In a soft economy, it can be difficult to maintain customer loyalty. Some customers will shop elsewhere if the prices are right, and others will stop shopping at all. Thankfully, here are some strategies that you can implement to keep customer loyalty high. Reliability Over time, customers start to expect a certain level of quality in your product and/or services. Whether your customers are shopping in your store or visiting your website, they need to have the same quality experience every time. This means having a consistent product or service, as well as staff that delivers stellar customer relations each and every time. Credibility When it comes to your business, you have to be as good as your word. Every promise that you make in every ad, every brochure, and every business card you must keep. Don’t try and have a secret agenda, and be accurate about any claims you make. Responsiveness Since customers tend to be more careful about their purchases when their belts are tight, you need to take any concern that they have seriously. The easiest way to do this is to make it convenient for them to track their order and stay in contact with you. If the customer has something that they perceive to be a problem, work with them to fix it immediately. Empathy When speaking with the customer, you have to understand how they are feeling, which means picking up on verbal and nonverbal cues. If they seem anxious, then you should be reassuring. If they are excited, then get excited right along with them. Good Employees Any business owner realizes that the employees he or she hires are a part of the business. This means finding people that not only have the skills you need, but that also have the personalities required to work with the customer. This may involve stealing employees away from other businesses; always be on the lookout for someone who would make a positive addition to your team. Employee Training Some companies make the mistake of only training their employees immediately after hiring. Training should actually be built in on a regular basis and be ongoing. You can never have employees that are over-trained – the better trained they are, the more effective they will be. Employee Loyalty It may not make sense to consider employee loyalty when it comes to customer loyalty, but remember that loyal employees are happy employees. And happy employees will be more in tune with the customers, easier to work with, and willing to go the extra mile when it comes to delivering customer service. Ease of Service Lastly, you should make things as easy as possible for the customer. Reduce paperwork where you can. Ask for feedback on what they like and what they don’t like. Make sure that it is easy to contact you – every piece of advertising should at least have your phone number, if not emails, websites, addresses, and other ways of contacting you. The easier you make things for the customer, the more likely they will be to continue to buy from you.