Nine ways to build and maintain customer loyalty at your firm.
By winning – and keeping – the hearts and minds of your customers, you can look forward to reaping the significant rewards that come with building customer loyalty: Repeat custom, greater profits and potential brand advocates to just a few.
But just what does it take to build meaningful and lasting relationships with customers?
1. Make their life easy.
On the whole, customers do not expect the world from their suppliers they just want the service they’ve been led to believe they’ll get delivered efficiently, without fuss.
Try holding a workshop at your company with key employees to map the customer journey and then work together to identify and fix any process bottlenecks that may hinder your ability to offer a smooth and efficient service at all times. You could see customer retention increase sooner than you think.
2. Set clear loyalty objectives.
With the customer journey mapped out and any broken processes fixed, you can turn your attention to more strategic matters.
Set customer loyalty objectives for each department in your firm and then weave these objectives into your company’s quality policy so that they become embedded into the fabric of your company’s day to day process.
3. Include customer loyalty in your quality policy.
With your objectives set, you can then develop a set of procedures and guidelines for each job role that sets out what is expected of your workforce. The documents should provide a practical guide for delivering the loyalty objectives, and will help to align your workforce to the same common vision and customer services goals.
4. Create a Leadership culture in your firm.
Everyone can be a leader. The key is to create a business that supports team working and collaboration so that your teams can work together to serve the collective good rather than their own interests.
Ensure the quality policy is stored in a central point and can be accessed by everyone whenever they need it. Updating it, referring to it and distributing it regularly will help keep customer satisfaction and the objectives you set at the front of your employee’s minds.
5. Agree on performance targets linked to those objectives.
This leadership culture can be further compounded if you work with your employees to set their targets rather than have them set for them on their behalf. By taking an active role in setting out their key responsibilities, your employees will feel self-motivated and accountable.
Use metrics that are easily understood and easy to measure so employees know exactly what they are working towards and why.
Many companies implement a Reflect-Plan-Develop (RPD) process as means of engaging employees and meeting individual professional and business goals. RPD is a collaborative, self-appraisal approach where the employee is involved in setting their own performance targets and identifying training requirements that will enhance their delivery to customers.
6. Recognise and reward good performance.
Good work deserves recognition, so make sure employees are rewarded if and when they hit their customer loyalty targets.
For this to be effective, however, it’s important to acknowledge that different things motivate different people as incentivising staff is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ process. Taking the time to understand if an employee actually wants to spend time away from their family to eat out with ‘the team’ may not be the best incentive for some and may not have the desired effect on their output. A bit of homework to learn more about your workforce and their personal preferences could really pay off.
7. Correct poor performance through personal development training.
Addressing and looking for ways to improve poor performance is an absolute must if you want to get employees involved in reaching customer loyalty objectives.
With customer loyalty hinging on providing a consistent service, you want every employee to reach a certain standard and this is where training comes into play.
For instance, field workers may be highly experienced at their job, but they may not be trained well enough to work effectively to the policies you’ve set them. Look back at your training processes, procedures and resources. Do you have an adequate system that will flag-up and drive the training and development requirements of your team?
8. Actively encourage your field workers to identify opportunities for improvement.
As a service-based company you have a distinct advantage over product-based businesses: your employees come into direct contact with customers on a regular basis.
Creating a remote worker feedback reporting policy can help you capitalise on this valuable insight so provide them with the tools they need to quickly log updates into a central client portal. Other departments and decision-makers will be able to access this central source of insight and respond accordingly to keep service-levels and satisfaction maintained.
9. Work Consistently.
Finally, develop a customer-focused client management system that’s easy for your team to access and follow the same process, guidelines and procedures each time. If your team is familiar with Microsoft products such as Outlook, word and Excel then we recommend considering Microsoft Cloud solutions such as SharePoint or Microsoft Dynamics 365, which will seamlessly integrate with your existing systems. This can also help you to reduce costs as many of the out-of-the-box features can be tailored to your processes saving on expensive custom development.
Download our guide. Get in touch.
If you’d like to know more about improving consistency and building customer loyalty at your firm, download our free guide. It’ll provide you with more helpful guidance and tips into building, implementing and maintaining a customer loyalty management system in your business as a way of making your business life better. Alternatively, please contact us to help you get your customer loyalty programme underway. Call us on 01634 505100.
Graham Tarrant is business management solutions consultant at EcoBytes. He uses his expertise in ISO 9001 and business management systems to improve customer loyalty for his clients, with the intention of making their business lives better.