Creating Customer Loyalty

Creating customer loyalty is number one in building your business. If you find yourself continually searching for your next prospect and forgetting to engage with your current customer base you may spend a lot of time spinning your wheels.

It is much easier and more effective to invest your time in creating customer loyalty with your existing customer base than it is to convert new visitors into customers. If you find yourself passively waiting
for return business to magically appear then you need to come up with a solid plan for warming the hearts of your audience.

It is all about momentum, trust, creating value, knowing your customers and, of course,  simply showing up. Being there consistently builds trust and keeps you and your product in the forefront. Here are some tips for creating customer loyalty in a way that feels authentic to you and your customers.

7 Tips for Creating Customer Loyalty

1) Get to Know Your Customers - Get to know what your customers like what their names are and what kind of purchases they have made in the past. Keeping a customer file where you can make notes on conversations colour preferences and special requests is an excellent idea. A spreadsheet is a great way to keep this information organized and contact information at your fingertips.

2) Share a Little - Sharing a little information about what has meaning for you and how that translates into your work is a great way to create engagement with your customers. Consider making a quick two minute video that you can share via email, on your blog or your website.

A video about your craft process or what inspired your new designs is an excellent way to include your customers in what you do. Getting your customers to be a part of your creative experience is an easy way of naturally creating customer loyalty.

3) Offer Value - Make your buying customers feel valued by offering them special promotions such as a sneak peek at new designs, a gift with purchase, free shipping with minimum purchase or a dollar off
coupon for their next purchase. Let your customers know that they are special and that only a select few are receiving your special offer.

4) Provide Excellent Customer Service - Go beyond good customer service and create an experience that will leave your customers feeling as though they just visited a high-end hotel. Think of your customers as though they are royalty when they visit your booth at a show, when you chat with them on the phone and anytime you connect with them online.

The next time you visit a luxury establishment, whether you are there as a customer or simply to observe, take in the atmosphere and see if you can replicate that experience in your own way. Analyze how they welcome and interact with their customers. Creating customer loyalty starts with the atmosphere... the greeting, the aesthetics and the exceptional service.

5) Be Consistent - Make yourself a schedule for sending out emails to your customers. If you cannot commit to emailing often then at least try to make it a regular monthly mailing that customers can come to expect every first Tuesday of the month or whichever day you choose. This gives your customers the feeling of stability and reliability.

6) Make Sure There are No Strings Attached - Don't train your customers to expect that every email from you comes with a price tag. In other words, make your emails meaningful and don't always ask your customers to buy. The bulk of your mailings can be about creating a connection and sharing. Intersperse those emails with your offers and promotions.

7) Ask Questions - Now that you have shared a little part of yourself with your customers don't be shy to ask a few questions. Whether it is on Facebook, in person or in your emails, get your customers involved and interactive. The more you show interest in your customers, the more they will feel a part of what you have to offer. Find out their likes, dislikes and get their input on some of your new design ideas.

What I learned from the salesperson at my local
dollar store about creating customer loyalty....

It's amazing how you can pick up customer service tips just by being an observant customer. When I was in line at my local dollar store I couldn't help but notice that the salesperson had learned a very clever technique for keeping the line moving smoothly.

Often customers would tie up the line by organizing their change, receipt and multiple bags right there at the cash. This would create a delay in serving the next customer.

The salesperson could have made it awkward or unpleasant by asking the customer to move aside for the next customer. This would create a feeling of, "I'm done with you so move out of the way for the next customer... who is more important than you right now."

Instead she devised a system where she would pick up all the bags of purchases and put it next to the cash on the other side and she would say, in a warm and hospitable voice, "I'll put these over here so you can take your time to get organized" and she would smile.

It may sound stupid simple, but there was a complete air of high-end hospitality when she did this. She managed to turn around a situation that could be, day in and day out, annoying and she turned it into a
positive experience that left customers feeling looked after and cared for. It made her job easier, and the dollar store seem pretty darned professional.

I let her know how impressive her system was and how she really managed to draw the best out of people. She still works at the dollar store and frankly I think that she should be working somewhere where her talents would be better recognized. I am thoroughly in awe of her ability to make the work environment positive in the way that she does.

With this little technique, she taught me about how to always make a customer feel looked after, even when you are facilitating your own needs and the needs of other customers. It is this kind of thoughtful and uplifting attention that is essential in creating customer loyalty.

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