Suppliers work hard to land clients, hoping to serve the same organizations for many years. Yet business loyalty is fairly low. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 71 percent of organizations are not only willing but also ready to switch suppliers. If you’re a vendor that provides products or services to businesses, this statistic is reason for concern.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re making your clients happy is by knowing why so many are dissatisfied. If you have a large group of loyal customers, that may be a sign you’re doing things well, but there’s always room for improvement. Here are a few ways you can boost your client satisfaction rates and encourage loyalty.
The Gallup poll specifically highlighted a lack of emotional attachment to suppliers from businesses. At one time, businesses might work with the same paper supplier or financial services provider for years, but the Internet has made it easy for businesses to find the same or better service for less. Today’s suppliers can gain an edge by getting to know each client, providing that extra touch that tends to encourage loyalty even when someone else is undercutting your prices.
Respond to Complaints Promptly
Nothing will send clients scrambling for an alternative like bad customer service. This is especially true if they have a complaint and no one seems interested in resolving it. Make sure each of your clients is treated as a priority if they have an issue with something you’ve sold them. Go above and beyond to fix those issues and offer a discount on future purchases for their trouble.
Know Their Business
As a supplier, you should get to know each of your clients, including their standard orders, their preferences, and their needs throughout the year. Invest in a top-quality CRM that will help you track your client behaviors, as well as add notes to their accounts. If you can anticipate what they need and contact them before that need arises, you’ll prove yourself invaluable to their operations.
Prize Loyal Customers
Over the years, your business will likely see many new clients come and go. They may be cashing in on a discount you’re offering or trying your service out. Often you’ll never hear from those types of clients again, but the ones that stay are the ones who should win the majority of your attention. Don’t reserve your discounts for new customers, neglecting your existing ones. Instead regularly feature “VIP” specials that honor the loyalty many of your most long-term clients have shown.
Analytics can help you identify problems within your organization that you can then address. Monitor complaints through your CMS and note issues that tend to be mentioned regularly. Those are likely issues that are problematic with your product or service and they may eventually harm your business’s reputation if you don’t address them.
Drop Bad Clients
Every business has clients who always have an issue, who constantly look for a discount, or who wait months to pay each bill. By gradually removing those clients from your roster, you can put that time and effort toward your clients who are far less of a productivity drain, as well as reach out to new customers. Track your clients’ payments and identify those who consistently pay late or excessively complain about products. Just as you should be mindful of your team’s performance, you should also be aware of those clients who are costing your business money.
For suppliers, long-term relationships with clients can provide the cash flow they need as they grow. By nurturing those relationships, your business can encourage loyalty from your existing customers while still providing top-quality service to any new customers you bring in.