In business, growth is dependent on attracting new customers and ensuring that existing ones return. For repeat customers a significant factor is what they perceive to be the benefits of the purchases they make or in the services they commission. In most instances, this is not just about price. Many retailers, or service providers will offer comparable prices. So what are the benefits that customers value, that determine their loyalty to a business or a brand?
The value of a purchase or of a service has more than just a monetary value. Quality can mean the standard of the goods, and the overall finish and standard of a service. For example, one painter may use a particular type of paint, though while cheaper, does not last, is subject to fading or peeling, while another painter may use a high quality paint that will endure far longer with a superior finish. Much the same could be said of a product and the materials used in its construction.
In the case of a service in particular, quality can come down to attention to detail, the overall look and feel of a completed job and the unmistakable craftsmanship. Service providers may give quotations that are close in price but that does not mean that the service is comparable and that’s where value will lie for a customer.
Providing excellent solutions
Consumers generally seek out the advice of those whom they feel know more than they do about products or services and being informed and offered choices and solutions is a huge part of their feeling and appreciation of value. Sure, consumers will read product information and they will certainly read reviews but they will want to feel that the problem or lack that they initially have, will be solved or remedied. Offering solutions and explaining them, establishes far more than just an exchange. It signals knowledge, confidence, and a willingness to provide not only an answer but a better one than a customer may initially envisaged.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
Customers actively and consistently seek out businesses with transparent, honest, and vibrant reputations. In much the same way as consumers align themselves with brands that connect with their own values and expectations, they will purchase products and engage the services of businesses with good reputations. Reputation is the driving and dominant factor in customer engagement and without a visible online reputation a business is invisible. Maintaining a solid, current reputation ensures that customers will keep coming back for more.
Unique customer service
Human beings place great value in how they are treated and respected. Customer service is an essential element in establishing the future loyalty and on-going business of a first-off customer and some businesses do this incredibly well, while others are seemingly clueless. The very best customer service comes down to attention – focusing on the needs of a customer, advising them and exceeding expectations.
For example, think of all the times you have entered a premises, intent on buying, only to be ignored by everyone in the shop. In nearly every instance that results in leaving and finding another retailer. But that’s only one literal example of attention, or lack of. Attention also means providing a service throughout the whole exchange and beyond. After sales service, for instance, creates a lasting impression of being valued and considered.
Value is everything
If a consumer has a number of businesses that offer a comparable price to choose from, then the decision will be made by those tangible factors listed above that create lasting connections between customers and a business. Offering and delivering value beyond price will always put a business in the best possible place.