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Four Ways to Maintain Customer Loyalty in a Downturn

August 25, 2010  

"Customer loyalty matters, because selling more to current customers is easier and cheaper than finding and selling to new ones," writes Chintan Bharwada in an article at MarketingProfs. "Loyal customers tend to buy more, more regularly. And they will frequently recommend your business to others."

In the midst of a sluggish recovery—and with the prospect of a second dip—customer retention is more important than ever. Bharwada suggests 10 ways to earn ongoing loyalty from your customers. Here are a few highlights:

Cultivate a brand that speaks to your customers in a meaningful way. "Branding that builds genuine customer loyalty goes beyond what the eye can see," he notes. "It's branding at the emotional, sensory, and gut-feeling level."

Pay attention to the motivations, values and priorities of your customers. "Being tuned in to what customers want and being sensitive to their evolving needs will help you become more resourceful and innovative over time."

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  • by Scott Zimmerman Mon Aug 30, 2010 via web

    During an economic downturn, one of the best ways to build customer loyalty is through Engagement Communications. This concept creates a dialogue with your customers that not only makes a connection, but inspires them to take action.

    Engagement Communications applies advances in communications technology (email, voice mail, SMS text messaging and social networking) in a way that creates a personal, human touch. The focus is not customer “contact”; it is engagement. Contact is one-directional while engagement is a two-way street. Creating these ongoing two-way dialogues not only helps build customer loyalty, but also creates a constant feedback loop that gives companies deeper insights into their customers’ motivations and needs.

    At TeleVox, we recently had the opportunity to work with a family practice office to implement an automated messaging system to remind patients of appointments. Before the practice began delivering appointment confirmations, an average of 10-12 no-shows occurred each day among the scheduled visits. This number was instantly reduced to 3-4 no-shows per day with the automated system in place – a two thirds reduction. At an average charge of $100 per patient visit, the automated system has resulted in approximately $800 of daily retained revenue, which translates into more than $200,000 in annual retained revenue.

    From the patient’s standpoint, the appointment confirmations have been a breath of fresh air and a welcome dose of convenience in their busy lives. Patient-specific information (name, doctor name, date of appointment) can be embedded in the message, which is delivered in a natural voice to retain the warm feel of a personal call. When the patient listens to the message, they are given the option of confirming or cancelling their appointment. Advance notice of a patient cancellation is an important feature for helping the practice manage its appointments.

    Simply put, building customer loyalty comes down to knowing what kind of information your customer wants, as well as when and how they want to receive it. And in a downturn, customers who feel you care and treated them respectfully through a tough time will become, and remain, loyal to your company.

    Thank you for the post.
    Scott Zimmerman, President of

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