The single most important thing you can do for your business is to get to work building true customer loyalty, one customer at a time.
Stop fiddling with your pricing, stop tinkering with your technology, stop fishing for likes on Facebook. And start engaging with your customers one on one: Checking on them, hearing what they have to say, letting them know that their business matters to you, and that they matter to you.
Because everything changes when a customer becomes loyal. To the truly engaged customer, you are the only business in your category — the only shop in your particular marketplace. All the other brands and all the other vendors don’t even come into focus. Like someone in love, the loyal customer only has eyes for you.
At its root, creating loyal customers is about taking the time to learn about your customers individually and then systematically turning that knowledge into enduring business relationships. In doing so, you turn your offering into much more than a commodity—you turn it into a personal relationship.
The primary threat to a business today is the perception by customers that all you offer is a replaceable, interchangeable commodity. This hazard stalks your every move: No matter how solid your business’s advantages may appear right now, whether they are advantages of technology, geography, or branding, eventually your business model is going to be knocked off. And, in this era of accelerating change, it will likely happen sooner than you think.
Escape this threat of commoditization by creating enduring, loyal, human relationships with customers. It’s the surest way to escape market obsolescence.
The payoff is huge. A company of any size can build wealth and stability through customer loyalty. Businesses with loyal customers grow faster than others when times are good, and they have the most breathing room when times are bad. And that can make all the difference.
The reward isn’t only financial. As you begin building customer loyalty, you’ll find that your pride in your profession, your integrity, and your ability to build positive relationships (at work, and even in your own home) will also bloom. This happens naturally, because the process of earning loyalty involves caring about your customers, respecting them, and thinking constantly about their needs.
Spending this time being deeply attentive will tone your personality. Building customer loyalty will require your hard work and thoughtfulness, but it is under your control: While so many aspects of business are out of your control—exchange rates, international tension, technological changes—the single most important process, creating loyal customers, is in your own hands.
Source : forbes.com