Maintaining customer loyalty

In this article we will look at ways of maintaining customer loyalty in the wet leisure industry.

Why is customer loyalty important?

There is an old adage in business that says that 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your customers.

Whether you think the ratio is that high in the wet leisure industry or not, loyal and satisfied customers are still well worth looking after.

Certainly the cost of attracting new customers is much, much higher than the cost of maintaining a good relationship with existing ones but added to that is the fact that satisfied and loyal customers may well become ambassadors for your business. Someone who has bought a pool or a spa or a sauna will probably have quite a few people in their social circle that would be similarly interested.

Any effort to keep those people singing your praises to their friends is going to pay dividends. You might even choose to say ‘thank you’ for spreading the good word by having a referral program – if they refer you to a friend and it leads to a significant sale then the customer receives free or discounted chemicals for a year.

Ways of maintaining your customer loyalty.

If you want them to talk about you – let alone come back and buy more services or goods from you – then you need to talk to them.

Stay in touch with your customers. It can be by email or a monthly newsletter or a phone call. Having an up to date and well maintained customer database will not only hold all their contact details but can be used to prompt and remind you to stay in touch.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software doesn’t have to be expensive and it can keep a track of all the contact you have had with people and prompt you to stick to a schedule of communication with them.

If you use Social Media then that too can be a great tool to stay front-of-mind with people. You can let them know about any up coming offers or deals that you might have but you can also give out free information and advice. You don’t have to sound like you are selling in order to actually be selling the benefits of your business.

Loyal customers expect great customer service – so make sure they get it.

Customers always remember being treated well and what they call ‘positive customer experiences’ result in repeat business.

Most people are only too happy to listen to their customers praise, but complaints and moans can be even more useful so try and listen to them carefully as well.

If they have got problems, try to deal with them in a positive way, after all, it’s better that they are complaining to you than telling all their friends.

Customer complaints give you an opportunity to spot problems and fix them so make sure that there’s a clear way for your customers to talk to you and share their feelings.

If you treat people like friends rather than customers they’ll become friends and customers.

So what qualities can your business demonstrate to achieve that?

  • Reliability. Keep your promises and stick to agreed dates and times to build trust.
  • Be flexible. Go the extra mile, make the extra effort. It’s what friends do.
  • Be consistent. You want your customers to have a good relationship with your business and so they need to know what you stand for and be able to trust that you’ll stick to those principles.
  • Be personal. Pools, spas and saunas are family things so ask about the family and make your business offering a benefit to all of them.
  • Be honest and truthful. It is the best policy.

Other things that can help.

If you really want to work hard at maintaining customer loyalty then realistically you will need to have a good, working customer database and some form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

That package can keep all their contact details plus a host of other information such as what and when they have bought in the past, when their stock of pool or spa chemicals should run out so that you can contact them before that happens and even family birthdays – do they want the pool cleaned before a party or the spa serviced after one?

CRM software can help you send out news and information – either by email or post – that is relevant in its content and timing to individual customers. That’s going to show that you remember them and really know what things are going to interest them. That shows that you care.

A CRM package can also help you make sure that offers and incentives get sent to the right people at the right time. Loyalty cards and volume discounts for regular customers can offer a very real incentive for them to keep coming back to you and the CRM software can help you mange that process.

So to really build strong customer loyalty with as broad a section of your customer base as possible you need to combine the right attitude – which all of your staff should share – with some good practices – such as newsletters and offers – and some technological help from your CRM database.

When you achieve that, you’ll find it very rewarding in a whole host of different ways.