How to saddle your business with loyal clients

or Why customer loyalty is critical to business success

December, 2006 Issue #12 Horse Business eZine – Joni Solis, Editor

The simple fact is that it is cheaper, easier, and more profitable to resell to your current customers than it is to gain new ones.

Did you know these scary facts…

It is 5 – 10 times more expensive to gain new customers than to keep your current ones!

Most businesses lose about fifty percent of their clients every five years.

Nearly 66% of those customers leave because of poor client care.

Your marketing strategies must aim at creating customer loyalty, not just pulling in new customers. This isn’t just something for large businesses be concerned about, and here is the good news, smaller businesses have the edge with greater flexibility and personalizing ability.

So where do you start with promoting customer loyalty? Well it starts with you and all of your staff placing your focus on meeting your clients needs.

Here are a few tips for you:

Communications (this is the main huge key!)

  • Develop company standards for info, courtesy, and speed when answering emails, letters, and phone calls.
  • Anyone in contact with clients needs access to all info required to serve your clients fast and efficiently.
  • Have answers to common questions ready to give out; post them on your website too.
  • Polish up on your communication skills and hire people with good skills in this area.
  • Stay in regular contact with your clients; newsletters.
  • Get your customers opinions before making significant changes in products and services.
  • Keep customers informed; notify them about any problems, delays, or changes in what they are expecting.
  • Make it easy customer to contact you; don’t hide away your contact info.
  • You can gain a competitive advantage by encourage complaints and take them seriously. They are a vital in helping you improve your business!
  • Personalize your communications as much as you can; no one likes to feel like a number. Check out ListMailPro.com for a great email list program; its is what I use and love.
  • Always keep the dialog open, positive, sincere and FOLLOW UP in a timely manner.
  • If you have a computerized phone system please give your customers a way to get to talk to a real live person.
  • Create a web site and give your customers the up to date detailed information they want and need.
  • The more your know about your clients the better able you can serve them, so give them feedback opportunities through simple surveys, conversations, meetings, and just plain asking.
  • Remember that complaints are just the tip of the iceberg; meaning that if you hear from one person that there are many more with the same complaint that you are not hearing from.
  • Show your top clients that you value them. Try to show that in every communication with them!

Research and Development

  • Research and learn as much as your can about your customers.
  • Learn why they buy from you; why you over your competition?
  • Spend time thinking of ways that you can make life easier for your customers, reduce inconveniences.
  • Successful companies anticipate, rather than just react to their client’s needs.
  • Discover the whens, where, hows, and whats about your clients buying habits; use this info to improve your products and services.
  • Challenge yourself to stay original and distinguish yourself from the rest of the herd.
  • Keep up way technology that makes your business run better; like databases, planning and organizing programs, and a good email list program.
  • Make sure to develop an area of expertise that differentiates you from the competition.

Do not forget theses…

  • Exceed clients’ expectations.
  • Don’t make promises your cannot keep and keep promises you make!
  • Pay extra attention to your best customers and the ones with something negative to say; you can learn a lot from both.
  • Have unique and professional looking company logo and slogan and use it on all your business marketing materials. A great logo can help you develop a brand that clients can identify with and feel good about it.
  • People like to deal with people that make them feel important; so invite your top clients to special events and/or send them appropriate gifts for the holidays.
  • Be honest, sincere, and accountable and when you make a mistake (you will; we all do) make it right with your customer even if it costs you money. You will loss more than one client if you don’t.

To sum it up:

If you place your client’s needs first and do things as professionally, speedy, and caring as possible and make this your business strategy you will gain loyal customers and maybe even a few lifetime friends.

— end of article —

— Learn to Sell —

Selling 101 for Equestrians – How to Quickly and Safely Sell Your Horse

Hot Tip of the Month – Listen to the leaders…

“In business, I’ve discovered that my purpose is to do my best to my utmost ability every day. That‚Äôs my standard. I learned early in my life that I had high standards.” — Donald Trump

“Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.” — Benjamin Franklin

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” — Brian Tracy

P.S. I have just added many NEW horse art ecards! Check out the new “Happy Holidays” category and you have to see super cute one I just added to the “Love” category. I want to personal thank Peter and Jeannine Wargacki of Paso Americana for that precious photo.

I would also like to thank the following people for the wonderful photos they shared…

Michael Bernstein at purplepony.com sent three great photos that are now posted in the “Wise Words” category.

And Anne Landers 3 photos are now posted in the “Happy Holidays”, “New Year” and “Wise Words”.

Chrissy Rochford of icuriding.com photo is in the “Christmas” category.

Joanna Robson of ravensburghvet.com sent in a wonderful photo of a Thailand temple rubbing showing three horses. It is listed under “Happy Holidays”.

If you have a favorite quote or wise words I would love to see it and maybe add it to one of the ecards. Horse Art eCards

Equine Greeting Cards; free to send ecards

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