April is International Customer Loyalty Month, and what have you done to show your customers your appreciation for keeping you in business?
It’s not too late, if you haven’t done so, tell one of your customers you appreciate them today. Start with picking out just one customer interaction and doing something different to show your appreciation. It will change your day, and chances are, it’ll make a difference to your customer too.
Going out of your way each day to make a special phone call, send a specific email or just taking a few extra seconds to tell your customers you appreciate them goes a long way in changing the mindset of what customer service means to your organization. As this idea begins to spread within you, your team, and your organization, a new fire for customer service experiences will ignite and the result often is a greater level of customer loyalty between your customers and your organization.
Loyalty = Great Service + Confidence
A 2012 article by Mila D’Antonio in “1 to 1 Media”, outlined the important of making the extra effort to deliver exceptional customer service experiences and the value it creates in generating greater customer loyalty. It makes the case that spending a little bit more time, efforts, and sometimes $, really does pay back in exceptional customer loyalty returns.
88% of customers indicate that quality often is the key factor in remaining loyal to a brand
Price often is touted as the key decision maker when it comes to choosing a product or service. True, but only for some specific customer segments. But then again, when you compete in price, you’re almost always giving up on delivering quality and experience. For those whose services aren’t simply a commodity and are priced at a reasonable market rate, it’s critical that the right experience is created in order to bring in customers and keep them once you have them.
Quality, service, and experience is the glue that sticks customers to you.
The founder of our technology company often told the story of his first customer. When he started the company, he was the only employee. He was working out of the basement of his in-law’s home, with a cell phone in one hand and his young baby in the background. That first customer was special. That first customer order was a celebration. It’s an experience he’ll never forget. Someone took a chance on him and he was going to do whatever that customer asked because that order meant everything to him at that time.
As our organizations grow, it’s easy to take customers for granted. Suddenly one single customer order will no longer make or break the business. We can afford to lose a customer here or there, we can afford to skimp on service a bit. But the problem is that by the time this mentality sets in, it’s no longer just a little bit but a pattern of being de-committed to serving customers. By this time, we’ve already learned to manage by spreadsheets and disconnect ourselves from the needs and wants of customers and focused more on the bottom-line and what we know to be best.
Your customers deserve more
Customers today expect more than this. Customers want and deserve a special service experience. This doesn’t mean giving everything away, but it means dedicating our efforts and systems to delivering results in a polished, professional, and complete solution. Don’t let your product or service become a commodity. Let service and experience add the premium value that will develop long term customer loyalty.