Five Questions About Customer Loyalty

The longer your customers stay with you, the more valuable they tend to become. But getting them to stay can be problematic – defection is more likely to occur just after the first purchase than at any other time. So how can you turn your first-time buyers into repeat business? Here we address five common questions about customer loyalty.

1. Why do customers defect after their first purchase?
– First-time customers are “triers” – they’re looking for confirmation that they made the right buying decision. If their experience isn’t what they expected or they have problems after the sale, they’ll likely regret their decision and won’t be back.

2. How can we cultivate customer loyalty after their first purchase?
– Track every step at which your business ‘touches’ your customers. When they experience every contact with you as seamless, they feel appreciated and reassured.

3. Do the different purchasing channels available offer opportunities to build customer loyalty?
– Absolutely. Research has shown that the more channels you offer – e.g. toll-free numbers, websites, and stores – the more loyal your customers will be. Coordinating these channels also gives you the opportunity to monitor and evaluate your customer’ experiences.

4. Does frequent follow-up contact with customers risk annoying them?
– Definitely. Systematic follow-up is essential, but you need to make sure your adding value each time you contact them. Your goal is to make them feel glad they took the time to speak with you or read your letter.

5. What do buyers value most about their relationship with a business?
– Put simply, they value reliability – that you provide what you promise, and responsiveness – that you’re willing to help them and provide prompt service. Keep in touch with their perceptions of responsiveness – and aim to exceed them.