Do we know what percentage of our customers are loyal? By loyal, I don’t mean those that have enrolled in our loyalty program or hold a loyalty card. I mean those customers who keep coming back time and again. They are also ready to bring others along. These customers voluntarily spread positive messages to others, leave valuable reviews online, and willingly refer others to our businesses. Loyal customers are completely sold on our businesses, products, or services. They trust us, are the most forgiving customers, are less price-sensitive, and are not interested in experimenting with other businesses, products, or services. Loyal customers are good for every business. They are the greatest asset that any business can ask for.
Every smart business owner recognizes the value of loyal customers as a valuable asset. Valuable assets need to be taken good care of from day one. Do we know who our first customer was? Are they still our customers? Do they know that we value them for having stayed with us? Or maybe, have they become too familiar and we take them for granted? Business founders who recognize the value of loyal customers from day one do not easily let their customers walk away. They intend to serve their customers for a lifetime and even from one generation to the next. Many of us do not know how long our customers have been with us. We have not even given the possibility of serving them for a lifetime a thought. What is our customers’ lifetime value? Knowing our customers’ lifetime value helps us to see them beyond a single transaction.
It is our customers that generate business revenues and grow shareholder wealth. Without customers, there is no business. Loyal customers support business growth by spending more and by helping with new customer acquisitions. Without a loyal customer base, a business’s future is not assured. As such, business owners and business leaders must take the actions needed to grow loyal customers and give them a reason to come again. To keep looking for new customers to replace those that leave is too expensive and not sustainable. To stay in business, we need loyal customers.
If a business does not have a considerable number of loyal customers, it is a sign that it is unlikely to survive for long. Returning customers are critical to the survival of any business, regardless of its stage of development. True loyalty is evident in what customers choose to do and what they choose not to do. This kind of loyalty does not just happen overnight. It is through a series of interactions that customer loyalty is built. Employees are important players in this entire process. It is extremely difficult to grow a loyal customer base without loyal employees. How loyal are our employees? Are our employees completely sold on the business, or are they fully committed? Besides, as a business, are we loyal to our customers and employees, and are we committed to building loyal customers and employees? I believe our businesses do not need to build revolving doors for employees and customers to easily walk in and out. Instead, we need to give customers and employees a reason to stay!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy