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The Loyal Customer
Gaining a loyal customer will have a large, positive impact on your business. Loyal customers have some defining traits, and each company should develop qualities that will reflect those of the customer. If you can gain loyal customers, you will be successful as a business because you always have their support.
Defining the Terms
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines being loyal as: "Having or showing complete and constant support for someone or something. It also implies a firm resistance to any temptation to desert or betray." So what does it mean to be a loyal customer?
Loyalty Research provides a great definition: "Loyalty can be defined as a customer continuing to believe that your organization's product/service [offering] is their best option. They take that offer whenever faced with that purchasing decision." They believe that your product is better than your competition's product. A loyal customer sounds pretty good, right? They are most definitely good. Loyal customers have many different traits, which traits are mostly influenced by your company and the way you treat and interact with them.
Traits of a Loyal Customer
Someone Who Loves to Learn
A loyal customer begins as someone who does their research. They have searched and searched the internet to find the perfect _____ (product/service). They don't give up when at first they can't find what it is they are looking for. Learning is important to them, so they love whatever information they find along the way on their journey of discovery. Gaining this information and then sharing it with others is the way they function.
Desires a Personal Relationship
Due to all of the research that the loyal customer has done, they feel like they know your company personally. They want to feel that way. They will look up reviews and articles that have been written about you. They will try out every aspect of your company and what it offers. If you sell hats, they will buy one of every color. This is because they want to know everything there is to know about you.
Support can be shown in a variety of ways by a loyal customer. It is a defining factor of loyalty. Loyal customers will always support you, no matter what. This means that they will buy from you over and over again, and the price won't matter to them. Going out of their way to purchase your products or services won't be an issue for them. It also means that they won't buy from anyone else.
Food for Though: Loyalty Cards Don't Create Loyal Customers
What Traits Your Company Should Have to Gain A Loyal Customer
Stay Ahead of Your Competition
Knowing that a loyal customer is someone who does their research, it's important that you do your research as well. Pay attention to the things your competition does that work for them. Also, watch for things that don't necessarily work for them. You can learn a lot about what you can do to be successful based on what your competition is doing. You must know how to provide the best product or service in your industry. Before you even launch your company, you should have already done research about what product or service would heal a customer's pain point. All of this knowledge will help you to know how to gain a loyal customer.
Build A Trusting Relationship
Your loyal customer is doing everything they can to learn all there is to know about your company. In return, you should be doing all you can to gain their trust and treat them as an individual. Reach out to all customers and get to know them personally. Never send your customers canned responses. Communicate with them as human beings and don't sound like a robot in your emails or phone calls. Go with the flow to find a way to connect with them. Doing all of these things will gain their trust, and therefore, will fulfill their desire to have a personal relationship with you.
With all of the support a loyal customer shows you, there are many ways you can support them as well. Make sure to always be there for your customers. Always be available by email, chat, or phone. Answer any questions or concerns they may have. You might even consider creating a loyalty program, in which they receive points or discounts because of all the support they give you. If you manage and then exceed their expectations, they will feel that support from you. According to BILT, "When customers expectations are exceeded, they tell friends. Not only will you maintain your current customers, you will also receive new customers that already have a positive image of you." They will tell all their friends and family about your company.
A loyal customer will be the life of your business. They will choose your company, always stick with and support your company, and will tell others about it. If you have loyal customers, you will be successful as a business.