Making a sell can be tough, and now that everyone is online and bombarded with marketing campaigns it’s getting tougher. Persuading someone to try a brand new product is a major challenge. That’s why it’s so important to hang on to the customers you have and make sure they continue to purchase from you, whatever the competition may be offering.
Maintaining customer loyalty is much easier if you have made the right impression and you keep reinforcing it. Let’s examine what that involves.
The All-Too-Easy Way to Make a Lasting Impression
Remember that bad customer service usually leaves a negative impression, one that is almost impossible to erase. Even if your customer service is adequate but nothing to write home about, this will do little to create that favorable impression you want.
It’s preferable to follow the lead of companies like Southwest Airlines for whom customer service is a top marketing tactic that yields impressive results. As a result, Southwest is renowned in the business world and among its customers for its stellar customer service practices.
Impressing From The Get-Go
From a prospective customer’s very first contact with your company, even before customer service can swing into action, you need to make a good first impression. Much of that may come from the Internet, through your company website or in an electronic newsletter. Great web design can create an impressive image of the company, but its effect is fleeting. Contact with human representatives of your company either face-to-face or by direct mail will have a much stronger effect, and this can be even more powerful with the right sales aids (or sales collateral). It starts with a business card. Make sure it is of high quality and can be delivered with pride. Company brochures or product catalogs should reflect that same quality.
You want to develop a trusting relationship with that potential customer, and every signal you send should confirm that your company deserves that trust. Hopefully that prospect will make the decision to become a customer and make a purchase. Everything involved in delivering that product should make the customer feel confident that they made the right choice. If so, you’re well on your way to creating a good impression in that customer’s mind.
Making an Indelible Impression
So far, so good. But never forget that last impressions count too.
What is the impression that stays with your customers when they leave your business or complete their transaction? What will be the memory that stays with them when they’re thinking about buying or booking again, telling their friends or colleagues, or telling the world on social media or review sites about their experience?
This is important because your satisfied customers can be more effective company enthusiasts than anyone in your company. You should do what it takes to let them know that they are appreciated. So reach out to them from time to time. Perhaps even send them a tangible reminder that you value them. You could send a holiday card or perhaps something they will keep around even longer, like a calendar or a company pen or mug.
- In all of this, the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” is important. So be creative. It’s not just about spending a great deal of money; it’s about getting your team to submit ideas on cost-effective ways to make that lasting impression. If you have an idea, talk to us about how we can help make your idea a reality.