As it appeared in the daily nation of June 9th 2015
Is getting customers a hard task? What about keeping them? What makes customers want to come back? What makes them want to tell others about you? These are questions that many in business ponder. Loyal customers are often seen to have two tendencies; they come back and they bring others with them. Businesses that pride themselves with many loyal customers find it easier to do business. On the contrary, businesses that keep losing customers have to work much harder to get new customers to replace those that leave. As customers what is it that makes us loyal to some businesses and not to others. Today, I share with you 4 insights that I believe drive customer loyalty across different businesses.
First, customers become loyal when they see value in the products and services they use. As customers we find it worthwhile to use a certain service or product instead of another. To create and deliver value, companies must look at themselves from the customers’ perspective. Do we understand our customers’ expectations? Do we know what they value? Are we meeting these expectations? Do our customers find value in our products and services? Are we easy to do business with?
Keep Customers Informed
Customers like to be kept informed. They want to know what is happening. They hate to be kept in the dark. A few days ago I went to the drycleaner to pick up my jackets. I was informed that they would be delivered at 5pm and so I chose to go the following day. The following day, the delivery had not yet been received. I had one simple question to the staff… why did they not alert me? If I find a dry cleaner collection centre that informs me when my clothes have been delivered I will switch. Not sharing crucial information with customers can be disastrous and so is changing rules on them without alerting them. Be timely in sharing important information with your customers.
Can your customers count on you? When you make a promise do you keep it? At the core of customer loyalty are customers who can trust you based on their own past experiences and those of others. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their book Extreme Trust put it this way “If you want success, you will need your customers to see you as a reliable, dependable, credible, helpful, respectful, open, responsive and honest”. Don and Martha look at honesty and reliability as a competitive advantage. If your customers do not trust you, it is unlikely that they will stay with you for life if they do, they will stay.
Build a great team
Loyal Customers are happy; their happiness is as a result of how they feel when they interact with the organization. Building a great team that takes good care of the customers ensures that customers stay on. Such a team looks at the organization, the policies, procedures etc with the eyes of the customer and make it easier for the customer.
Loyal customers do not just happen; they are a result of the combined effort of everyone in the organization. Every smart company must be keen to drive customer loyalty because loyal customers are extremely good for business.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy