The secret to the success of a business primarily lies in its ability to attract and retain its customers. Any good trader understands that 80% of the business originates from 20% of his/her customers. It is therefore essential for any business to develop an effective customer loyalty strategy that will not only attract new customers and retain them, but also ensure the continued survival of the business. Often, it is more costly to attract new customers than it is to retain old ones. Thus, the correct strategy will definitely payoff if applied right.

An effective customer loyalty strategy should aim at leaving a lasting impression in the mind of any customer: to the new one-a reason to come back again; to the returning one- a reason not to leave again; and to the regular one- a reason why that business is their choice for all time.

One recommended strategy is adopting good customer loyalty programs ranging from coupons to promotions. You can even go further and provide additional credits for only members of a program. You can also keep a historical record of various products in your business. This ensures that product or service is always available for those repeat customers. Keep your customers posted on upcoming opportunities, especially on new products or services.

In a world filled with electronic and technological opportunities, ranging from telephones wide screen televisions, to internet facilities, the customer has a variety of sources from which to obtain information about a service or product. Yet, in spite of all these advancements, a business does well to retain the good old-fashioned people communication skills. A customer feels more appreciated through direct interaction with someone else over a product, service, or even just to discuss a problem. Thus, personal interaction with your customers is an essential customer loyalty strategy to take up. You can do this by taking time to learn their names, faces and contacts, their history with the business (especially for repeat customers), and appraising them constantly. This leaves a greater impression than a billboard or coupon ever will.

For effective people communication, another effective customer loyalty strategy is the organizing of sales training seminars from time to time for your employees. Such seminars for employees are, not only geared at equipping them with the essential people skills, but also empower them to handle any situations that may arise with the customer and make the right decisions. Alongside customer loyalty, is the issue of employee loyalty. A businessperson that is loyal to his employees is in turn rewarded by employees that are positive and secure about their jobs, who in turn pass on the same loyalty to the customers.

Keeping the business growing and improving is also an important customer loyalty strategy. You can achieve this by establishing feedback with your regular customers on ways of improving product and service delivery to them. In this way, the customer feels part and parcel of the business. Ultimately, more than new or returning customers, loyal customers are a worthwhile asset; they are a walking, talking, and interactive ad for your business.

Author's Bio: 

David Steel is one of the nation’s leading experts on the topic of Sales Motivation. He’s a popular and widely recognized author and motivational speaker who works with businesses and individuals as a sales management consultant, offering insights into hiring, compensation, goals and strategies, and teaching the use of sales management strategies to build and maintain highly aggressive sales teams.