Customer Loyalty: It Starts With You Helping Others to Succeed

leadership development sales Feb 02, 2010
What is customer loyalty?

Most people and businesses think about customer loyal as having customers who are loyal to the business or employees being loyal to the company. This is much the way we think about loyalty in general:

Loyalty is something someone else gives to me because they like me.

Think about that for a moment. What is the customer or employee getting out of it? Is your business being loyal to the customer or employee? Or is the customer just so lucky to have you around that they will give you their undying allegiance?

Pretty silly isn't it? With so many options of products to buy or companies to work for, why should anyone pick yours? What do you offer?

Have you ever done business with a company that feels they can treat you any way they want? How about airlines, large banks, cable tv and phone companies? Even if you continue to use their services or work for the company how loyal do you feel to them? How quickly would you move to another alternative, a competitor, if you felt you could? Is that really customer loyalty?

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. If your customer loyalty levels are lagging from where you would like the to be, 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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