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CustomerLoyaltyCustomer loyalty is all about attracting the right customer, winning their allegiance and encouraging others to do the same. You can solve two problems at once – by taking the time and effort to find out what really delights your ideal customer, they not only guarantee you repeat business but become a credible, walking advertisement for your business. They continue to buy your products or services and provide valuable referrals.

But the real question is how do you build customer loyalty? This might sound easy but essentially you build customer loyalty by treating customers how they want to be treated. It’s that simple. If you are actively engaging your customers – remembering them, respecting them, acknowledging them, rewarding them and genuinely caring for them then you’ve already got it figured out. The challenge lies in finding a system that will help you do this.

Every little detail counts in a world where information is available at your fingertips and your competitors are waiting in the sidelines for your next unhappy customer experience. This is why the foundation of customer loyalty is exceptional customer service. Once you have a solid base, you can start building ways that will create a bond with your customers. Here are 7 rules to remember:

    1. Loyalty starts with satisfaction
      It’s all about product quality and meeting high standards. To do this, you need to streamline your business processes to speed up your system and get rid of flaws that your customers were inevitably find.

    1. With understanding comes insight
      You need to know your customers in order to exceed their expectations and create a positive experience. In order to understand the way they think, start collecting useful information about these people and develop a well-rounded profile. 

    1. Build a brand that sticks
      If you want to have a strong brand, you need the reinforcement of your employees. Employees are reflection of your company and a vehicle for your brand. Keep them happy and make sure they understand why you do what you do.

    1. Be actively engaged with your customers
      Give your customers a voice because otherwise they will fight for it. If you give people the opportunity to communicate and interact with other users in forums and event, you will instil a sense of ownership and belonging – 2 key ingredients to loyalty.

    1. Take the time to make things right
      There’s no denying that mistakes happen. This is why you have to make it count when it comes to fixing those issues. If you go out of your way for a customer, and I mean above and beyond - you’ll create an emotional connection, with the end goal being a strong long-term relationship.

    1. Identify your weak spots
      Take the time and get feedback from your current loyal customers. Find out what works for them and use that knowledge in your overall operations. Most importantly, find out what could be done better so you can constantly make improvements and keep these valuable consumers consistently satisfied.

    1. Outcomes matter
      Results customers can see, count on and talk about are essential. Your customers will become your biggest advocates and source of referrals, you just need to show them the value in what they are buying.

Fortunately, all of these rules can be adhered to by using an integrated ERP system that includes customer relationship management, like SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign.  A strong CRM and Service component delivers customer account information, service history, and support knowledge directly to customer service representative management, giving them the tools to deliver consistent service that enhances customer loyalty and overall recurring sales revenue.  The tools within SAP’s solutions for small to midsized businesses enable you to deliver superior customer service by utilizing multiple interaction channels, including phone calls, email messages, in-person communications, and self-service web sites to manage and resolve service issues.