Customer loyalty is just another way of talking about repeat customers or repeat business. As small business owners, customer loyalty is vital to our company’s survival. The same people that come back to us time and again are also the people that introduce their friends, family and colleagues to our business. They are the same people that help us reach new customers every day with word-of-mouth advertising.

Every small business needs a cadre of loyal customers. Getting them doesn’t require bribery or black magic. In fact, it takes just the opposite. Customers reward honesty and integrity with their loyalty. All you have to do is exercise a little common sense and possess a willingness to treat people right. By doing these simple things, you can work to build a loyal customer base for your business and your brand.

Use a Suggestion Box

Place a suggestion box in a prominent location within your store, on your company website, or both. One of the best ways you can win over your customers is to respect their ideas and suggestions. If you have a suggestion box, review the suggestions on a regular basis, and do your best to meet your clients’ wishes.

Make Personal Contact a Priority

Whether you are communicating face-to-face, over the phone or online, personalize the communication and let your customers know that you value them as individuals. Smile frequently, call them by name, keep their favorite items in stock, or send them a personal note when you have something you think they might be interested in.

Hire Great Employees

Customers appreciate caring and considerate staff. When you come across an employee who is a hit with your customers, do everything within your power to keep that person on staff. Your customers will love you for it.

Respond Promptly to Customer Communication

To the customer on the other end, your delayed response can be interpreted as ignoring their concerns. Return phone calls and emails promptly, even if you don’t have a complete answer yet. Sending a brief note or making a quick phone call acknowledges the customer’s communication and lets them know that you are working on it.

Make Life Easier for Your Customers

Whether it’s cutting back on paperwork or making your website more intuitive and user-friendly, customers will respond favorably when you make things more convenient for them. If you’re not sure where to start, just ask!

Never Sacrifice Your Credibility

If you make a promise, you absolutely must follow through 100% of the time. Be transparent with your clients and be absolutely clear about the benefits of your product or service without embellishing. As the saying goes: under-promise and over-deliver.

By focusing on putting your clients and customers first, you can build those long-lasting relationships that are vital to the long-term stability and success of your small business.

What tips for building customer loyalty would you add to the list?

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