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Customer retention is always a concern for any business. After all, it’s usually much easier and far less costly to retain an existing customer than to cultivate a new one. Repeat business is essential for building your company brand and growing the enterprise. Here are six ways to build customer loyalty to keep them coming back time and time again.

1. Over-deliver.
Customers always appreciate getting a little extra, whether it’s earlier than expected delivery, a free bonus sample, or perhaps a discount coupon for their next purchase. Always focus on solving the customer’s problem first, but then kick it up a notch by giving them a special surprise.

2. Be flexible.
Customers sometimes have unique circumstances that prevent them from following your pre-defined policies. Do everything possible to resolve their issues, and always make an effort to see things from their perspective.

3. Be proactive.
If you happen to see that something strange is going on with their account, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and warn the customer. Not only will the client appreciate your concern, but you might also save both companies enormous amounts of time and money spent on resolving unwanted conflicts. Proactive resolution of potential problems is one of the primary objectives behind the Big Red Cloud accounting software.

4. Train employees thoroughly.
Companies that rely on on-the-job training methods are destined to lose customer loyalty. Train your employees thoroughly in-house before unleashing them on the client. Training sessions should be upbeat and positive to encourage employee engagement.

5. Educate your customers.
A common mistake that many organizations make is to post endless “Buy Now” posts on their social media accounts. Take the time to offer some free advice every once in a while. According to Forbes Magazine, companies that educate their customers tend to be far more successful than those that don’t.

6. Smile.
Smiles are contagious, even when they occur from the other end of a phone line. Even if you don’t like your job, the customer, or the product, a smile goes a long way. The old motto, “Fake it ‘till you make it” tends to be true. If you smile more, you also might begin to experience a rather positive change of mood, as well.

Customer retention is essential to the long-term viability of a company brand. By empowering your employees to treat customers the way that they would like to be treated, you simultaneously build brand loyalty among both customers and staff alike. And a company with a happy staff is always attractive to new and veteran customers.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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