Recently, I had an interesting discussion with a friend based on one important business phenomenon: What causes a person to shop in one place for years, sometimes driving, or walking out of their way to get to it, bypassing several shops selling similar products?
Ladies are known, for instance to travel miles and miles to get to a salon of their choice.
However, it’s not only ladies who exhibit this kind of loyalty. A quick reflection on myself, I discovered that except on rare occasions or when I had travelled, I fuelled my car in one station, I have had one mechanic for five years and for the last three years I have had my hair cut in one barbershop.
While the answer to the above question is summed up in three phases: Content builds relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust leads to sales. This is the magic formula for success in getting repeat business and loyal customers.
Content is the substance or product on sale. Once you have a great product you have to look for prospects, people who have a need that can be met by your product and have the ability and willingness to pay at your offering and turn them into customers.
Once your customers are happy they will come back. They will continue coming as long as they have not discovered someone else offering the same product with the same terms or better.
What will make them stick with you is if you seize the moment and go beyond a mere relationship.
The relationship is good but not enough to make them go out of their way, sometimes enduring inconveniences just to reach you. The determining factor is trust. Your relationship should lead to trust.
How do you build trust? Trust is build through a number of ways. They include reliability, honest and value, consistency, care and genuine understanding of their needs.
The more people trust you the more they will buy from you. In a world full of lies people buy only from those whom they trust.
Trust is very hard to build but very easy to destroy. This is one reason why every business must guard its brand and culture jealously and stay close to customers so that they can know what is happening.
One of the greatest missteps of most business is delegating the entire responsibility of dealing with customers to customer care department or few employees who deal directly with customer. Sometimes such employees are hard pressed to meet targets that they have no time to engage the customer or consider their relationship beyond the monthly target.
The function of building trust must come from the top and cascade to the junior-most employee. Customers need to be assured that they are understood and cared for not just because of their money. This creates a sense of belonging that breeds loyalty.