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Mar152018
OWNERSHIP

How to Build Customer Loyalty for Your Franchise

One component of marketing is to attract new customers. Another is to stay top of mind with existing customers. Don’t fall into the misguided notion that your existing customers already know all there is to know about what you offer or that those customers are already doing as much as they can with your business.

According to various reports by Forbes and eMarketer, an existing customer is three to twelve times more likely to purchase than a new prospect and data shows that loyal customers are worth 10 times more than first-time buyers.

So, what are best ways to retain and grow sales from your current customers?

Make the customer experience great.

Pie ChartCustomer satisfaction is a key ingredient of customer loyalty. Ensure your employees are properly trained in both your products and services, and in customer support skills. Customers want to know that their questions will be answered quickly, correctly, and courteously. They want their order or service completed properly the first time. These things are all basic customer service needs and are best achieved with well trained staff. The UPS Store can help with excellent training programs available to all franchise owners. Also, make sure that your store is properly staffed. Lines can be expected at times but if a customer is repeatedly faced with a long wait, they aren’t having an experience they’ll want to repeat.

 

Sixty eight percent of consumers state that positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business, according to Bright Local’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey. Loyal local customers who post great reviews because they’ve consistently received excellent service are your best and most trusted brand ambassadors. Be sure to foster top-notch, personalized service at your store and treat your customers as what they are - your neighbors! After all, being a part of the local community and connecting with your clients is an important facet of being a The UPS Store franchisee.

Quick, accurate and friendly service is a given, and makes a wonderful first impression, but what happens when that isn’t what transpires? Mistakes are bound to happen, and how those mistakes are dealt with can actually help to build trust with your customer.

When a customer’s experience isn’t great, make it right.

You obviously don’t want to make mistakes, but when it does happen, the issue needs to be addressed immediately. The customer should be told what you’re doing to make the problem right and the issue should be rectified as soon as possible. Studies show that customers who experience a problem with a service, but who are pleased with the resolution, are more likely to become loyal customers than someone who has never experienced an issue. Part of the reason is that your customer now knows you will work hard to make sure they are satisfied.

Training provided by your franchisor can help with making sure your employees are as prepared as possible to serve your customers well. A great knowledge base and excellent customer service skills mean that your employees are representing you, your franchise, and the brand in the best light possible and giving your customers every reason to return to your store.

Use your brand to your advantage.

Sixty to eighty percent of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them, according to a Bain & Company study. That tends to be due to a lack of connection to the company. The customer may have loved a product or service a year ago, but now that they need it again they don’t remember exactly who they used previously.

Well-known brands have a higher chance of repeat customers than smaller, unknown brands for just this reason. Consumers know what to expect when they walk into a The UPS Store location. They expect the staff to be well-trained and knowledgeable, and the services they need to be completed properly as well as on time. This expectation helps to bring customer loyalty to you from other locations across the nation. Whether the consumer has moved or is on a business trip in another state and needs materials printed or shipped, their loyalty to their store back home is going to benefit you as a franchise owner and is part of why franchise opportunities with The UPS Store are ranked so highly every year.

Let customers know about your other services.

As you interact with your customers, you should be asking them questions that help you learn more about their needs. By learning more about your customers, you’re better able to suggest complementary products or services that they might need.

In the marketing and sales world, this is called up-selling and cross-selling, and it actually benefits both you and your customer. Your print service clients may not know that you can create forms for them. Your packing and shipping customers may not know that you offer business and personal mailboxes or freight shipping. Ensuring your customers are informed about all of your services can help drive new sales as well as save your customer time and effort in their day. When your customers see you as a problem solver who can improve their efficiency, you’ve likely succeeded at creating a loyal customer.

Don’t neglect marketing to your existing customers.

It’s important to continue to market to existing customers as well. You should be collecting emails from customers and sending them regular communications to stay top of mind. Use email and social media to share information about promotions, sales or new products/services. Post in-store materials to let them know what your other offerings are.

It’s more cost-effective to market to existing customers who are more likely to purchase from you again than it is to get that brand new prospect to become a paying customer. Once you have someone doing business with you, use the tactics outlined here to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep that customer coming back.