Wednesday, 02 December 2015 15:13

4 Tips to Build Customer Loyalty

As in any business, maintaining a base of loyal customers is key for companies in the hardwood lumber industry. It is probably one of the most important objectives every business should have.

These statistics from the Direct Marketing Association illustrate the challenge:

  • Typically, businesses lose between 10-30 percent of their customers every year.Baillie Lumber customers
  • The costs of acquiring new customers averages six to seven times the expense involved in retaining existing ones.

What can you do to build on your current customer goodwill and keep them from straying elsewhere with their business? Here are four steps to keep in mind:

1. Provide ongoing product education. Think of yourself as a key resource. Educate your customers on the best uses of your product, best practices from your industry and be a resource for larger business issues in general. Creating and distributing value-added content shows your commitment to helping customers improve their businesses—a resource they might not easily find elsewhere.

2. Increase your “social listening.” In social media conversations, your customers are discussing your product and business, just as they do with competitors. By being aware and listening in, you’ll learn a lot about how your company is faring (again, the same with competitors).

Where appropriate, don’t hesitate to jump in and offer a helpful response to questions and comments. This demonstrates a sincere willingness to engage customers across multiple social media platforms and share your knowledge and expertise.

3. Broaden the range of communications. How do you reach out to your customers? Consider utilizing different ways to reach out to them. For example, provide your customers a newsletter, send them interesting relevant industry information, or perhaps include them in a digital customer survey every so often. Also, invite your customers to engage with your online content by commenting on your blog posts, online videos, case studies—all the content your customers receive.

The goal is expanding your relationships with a customer and his or her business. As business blogger Corey Eridon notes, this outreach effort means “you need to communicate with not just your point of contact, but also the influencers, decision makers, and other employees involved in executing your solution,” whether you have a personal relationship with them or not.

Broadening opportunities for dialogue, Eridon adds, increases the odds you’ll hear from “those C-suite decision makers you likely aren’t actively engaging with on a consistent basis.”

4. Take action on the feedback you receive. Feedback gathered will generate helpful suggestions on improving your relationship with your customers. If you take action on specific feedback or update your offering in any way requested by customers, be sure to let them know. This is the type of action that creates devoted brand advocates, who aren’t shy about letting others know about your responsive approach to product development.

The worst thing a company can do after gaining a new customer is to abandon further contact and focus its energies elsewhere. Customers, like sales prospects, must be continually nurtured, educated and given special attention whenever possible. That’s how they change from a one-time sales opportunity into long-time loyal followers of your brand.

What other tips do you have to enhance customer loyalty? What works for you? Let us know.

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.







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