By: Sheryl Strasser

Creating a loyal customer is not as easy as it once was with today's changing business landscape. Customer loyalty, though, is essential to any great business.

Many business owners lay out a chunk of cash each year for worthless incentive programs to keep customers coming back, but in case after case, it simply hasn't worked for a business. How can you create customer loyalty for your business?

First, analyze your company carefully. You must think about every aspect of your organization from the customer's perspective. What do you do well? What are your areas of weakness? Are there things that you can offer customers that you may have never considered?

Remember to think of everything from the customer's point of view, and you will have an entirely new insight into your company, thereby increasing your customer's ability to stay loyal to you.

Second, show individual care for each customer who walks in your door. From the ability to greet them by name to just being around if there is a problem, forming a relationship with a customer is likely to make them loyal to you instead of the business down the street.

Other ways to show individual care for customers include holiday cards and gifts, ensuring that problem-resolution situations go smoothly and primarily in the customer's favor, and providing excellent customer service at every turn.

Third, keep your prices reasonable. You can't raise your prices by ten percent and expect your client base to stay with you.

If industrial reasons force you to up your prices, be sure that you do so gently, and within your accepted industry standards. You can't possibly expect to have much higher prices than the guy down the street and keep folks loyal to your business, no matter how good your customer service is.

Fourth, offer the best possible product or service you can, and guarantee it for your customers. Nobody wants to feel as if they are wasting their money, and if you offer them junk, they are certain to feel taken, and they won't return to your shop.

Offering a higher quality means that it will last longer, and offering a guarantee means that customers know they can come to you if they have any problems with your service or merchandise.

Fifth, consider implementing a customer rewards or incentive program that truly matters. While many businesses offer paperweights or ink pens emblazoned with a company logo, few offer incentives to customers that truly matter.

Travel vouchers or a travel gift card will demonstrate to customers that you care about their business, and in turn, that will help them stay loyal to you instead of your competitor down the street. Create a dream vacation package that will cost them very little, or allow them to create their own vacations with a gift card. It's certainly better than a fruitcake as a holiday gift.

Travel Vacation Vouchers offers the only affordable, value-packed travel incentives where a few dollars translates into a multi-thousand dollar experience of a lifetime.

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