“Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution.” ~ Rick Tate
April is International Customer Loyalty Month. In this highly competitive economic environment, customer service from you and loyalty from your customers are your only competitive advantage. This is a good time to take a close look at your customer service to make sure that you are not serving as a funnel for your competition. It’s no secret that when customers are unhappy, they lose no time moving their business elsewhere. Most times, they will never tell you why they are no longer doing business with you, they just quietly go away. Strangely, many business owners never notice that a customer has taken their business to another provider.
Customer loyalty is that connection to a business that will have a customer drive an extra 5 miles to do business with you rather than your competition. Notice your own loyalty to certain businesses that will motivate you to take extra effort to visit a certain Starbucks rather than the one closer to your office, or shop at a certain grocery store just because. What is driving that loyalty?
Here are a few strategies that you can implement if you haven’t already, to deepen customer loyalty.
Treat your customers with special consideration – whatever that means to you and to them. It is always a good idea to ask or survey a percentage of your customer base to know if you are indeed providing the level of service that creates loyalty.
Your employees must understand what you mean by taking care of customers. Too many business owners forget to set the standard of service that they want and expect their employees to provide to their customers. Don’t let complaints land as a surprise on your desk. By that time, you’ve most likely lost your customer and they’ve told their circle of friends about their bad experience. It takes great effort to correct a bad experience and too many of those will create an exodus of customers.
Reward your employees’ loyalty. Find out what motivates your employees to give service and care to your customers. Loyalty from your employees to your business will generate loyalty in your customers.
Customer appreciation requires some deeper level of experience than a transaction gone well. For instance, when the bank teller remembers your name or the cashier at Publix recalls that you went on vacation last week and asks how you enjoyed your time away or your chiropractor personally calls you to ask how you are doing after an appointment – those small extra touches deepen the customer’s experience and create a not-soon-forgotten interaction. Those are the little nuances that start that experience of loyalty.
As a professional in business or as a business owner, decide how you can provide that extra depth to your customer experience. It will pay off in your customers’ loyalty to you and your business.
|You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.
– – Jeffrey Gitomer