It is said that the strength of a brand is measured in the loyalty of its customers. Of course, the most tangible results of such loyalty are likely to be sales growth, store expansions and continuous product demand in your local market.
But the first question comes like this, “How can I start building customer loyalty with my brand?” Here are some practical steps we can take, an excerpt from an article of Entrepreneur.com:
1. Let customers know what you are doing for them. Continually keep your customers updated about the whereabouts of the business. Keep them informed about the great things you are making and doing that serves the best for them. May it be through a newsletter, text blast, or phone calls, no matter what media you’ll be using, the important thing is you keep them in the loop of every service improvement you are to provide.
2. Keep it personal. Best way to really relate to your customers is making them feel as if they’re the only customers you have. It’s being able to build first-name-basis type of relationships. In this way, you are remembered not just as a business owner, but a companion.
3. Consider follow-up calls business development calls. Business as usual. Never forget that in trying to build customer relationship, you are actually handpicking brand loyalists that will eventually help you grow your business through referrals and best, branching out. In franchising, most franchisee applicants are actually loyal customers of that specific brand or business.
The important thing for business owners to understand is that every customer is a customer. Big, small and middle type customers deserve to have the same attention, as they are all building blocks that keep your business thriving. However, it is not a concrete guarantee that whatever opportunities we can get from a big customer, can also be received from a small customer. Opportunities vary based on personal networks and/or standard of living.
Talking about opportunities, let me share with you some secondary benefits you get with strong customer loyalty, aside from measurable metrics in sales and product demand:
1. Free Advertising: Most growing businesses wouldn’t tell you about growth in sales by doing special promotions or paying expensive above-the-line advertising. They would probably tell you a story of how a loyal local customer told their friends about a small food kiosk, settled in an unnoticeable garage, 3 blocks away from the main road, that is satisfyingly good in taste and value for money.
2. Considerate response to some changes made in the business. Your loyalists would definitely ask you about the P5 increase in your bestseller or if that bestseller goes out of your menu. But if they are your true fans, they get to feel that that insensitivity to changes as long as these changes are justified in means of product and service quality. As the saying goes, “They will still love you, no matter what.”
3. Innovation. Loyal customers are about getting everything they want in one spot. Most customers are like stakeholders who suggest things, or products, which would make your business, grow more. And then again, it’s all about the sales benefit. Moreover, the feeling of them being heard and considered to your business decisions is priceless.
An example of business success from strong customer loyalty is with a local lechon manok (roast chicken) kiosk in Marikina. INIHAUZ started March 2003, and the pile of customers lining up for its distinct aroma and taste. Their loyal patrons are the main proponents of branch and product expansions. Soon enough, the inquiries for franchising came in and after consulting with experts, INIHAUZ is now open and continually expanding through franchising.
A quote from long ago tells us that it takes a month to build customers and just seconds to lose one. A strong growing business is growing strong with its customers.
For franchising of INIHAUZ, contact 6340586 or 09178816999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
Sam Christopher Lim is the senior vice-president for marketing & strategy at Francorp Philippines. He has over a decade of global marketing experience from Bangkok, Shanghai and most recently London. He is a multi-awarded marketer who graduated with distinction from Oxford University and was awarded with the Young Market Masters award. He is also currently Chair for ASEAN integration for the Philippine Franchise Association