Customer loyalty… This is what companies strive for, to create loyal customers. Some companies have earned a reputation that keeps bringing their customers back, again and again. How do they do it?
That’s a big question, and entire books have been written about this, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few tips to get us started in the right direction. Here is a short list of ideas, some new and some old. If you’ve been following me for some time, you may recognize a few of these, but they are worth hearing again.
Have a Good Product: This is a given. The product must do what it’s supposed to do. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter how good your customer service is. People need to know they can count on your product, not just your customer support department.
Customer Service and Support: It’s a given that everyone in your organization will deliver a level of customer service that meets, if not exceeds your customers’ expectations. And, if you have a customer support department, you must offer amazing support. This is obvious to most, yet it still surprises me how reaching a live agent for support is sometimes a Moment of Misery™. I often jokingly refer to a poorly run customer service department as the future sales prevention department. By the way, being amazing doesn’t mean you’re delivering over-the-top customer service. It means you’re better than average – even just a little better than average – all of the time!
Tell the Customer How Good You Are: Remind the customer they made the right decision to do business with you – but do it in a way that’s not arrogant. What do you do differently than your competition? As long as it’s something the customer will appreciate, make sure the customer knows about it. Don’t keep your differentiator a secret.
Be Employee Focused: Focus on creating loyal employees and you’ll create loyal customers. I’ve talked and written about this often: What’s happening on the inside of the organization will be felt on the outside by the customer. It isn’t a coincidence that the best places to work are also recognized as the organizations that deliver the best customer service.
Focus on the Next Time: Finally, customer loyalty can eventually be about a lifetime, but to make it more attainable, take it one step at a time. Whatever situation you’re in, good or bad, ask yourself what I refer to as the Loyalty Question: “What am I doing right now that will make the customer come back the next time they need what we sell?” It’s not about a lifetime. It’s about the next time, every time.