80% Of Your Income Will Come From 20% Of Your Customers,
arguably the Internet has given us more choice than ever before about whom we decide to do business with.

Or otherwise.

And even if you don’t currently trade online, if you’re in business you’ll almost certainly have a website where prospective customers can check you out before deciding to put some business your way.

Once you have your customers on board, the trick is keeping them happy.

Here are six top tips for encouraging customer loyalty to your brand:

1. Go the Extra Mile.

Going the extra mile is one of the best ways to generate goodwill and cement loyal relationships between you and your customers. Though ‘going the extra mile’ is a generic term, it generally involves listening to your customers, empathizing with them, and offering viable solutions to their problems and requests. This will more than likely involve extra effort on your part, but it should not cost you much more. And consider the potential for gain.

2.Motivate Staff and Boost Moral on a Daily Basis.

If you own a business you may think no-one could possibly as interested in its success as you are. However, dissatisfaction amongst staff can destroy a business, resulting in a large turnover of employees and diminished productivity. You need to strive for a tight-knit community of loyal staff. Think of the John Lewis ‘Partnership’, where staff are not merely employees, but partners in the business.

As a small business, it may not be practical for you to use profit-sharing as a means of motivation, but there are other ways your staff can share in the success of your company. For example, you could consider introducing bonuses for targets achieved, or invest in staff training, perhaps involving your staff in their preferred choice of training courses.

Keep your people happy and they will do the same with your customers.

3.Innovate (whilst keeping the ‘tried and tested’ front of mind).

Nick Jenkins, the founder and chairman of the online card and gift company ‘Moonpig’, regularly talks about the company’s need to ‘freshen things up’ in order to encourage repeat business. Jenkins concedes that half the battle is knowing which bestselling products to keep and when to introduce the new stuff for best effect. He says it’s vital to strike a fine balance between current and new lines.

4.Monitor Customer Feedback and Invite Complaints.

Set up a system to monitor feedback and reward customers for doing so. It can be as simple as offering loyalty points for money off future orders, or being entered into a prize draw. The worst thing a dissatisfied customer can do for your business is not to complain, because you won’t have the chance to make amends before they take their custom elsewhere. Consumer research consistently shows that when complaints are resolved to customers’ satisfaction, those customers frequently go on to become amongst that company’s most loyal buyers.

5.Remind Customers What You Offer.

You need to communicate with your customers on regular basis, though not so often they get fed up with hearing from you! Newsletters, personalized emails and ‘Thank You’ cards are an excellent way to keep in touch with your customer base. They’re also a great way to maintain contact with potential suppliers and business partners.

6. Set Up As Your Own Competitor!

Perhaps you’re aware of a section of your customer base going elsewhere for a product or service you could easily incorporate into your present business.

Let’s say your business is running coach trips around the UK. Are there any specialist niches you could tap into as an extension of your current brand? For example, organizing transport for pop concerts and festivals . . . or romantic city breaks for couples . . . or seaside trips for pensioners. You get the idea. Of course, you could just as easily set this new niche business up as a separate entity, with its own unique identity. You could still incorporate it in your mailings, but make it specifically targeted towards your niche audience. Many new brands have begun life this way.

So remember the 80:20 rule when you’re dreaming up new ideas on how you can get more business from your customer base. Find innovative ways to keep your customers coming back for more and you’ll be doing a sterling job. Hopefully, they’ll tell their friends as well.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based internet marketing consultant providing an outsourced marketing service to business owners and company directors.