Customer loyalty is the holy grail of every company, large and small. It’s what allows a business to grow and secure its future. But customer loyalty has become increasingly elusive in an age where your closest competitor is just a mouse click away. Much of the advice in this week’s CX Buzz focuses on how to prompt customer loyalty. The funny thing is, much of it is equally applicable to life’s other relationships: from giving people heightened positive experiences, to keeping your promises, to remembering birthdays. Read on for a plethora of best practices that will hopefully keep you and your customers in a happy long-term relationship.
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Successfully Shaping the Customer Experience [customerthink.com]
Author Daryl Travis compares the behavior of some companies to someone who struggles to get a date. They go to great lengths but then on the night of the actual date, they forget to shower, show up late or are in a bad mood.
Travis says that many companies similarly will spend millions to attract new customers, but then neglect the customer’s actual experience with the company.
He further points out that while there may be dozens, even hundreds of touch points with a customer, only a few are significant and actually contribute to forming the emotional bonds that generate customer loyalty and advocacy.
Psychologists have observed that what we remember is determined by the intensity of emotions created by an experience, not the overall experience. That’s why if you give customers intense, positive experiences, they will remember your company.
Customer Retention Is Also about Keeping Your Promises [business2community.com]
Your brand is essentially a promise, asserts the author of this article, Jeff Weinberger. He points out that keeping customers means keeping your promises.
As a consumer, he says, you know what it feels like to have a company break a promise. You are left with a sour taste and a desire to seek out competitors. Sometimes you switch, but even if you stay put, you are not a happy customer.
In your business, you are probably breaking promises to your customers far more often than you think (and certainly far more often than they are telling you). It is your job (and do not underestimate how challenging this is) to figure what you’re doing wrong.
Consistent And Predictable Experience Creates Customer Confidence [hyken.com]
Author Shep Hyken starts out this article by quoting comedian Woody Allen: “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.”
Mistakes like not following through, missing a deadline, showing up late and not calling back as promised are enough to destroy a customer’s confidence and loyalty. Conversely, just doing these basic things goes a long way.
Hyken argues that perhaps 80% of creating customer loyalty is just doing what you say you will do. In other words, meet the established expectation. If you say you’ll ship within 24 hours, do it.
By extension, the experience should match the customer’s expectations. For example, a customer’s expectations will be different for a roadside hotel versus a full-service luxury hotel like the Four Seasons. It doesn’t hurt to overdo oneself, but first meet the baseline.
Secrets of a Frustration-Free Customer Service Experience [forbes.com]
Are you driving your customers crazy with a clunky customer experience and antiquated approach to customer service? That’s the challenge author Micah Solomon throws out.
Solomon offers a paradigm for proactive customer experience that is high-touch without being creepy or too spammy.
For instance, notify passengers if flights have been delayed or gates changed, and if the worst happens (a cancellation) rebook them and alert them of the new arrangements, without any work on the passengers’ part.
Also, remind customers of something they ‘‘should’’ be keeping track of themselves, but that you, in your quest to become their irreplaceable vendor, are happy to put on your own shoulders. For example, you can remind them (before they ask), when their mortgage payments are due or when a medication needs to be refilled.
In addition, Solomon says, you need to find ways for them to easily reach a (fabulous) human being. Automation only goes so far. To truly make your company irreplaceable, offer your customers (if they want it) the human touch.
3 Super C’s of Customer Service That Create Loyal Customers [winthecustomer.com]
For companies, the “L” word is loyalty. Everyone wants it, but not everyone knows how to get it, at least not from customers.
Author, Flavio Martins, suggests that to get to the big L, you adopt his “3 C’s” mnemonic to make sure you are delivering exceptional customer service.
The first C is communication. By communication, the author means a two-way exchange, not just talking at customers.
The second C is connections, by which Martins means reaching out and touching someone at those special times of year: New Year’s, Christmas, birthdays, and Kwanza. Offer a 10% discount – a freebie if they order over a certain amount, or send a gift, he says. You will be surprised just how well this works with creating more sales.
The third C is celebrating the customer. Make your customer feel special. Even though the customer is not always right, they’re always the customer. And you cannot survive without them.
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