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Step 12

Acquire Customer Fidelity

Build customer loyalty from your first order is only the beginning of your export journey. You have to build long term and sustainable business relationship with your client(s) so that they keep coming back to you. A satisfied customer is your best ambassador, who will bring more business and more clients. You must carefully nurture and build strong loyalty with your reliable customer(s).

Tips to build Customer loyalty

1. Always deliver on your promise.

2. Always communicate with your client(s), the more so to remove any misunderstandings.

3. Provide good customer service and after care. If possible always deal with your key customers personally, or designate someone senior in your company to deal with them.

4. Build and strengthen your company’s capacity through regular training of your personnel.

5. Provide customised incentives to your reliable clients so that they keep coming back to you. This can be extended payment terms, flexible ordering schedule, quality and delivery, and provide research and product development for your clients.

6. Strengthen your brand positioning and allow your clients to use the benefits of your Brand. Build a family-type relationship.

7. Monitor customer satisfaction to know how your clients feel about you, your products and services and about your company.

8. Make your customers become your ambassadors. Let them speak on your behalf, allow them to participate in trade fairs together with you or to represent you.


Common Export Mistakes 
To succeed sustainably in export business, you must do the right things, all the time. And more importantly you should avoid common mistakes that most exporters make.

These are:

1. Consider export as an automatic extension of domestic business.

2. Absence of appropriate Market Research and an Export Business Plan.

3. Low-management commitment to exporting.

4. Running after too many customers in different countries rather than concentrating on one or few in selected markets. Trying to chew more than one can bite.

5. Neglecting export business when the domestic market booms.

6. Failure to build customer loyalty.

7. Rigid policies and practices in terms of payment terms, minimum quantity and delivery schedules.

8. Producing marketing tools and collaterals only in one language, mostly in English.

9. Focusing on major brand names rather than targeting growing companies.

10. Not working closely with the National Trade Promotion Agencies.

REMEMBER: Your country’s Brand equity is always greater than your company’s.  So always piggy-back on your country’s brand equity.

11. Misinterpreting “accidental export” to a country as a promise of better days ahead. It is important to carefully select your market(s), the one that holds the greatest opportunities for your products or services and the minimum risks.

12. Not having a Plan B. It is important to closely monitor your export business and to always have a contingency Plan for any risks thereof.


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