Two Steps to Improved Customer LoyaltyWe’ve heard it all before – it costs a business more money to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. What separates your business apart from others? Better service and a better customer experience can contribute to greater customer loyalty. Is what makes your business different one of those three aspects of your business or a combination of the three? Here are a few simple steps you can take in each sector to increase customer loyalty.

Create Efficient Customer Service

Customer service isn’t limited to one communication channel. Customers are looking for a business who will respond to them in a timely manner, no matter how they choose to reach out. Your first step should be to ensure your business has a toll-free customer service number and support email address that is easily found on your site and product tagging. Customers expect a response from companies within an hour, especially when they are reaching out on social networks. However, the average response time is just about 13 hours. A Dimensional Research survey found that what makes a customer service interaction bad is having to explain a problem to multiple people (72%) followed by the problem not being resolved (51%).

  • Takeaway: Make sure that your customer service representatives receive great training on a regular basis so they can answer service questions in a timely manner the first-time, without having to hand off the call, chat or message.

Concern Yourself with the Customer Experience

The customer’s experience involves every single time they come into contact with your business. In-store or online, each touch point between you and customer needs to be taken into consideration. Harris Interactive and inContact conducted a survey in 2013 that found consumers are less likely to make buying decisions based on brand loyalty, and more likely to choose a company that offers personalized customer experience options. Personal experiences can make a difference and if you offer these up, you can draw in new customers while retaining those you’ve already earned. People talk about the service, experience and products they love… and hate. Be on the receiving end of the positive communications with personal touches in experiences your company offers.

  • Takeaway: You’re a business, but customers want a personal experience. Don’t let automation get in the way of showcasing all you have to offer to each individual customer.

As Henry Ford once said, “”A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” Loyal customers are created when a customer has a great experience and great service. The Dimensional Research survey found that customer service not only affects revenue, but has a long lasting impact as customer service is the number one factor influencing how much a consumer trusts a company. Both those who are just starting a new business and those who are looking to improve the success of their established business need to begin to pay attention to the service and experience they are currently offering.

And Finally, a Reminder…

April is Customer Loyalty Month. Use these tips to engage your sales team in the process of creating loyal customers.