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5 ways to turn Prospects into Loyal Customers

5 Ways to Turn Prospects into Loyal Customers

Vidya VenugopalanVidya Venugopalan | September 14, 2016

Getting prospective clients to show minimal interest in your business is itself tough work. Now, imagine how hard it would be it turn a prospect into a loyal customer. The prospect-to-loyal-customer route is something no business should take for granted as at any point along this journey, the prospect can stop doing business with you for even the vaguest reasons.

But if you’re keen and adamant on creating loyal customers, the first step is to convert a prospect into a customer before you start earning their loyalty. Loyal customers obviously become brand advocates, providing free word-of-mouth advertising, spending more and thereby improving your bottom line significantly.

The good news is that the measures you take to gain customer loyalty will also help you turn prospects into customers, and these measures usually revolves around customer satisfaction.

1. Always prioritize Human Engagement

A large percentage of customers end a business relationship because of a poor experience. The problem is that not many brands are aware of what constitutes a good experience. For example, you might find it surprising that in a world where social media is all the rage, people are desperate to connect and talk with a real person. Especially young consumers, despite their propensity to being dependent on tech.

Consumers are looking for human interaction, and if you can provide them with said interaction, you stand a much better chance of turning prospects into customers and then into loyal customers. Remember, an automated phone system might save you money in the short term, but letting a well-trained representative to interact with prospects and give them a clear understanding of your business will make prospects feel more comfortable about conducting business with you.

Once that personal connection has been made, though, you want to strengthen it. That’s the time to take to social media platforms so you can maintain the relationship and stay connected.

2. Ask for Feedback and Act on it

Collecting customer feedback is essential to ensuring that you stay connected with customers. However, it’s not enough to just collect it. You need to act on it. And the quicker you do, the more easily you will build customer loyalty.

In fact, one of the best ways to turn a prospect or a customer into a loyal customer is to solve a problem they are having, especially if it’s one that has caused a lot of frustration and aggravation. If you exceed their expectations in trying to solve their issue, they will be more than grateful because you are showing your brand cares about their feelings and that you want to make them happy. That goes a long way to building loyalty.

3. Walk a Mile in your Customer’s Shoes

To scrutinize the prospect-to-buyer path, you need to become a customer yourself. Instead of mindlessly going through the process, take note of everything you like and dislike about your interactions with various brands. Ask yourself what excites you the most about your favourite brand and what is it that made you fall in love with them in the first place. Try to replicate that within your business!

Along with customer feedback, your own personal experiences are a great way to improve the customer experience your brand is offering. Customer feedback is great, but it won’t always reveal those small things people find irritating. But those small things do add up and can lead to defection, so make it easier on yourself to identify those irritants by being a customer yourself.

4. Make sure your Employees are on the Same Page

It doesn’t matter what lengths you go to in order to ensure customer satisfaction and build loyalty if your employees are not on the same page as you. No matter what you think, or what you might wish, your employees hold the key to every effort you put in to convert prospects into loyal customers.

In most cases, employees only think about the tasks they have to carry out and are less interested in the bigger picture. They know their job is to fit plug A into slot B and that’s it. They have no clue how their work affects the bigger picture. The responsibility to educate them on this front is totally yours.

This is why it’s essential that you show your employees that everything they do affects the bigger picture and the drive home how the bigger picture affects them personally. The more your employees understand what you are trying to achieve (and how it will affect them) and how their part contributes, the more motivated they will be because everyone wants to feel as if they are part of something greater than themselves.

At the same time, if you have a customer service representative who simply doesn’t seem to get it, which is reflected in their behavior with customers, it’s time to shift them to a new role or just find someone else.

5. Invest in your Customers today to Reap Rewards tomorrow

By going all out and investing in your customers today, you will reap amazing rewards tomorrow. A good example is Zappos, who allow their customers to return shoes within a year of purchase. This is not an easy thing for the company to do from an administrative point of view, but it sure earns them a lot of loyal customers and it’s one of the many things Zappos has done to turn the company into a powerhouse.

This might be an extreme example and not in the realm of possibility for a small business owner, but the essence of the idea is that if you invest in your best customers right now, you’ll build loyalty that’s just as extreme, which will translate into a great bottom line and long-term sustainability for your business.