Increased Profitability: The Result of Building Loyal Customers
Whether you represent your company or own your own, your chance for increased profitability comes from referrals and added business from loyal customers. Here are a few tips in creating good relationships with customers to work toward those results.
Customers normally evolve into loyal customers from multiple communications. Keep in mind that the more ways clients hear from you, and the more added value you bring to the table, the more likely they will remember you at the correct time.
All customers are interested in value propositions. A single strategy is normally not enough to develop loyal customers. You need to develop systems that create a path to increased levels of loyalty.
Customer satisfaction naturally evolves over a series of actions and interactions with your client and others who affect your client’s transaction. But satisfaction is not enough. One click of the mouse, or one phone call, and your satisfied customer just defected to a competitor.
Your goal is to focus continually on providing value to your customers for building and retaining loyalty.
Quality Customer Service
Customer service is your personal approach to how you interact with your clients. You should know what clients want—and deliver it in a timely manner. No one can “do” customer service for you—it is entirely up to you.
An example of expanding the scope of your customer service can be illustrated in a common real estate closing scenario.
In real estate, customers will interact with home service providers and various vendors who provide products and services after the home sale. If you were in real estate and were serious about retaining customers for future referrals, these customer interactions with providers and vendors would also matter, even well beyond the closing.
You should stay involved with those interactions and handle them with the same conscientious attention as sales calls. In essence, this attention is nothing more than “sales calls” for repeat business.
Be sure to establish a group of trusted service providers for homeowners, with the emphasis on trusted. These service providers could include: deck builders, chimney sweeps, electricians, plumbers, painters, landscapers, window companies, remodelers and more. Become the one-stop resource for your customers whenever they need help with their home.
Be pro-active and mail your customers a list to keep by their phone, but with only one phone number—yours.
There is one other strategy that many successful real estate agents use; one that others ignore or consider too much work. That is the strategy of staying active in the lives of existing customers.
I call this strategy “Being Nosey.”
A real estate agent I know was called by her client because the client’s garage door opener quit working. The real estate agent referred the client to a garage door company, and in the conversation, found out the neighbor was thinking of moving. The result was a new listing.
Another real estate agent discovered a lot owned by a client’s cousin was going up for sale. She learned this when her client called for a suggestion regarding a dependable painter.
Business owners and executives must always think beyond their own industry to provide added value to their customers on an ongoing basis. Providing more value than was expected by the customer can often lead to true loyalty, increased advocacy and repeat business.