Customer Loyalty

The term customer loyalty is used to describe the behavior of repeat customers, as well as those that offer good ratings, reviews, or testimonials. Some customers do a particular company a great service by offering favorable word of mouth publicity regarding a product, telling friends and family, thus adding them to the number of loyal customers. However, customer loyalty includes much more. It is a process, a program, or a group of programs geared toward keeping a client happy so he or she will provide more business.

Customer loyalty can be achieved in some cases by offering a quality product with a firm guarantee. Customer loyalty is also achieved through free offers, coupons, low interest rates on financing, high value trade-ins, extended warranties, rebates, and other rewards and incentive programs. The ultimate goal of customer loyalty programs is happy customers who will return to purchase again and persuade others to use that company's products or services. This equates to profitability, as well as happy stakeholders.

Customer loyalty may be a one-time program or incentive, or an ongoing group of programs to entice consumers. Buy-one-get-one-free programs are very popular, as are purchases that come with rebates or free gifts. Another good incentive for achieving customer loyalty is offering a risk free trial period for a product or service. Also known as brand name loyalty, these types of incentives are meant to ensure that customers will return, not only to buy the same product again and again, but also to try other products or services offered by the company.

Excellent customer service is another key element in gaining customer loyalty. If a client has a problem, the company should do whatever it takes to make things right. If a product is faulty, it should be replaced or the customer's money should be refunded. This should be standard procedure for any reputable business, but those who wish to develop customer loyalty on a large-scale basis may also go above and beyond the standard. They may offer even more by way of free gifts or discounts to appease the customer.

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