Loyalty is everything in business. Losing it can break your career…just ask
Caesar. He had to deal with Brutus and a band of conspirators that eventuallylead to his death on the infamous “Ides of March
.” Now, nearly 2000 years after Caesar’s death, the consequences of distrust and lack of loyalty aren't so severe. Though when dealing with customers and clients in a business environment, loss of loyalty can mean a steep drop off in business and profitability.
Here are 4 steps of take to encourage loyalty and keep your customers coming back.
1) Keep Adding Value
If you think you can maintain the status quo and still grow, you’re mistaken! Innovation is key. Just ask Google, Facebook and Apple. Love or hate their products or ideas, they’ve always got something new. It’s no coincidence that the some of the country’s biggest companies are known, first and foremost, as innovators.
Here at M Force, we aren’t quite as big as Exxon or Apple, but we’re blessed with leaders who understand innovation. We’ve continued to develop things like video recruiting technology and pride ourselves in coming up with creative ways to solve problems for our clients.
2) Open Communication Channels
We’re well into the age of Social Media, and just about every business owner knows the importance creating a presence on any number of social networking sites. So much so, that your office social media evangelist will push for a presence on every new site (does our staffing company REALLY need a presence on Pinterest?). Visibility on all of these social channels is important, but it’s even more critical to be genuine, and not reactionary.
Here is a very basic model of communication. On the left is the Sender (your business) and on the right is the Receiver (your customer). Two important things to note:
This can include external noise, like unclear messages or distractions, or internal noise such as misconceptions about your business. Noise is always there and distracts (intentionally or unintentionally) from your original message)
Communication is TWO-WAY. Be mindful of any messages that come back to you from the receiver and remember they are also susceptible to noise.
The feedback message is where social media can really shine. Be open to receiving messages, comments and concerns via your social media outlets. This will help you engage with customers. People want to know that the companies, brands and people they follow are real. Pull back the curtain a bit and allow people to see the human beings behind your logo. Reply and interact. Keep the communication cycle going. That’s the true value of social media.
3) Accept Criticism and Address Concerns
It’s ok to mess up. We all do it. What matters most is how to deal with it. In the information age news travels fast. A bad review, comment or phone call can spread and grow within minutes. That’s why your response must as well.
When you respond don’t be condescending or mean. Remember, even if criticism is unjustified, a hostile response will only serve to amplify or justify the criticism. Long gone are the days where a company can just sweep a problem under the rug.
When you respond always be polite. If the problem arose on social media, try to address the concerns in a private email or phone call.
4) Reward Loyalty
Let your customers know you care. In the end, it all goes back to communication. And don’t be afraid to show them some love every once and a while. For some companies that might be incentives, coupons or deals. For a company like M Force, that doesn’t “sell” a traditional product, there are still plenty of ways to show our customers and clients we care! For example, we offer a “friends and family” discount for companies that work with our sister company, ModernTech
. We also offer free services like resume counseling and job search advice. Last but not least, we often times send gift cards to clients that send us referrals. Sometimes a little gesture can go a long way!