1. Understand what makes your clients happy.
To have happy customers, you first need to understand what drives their happiness. Do they like the perceived value of a sale? Do they prefer the actual value of a well-made product? Do they want your storefront to have longer hours or more variety on the shelves? The most effective way to find out what makes your customers happy is to survey them.
Companies such as SurveyMonkey allow you to create free customized surveys with up to 10 questions and 100 participants. If you want to ask more questions or survey more clients, you can buy one of SurveyMonkey’s plans, which start at $17 per month.
2. Create more value than the competitors.
If your product or service is inferior to the competition, your clients will go there. To keep your clients, you need to provide them with value that the competition doesn’t provide. Essentially, value is the intersection of contribution and cost. The more you give and the less your client pays for it, the more value you have created. This doesn’t always mean lowering your prices, however. Sometimes, it simply means providing more to your customers.
Consider whether you can entertain your clients, teach them something new or help them with a difficult task. If you have a clothing store, provide personal shoppers to make the experience easier. If you have a restaurant, provide education about where the food is sourced from to build value. If you have an online store, offer your clients education and entertainment value through your blog. If you run a contracting company, simplify the invoice process so that your clients don’t have to sift through paper mail. The more they value your services, the more loyal and happy they will be.
3. Invest in your most valuable clients.
While it might be tempting to give a coupon or a free service to the customer who is complaining, you need to invest where it makes the most sense. Your return clients and your big spenders are your most valuable assets, and they are where you need to invest. Take their needs and demands more seriously than the rest of your client base, and build products that will impress them.
4. Leverage your client’s loyalty.
After you provide your long-term customers with additional value, leverage their loyalty to create a buzz around your company, suggests OpenForum.com. If you can convince your loyal clients to tweet your praises or post online reviews, that marketing can be invaluable. Consumers are much more likely to believe personal anecdotes than they are to buy into corporate marketing schemes.
5. Keep trying.
If you try something to make your customers happy and it doesn’t work, you need to keep trying. Conrad Hilton, the founder of the vastly successful Hilton Hotels, once said, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
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