Building a loyal customer base is key to any business, no matter the industry or specialty. Loyalty doesn’t just happen, though, there are so many options out there, you must actively try to win the loyalty of your customers. Here are four steps on the road toward loyalty.

1. Build a relationship. No matter what a customer is buying, they are always looking for connection. Connect with your customers by genuinely caring about their lives and well being. Remember names and keep track of details about people’s’ life that they tell you. Building relationships with customers not only will keep them coming back again and again, but it will be intrinsically rewarding for both you and the customer. Building relationships should never just be about business, engaging with people must flow from a genuine interest in them and making their lives better. Customers will catch on if you are trying to connect with them just to make a buck.

2. Build trust. There is a lot that goes into building trust with your customers. Your customers want to know that you have their best interests in mind and are not just looking to get something from them. When you prove this over time, you will build deep trust with your customers.

Walk the walk. This is the biggest thing that you can do to build trust. You must embody the values that you want your business to be known for in the community and among your customers. When you make a promise – follow through. When something goes wrong – be honest about it, take responsibility, and make it right. Be on the lookout for opportunities to display to your customers and the employees around you what your values are.  

3. Have a quality product. There is no substitute for a good product. It is extremely important to take pride in your work and provide a remarkable product or service. It is such a seemingly obvious idea that we can let it lose emphasis. 

We asked Errol Flynn of Brandenburg Bakery, what he views as the most important aspect of customer service, and he said, “The number 1 rule of customer service for us is QUALITY.” And if you have ever tasted one of his donuts, I’m sure you’ll agree they are living up to that. 

4. Be consistent. When it comes to trust and quality and building a relationship, consistency is key. Consistency is the only way you can build anything meaningful, because meaningful things don’t get built in one day. You have to come back day after day and lay on the foundation you built the day before.

Remember – it’s much easier to tear down progress than build it. One bad interaction with a customer has the potential to tear down trust and the perception of quality. This is not to say that things can never “go wrong”, things will inevitably happen that are outside your control. But it is at these moments, when things go wrong, that you have the greatest opportunity to go above and beyond for your customer and create even more trust, assuring them that they can trust you in the good times and bad.

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