Customer Loyalty-Do You Have It Backwards?

leadership development sales soft skills Jul 10, 2009
Are you thinking about customer loyalty the right way?

What is customer loyalty? In talking with a number of people, I’ve heard variations on the same answer:

The customer is loyal when they keep coming back to your business.

What do you think? Does that sound right?

Jim Cathcart, iLearningGlobal faculty member, got me to thinking “What if we turned that around”:

Customer loyalty is the ongoing care a business gives its customers before, during, and after the sale is complete.

How does that sound?  It’s certainly different in a number of ways.

The most important observation I have for you is:  Acting on this definition  is 100% completely in YOUR control as a business owner, sales person or employee.  The first description is not within your control and therefore there is little you can do to succeed.  When you are in control you get to decide on the level of support you give to your customers on an ongoing basis. There’s no one to blame except yourself.

Next think about your own experiences as a customer. Take a moment and think about your best experiences as a customer. Have you ever been taken care of long after a sale? If you have, how did it make you feel (or how would you imagine feeling?).  How would you feel about a car dealer who called you up 2 years after you bought your car to ask how you experience with the car is? They don’t try to sell you anything. They are just checking in and are ready to address a problem if there is one. When you are ready to buy another car, how likely would you be to go back to that dealer again for your next car? Would you like your customers to feel that way?

How about during the sales process? Are you focused on listening to the customer to understand their needs, desires and fears? Or are you telling them all about how wonderful your product is? How it’s better than what they have now or could get with others? Are you helping them to feel more comfortable? Ease their fears? Are you creating Magical Moments?

Now let’s think about this for a few moments? What do you think the result is if your customers feel you are loyal to them? Do you think they’ll feel loyal back? Could this be the key that differentiates your business from everyone else offering a similar product or service? Will your loyalty bring them back to you even if you don’t have the lowest price? Better yet, will they become your apostles and spread the word of your business and great service?

What are you going to do to create customer loyalty? Please share some of your ideas.

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