No business likes to lose customers to a competitor, so one of the most crucial assets of any sales manager is their ability to retain customers and ensure their continued loyalty. Thankfully, the techniques and strategies required for building and managing customer relationships and providing excellent customer service 'both of which are vital to customer loyalty' can be learnt. Maguire Training provides several excellent courses based around these subjects which provide sales and account managers with all of the knowledge and skills they require to exceed customer expectations and build lasting and profitable business relationships.
There are steps that sales managers and leaders can take now to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction which can later be supplemented with the fuller knowledge and skillset that formal training provides. Here, Maguire Training offers 7 simple steps that will improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.
Put the relationship before the sale Just because your customer may not want to buy anything from you right now, it doesn't mean you should forget about them or neglect them. Demonstrating to your customer that they mean more to you than sales alone and that you have their best interests at heart builds confidence and trust; with these established, sales will surely follow.
Spend time getting to know your customer's business and requirements
The more thorough your knowledge and understanding of the way a customer's business works and the challenges and problems they face, the better able you'll be to illustrate why your product or service is clearly the best option for helping them. The greater your familiarity with, and experience of, a customer's business you possess, the greater edge you will gain over competitors, meaning that your customer is likely to stay with you.
Stay in touch but don't spam
Periodically it's useful to remind your customers that you are there for them whenever they need you, but during periods when they genuinely have no requirement for your products or services it's best not to overwhelm them with calls, meetings, email, newsletters and other communication. It's far better, for example, to send a consolidated monthly newsletter than to send an individual mailshot or email for every single product update, press release or announcement.
Build a file for your customer and keep it updated Maintaining a detailed record of your relationship with a customer including meeting minutes, purchasing history, enquiries they've made and any changes to their business. A record of past behaviour can help you to predict future requirements and sales trends, allowing you to stay one step ahead of the customer and show that you can quickly and effectively address their needs as and when they arise.
Make sure you're on hand whenever your customers need you
A key contributor to customer satisfaction and loyalty is providing them the security of knowing that you are available and able to help them whenever needed. Making customer advisors, a sales team or account manager available through as wide a variety of communication media as possible (landline, mobile, SMS, email, social networks, live web chat etc.) and providing out-of-hours response where possible can be a make-or-break factor for customer loyalty.
Step into the customer's shoes After any kind of interaction with a customer, whether an account meeting or a full sales process, take time to evaluate your performance from the customer's perspective. Are there any aspects that you could have done differently or better? If you were the customer, would you be satisfied with the way things were handled? Could value have been added to the process? By taking the customer's point of view you may spot aspects of your performance that can be improved to increase satisfaction and loyalty.
Invite honest customer feedback and act upon it
The best way to gauge a customer's likelihood of conducting long-term business with you is to ask them for their feedback. By finding out what your customers like and don't like about your products or services and how they rate you against your competitors you can implement the necessary changes to address their needs and concerns and ensure that you give them no reason to leave you.
There are many more ways in which you can help to foster sound relationships with your customers and incentivise them to stay with your products and services in the long term. At Maguire Training we realise that business leaders, sales managers and their teams are busy people and don't always have the time to attend classroom-based business skills training. Thanks to our innovative E-learning platform we can provide comprehensive and flexible online training around providing excellent customer service, managing customer relationships and a host of associated competencies that are essential to securing customer loyalty.