[tweetmeme source=”LessonsInBiz” only_single=false]Maintaining a good relationship with customers is vital to business. This is one aspect that small businesses can take directly to the bank. So how exactly can a small business owner ensure customer loyalty? One doesn’t need to have a degree in psychology to analyze what your customers want. It’s as basic as putting yourself in their shoes. We have all been customers. We patronize specific foodchains, stores and yes, even websites. Something about a certain retailer earns our loyalty that we keep coming back.

  1. It is not just about the product, it is how you offer it. If you’re living in a far-off town and you’re the only one which offers a certain product, customers would flock to your door because can provide them with what they want and what they need. But sooner or later, you would have a competitor. Somebody else could fill that need and the question you should ask is: where would that leave you if the product alone is the reason why your customers stay? It is what I call, false loyalty or customer loyalty that’s based on the product or service that’s not available anywhere else.
  2. Service with a smile always works. How many times have you walked into a store and walked right out after you’ve seen a clerk who you saw frowning? Would you still buy from that retailer knowing that their employees are not happy with what they’re doing? We operate on that assumption even though we understand that there might be some mitigating factors at play why we aren’t welcomed warmly and courteously.
  3. Business owners doesn’t need to bend over backwards just to please a certain customer. The fact is, it’s the effort that counts. Say a certain customer has a complaint against a product, service or even an employee. He or she might be frustrated, irked to no end or probably even combative, depending on their mood that day. If what the customer is asking isn’t really feasible, just make sure that you empathize with them and offer them an alternative solution, a compromise that would work for the company and for the customer.
  4. Any relationship is based on trust so you have to ensure that your business’ reputation isn’t going to be tainted with issues that you could have prevented in the first place. Anyone who has been a customer in some business establishment wants to feel that they are valued and appreciated. Earning their trust and keeping it makes for a great recipe to a customer-centric business.

It is not easy to run a business. Neither is it easy to keep. But with a great following of patrons, it is most likely that you don’t have to file for bankruptcy. You also have to remember that word of mouth is a very powerful marketing strategy. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.