know what they will get right from the start. If you don’t deliver what customers expected to receive, they’ll view you as a poor business and won’t want to work with you again.

Your customer is happy

If you’ve done a good job and delivered what they wanted, the customer will now trust you and be proud of their association with your business and your reputation. But you can’t rest on your laurels, you now need to make your customer feel valued.

The customer is now a member of your tribe, and you’re delighted to have them. They get the special treatment that goes with the relationship between any good customer and trusted business. You both hope this relationship will be long and fruitful.

Over time, this new customer will get to know the way you work and future jobs will go smoothly.

Convert happy customers into raving fans

In this last stage of the process, you convert happy customers into raving fans. You do this by solving the customer’s problem and delivering the goods they expected. They now see their dealings with you as a win-win relationship.

Now encourage this customer to tell everyone they know what a great business you are. How you deliver on your promises. And how happy they are to have done business with you. If you build a win-win relationship now, they’ll become an ambassador for your business, and that is more valuable than any paid marketing.

We believe friends and family when they recommend a business. We’re not so trusting of advertising. So the more customers that tell their friends and family about you the better.

Nurture these raving fans, keep them on your side, and you’ll reap the benefits for generations to come.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

The important point is to see things from the customer’s point of view. If there’s something that confuses them or troubles them, discuss the issue and fix it in a way that keeps you both happy.

Not all customers are a good fit for your business, but for the customers that are, it’s in both your interests to create mutually beneficial relationships that can last well into the future.

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