Edition 27

Consumer Loyalty

24th November 2010 By Bailey Shoemaker Richards no comments

One of the most important things any company can do to help ensure its survival is invest in practices that create consumer loyalty and good customer service is the foundation on which businesses can build satisfactory relationships with clients.

Creating an environment that is friendly and welcoming for customers, provides the goods and services they need in a timely manner and operates in a way that is convenient for the customer is a model any business should use.

Customer Loyalty and Customer Satisfaction

Creating customer loyalty begins with companies that invest time and effort into making sure customers leave interactions feeling a sense of satisfaction, whether it’s because they received a good deal or were able to resolve an issue.  Satisfied customers are more likely to return to the business, spend more money there and encourage others to do business there as well. Whether it’s a retail business or a restaurant, any company should work toward creating consumer loyalty.

Customer service is the most important part of building strong relationships with customers. Employees are the human face and voice of the company, and a bad experience can drive customers away. Investing in customer service training and education should be of primary importance to business owners and managers. There are many ways to teach employees how to greet and help customers, as well as how to solve problems.

Customer Service Education – Employee Training

Training employees in proper customer service can involve extended training sessions, especially for new employees. Customer service education helps to set up defined expectations for employee behavior, including models of greeting and aiding customers, learning the chain of command among employees and creating a team of employees with a shared goal.

Employee training should focus on generating a positive atmosphere and setting clear goals for employees. Additionally, managers and supervisors should receive training in conflict management to help mitigate disputes between employees, as well as deal with customer problems.

Managers and supervisors should also engage directly in ongoing customer service education by monitoring and rewarding positive interactions with customers, problem-solving and hard work. Holding regular meetings to discuss problems and answer questions is a good time to publicly commend employees who are performing well.

Have employees develop a mission statement or an employee motto that can be displayed behind a counter or in the break room. Develop a mission statement that focuses on building relationships, providing good service and creating a positive atmosphere for employees and customers alike. Creating an employee motto is a simple way to provide concrete reinforcement of the customer service training sessions and remind employees of the attitude required in creating a successful business.

Building Customer Loyalty – Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Establishing customer loyalty is one of the most important parts of engaging in customer service training and education. Good employees will help to draw customers back to a business for its products and services, and ensuring that each experience is positive will help keep individuals using the business on a regular basis.

Encourage customers to leave feedback on their experiences to help determine if there are any areas of customer service that are lacking. Online customer satisfaction surveys are easy to set up and use, and providing a venue for communication between the customers and the business is a simple way to build trust and loyalty. The feedback given in satisfaction surveys can also highlight areas of the business that are performing especially well.

Benefits of Social Networking for Businesses

Companies that use social networking and use it well are able to generate brand loyalty and consumer loyalty, as well as invest in direct communication with customers and connect with potential customers. Outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide real-word and real-time interaction with customers and other businesses, making them ideal tools. Social networking can also humanize a company and give it a more personalized feeling for shoppers.

Customers can communicate directly with the company through comments on Facebook and Twitter, as well as receive individual replies to their questions. This is a simple but effective way to create trust in the company, and encourage consumer loyalty. Customers who feel as though they have direct influence and communication with a company may be more likely to shop there in the future.

Building customer loyalty starts from the ground up. Creating a solid, well-informed team of employees who know how to ensure each customer has a positive experience is a basic way to keep customers satisfied and coming back to the business. Expanding customer service into social networking and direct communication with consumers is a way to embrace the technology that many of today’s shoppers have at their fingertips, and get them invested in interactions with the company.

About the author: Bailey Shoemaker Richards

 

 

Bailey Shoemaker Richards is a senior creative writing major at Ohio University and a seasoned writer for both print and online publications. Additionally, she is the editor and publisher of the literary journal Leaves & Flowers and an editor for the journal Line Zero

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