Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com
Building a loyal customer base is an important task for any business owner. Customers that provide you with repeat business are extremely valuable, but how can you ensure they will come back to you again?
I co-founded Bark.com, an online local services marketplace, which has over three million users logging in every month. It took a few years to build up a loyal customer base that uses Bark.com regularly, but essentially we focus on providing an efficient service that adds real value to your customers. With that in mind, here are my top five tips for building a loyal customer base:
1. Get to know your customers
To retain customers, it’s crucial that you understand them. Invest time in finding out who they are, what they like about your business and what they think is missing. And most importantly, try and find out why customers stop using your products or services. That information can be invaluable in addressing key issues to improve your offering and boost customer retention.
2. Be honest
Customers want to know what to expect from a business. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and keep customers updated every step of the way. Businesses need to gain and keep the trust of their customers and simple two-way communication is an effective method.
3. Be consistent
High standards should be attained and maintained, which goes hand-in-hand with being honest. Your customers will expect a certain level of standard, which you need to reach consistently and always strive to improve where possible.
Another point to note is that people often don’t react well to sudden change. If you’re planning to update a business system or change the pricing structure, try to stagger these changes. And even better, try involving your customers in the conversations early on. That way they not only know about changes that are coming, but they’ll also have helped you shape them.
4. Be quick
They say that patience is a virtue, however, this isn’t quite the case when dealing with today’s customers. They want it all and they want it now. A fast and efficient service will retain customers by keeping them happy. This can be applied to all areas of a business, from customer service to logistics and distribution.
5. Be flexible
One size doesn’t fit all. Instead, a more personalised approach that tailors your products and services to fit customers’ needs can prove to be far more effective. Adapting to your customers where possible and giving them an experience that resonates with them makes them feel valued by your brand.
6. Keep communication simple
Keep things simple when you communicate with your audiences. Avoid confusing jargon or unnecessary technical speak. Talk to them like equals and give them the respect you’d expect from them. You and your customers will both benefit from a relationship based on mutual respect, understanding and trust.
These are just some of the ways that can help you achieve big results when it comes to retaining customers. With all businesses, it’s important to focus on your customers and deliver products and services with them in mind. And make sure you keep revisiting, evaluating and adapting your business model to make sure you’re keeping up-to-date with their needs, and the industry you work in.
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