How Do You Cultivate Customer Loyalty?
The answer to this age old questions has eluded the business community for some time.
“The answer is simple, though-it is found within ourselves,” and that is my opinion according to my experience.
People respond positively to loyalty that brings us a sense of well being. We look for reassurance, affirmation, loyalty in the work we do and in the people we deal with and even in the product and service we purchase. This explains why we shop at places that offer guarantees, warranties and a good reputation for service and reliability. We look to feel assured by earning sales people with a quality product and, yes, we will even pay more for a specific product because of the feeling.
How Can We Apply This To Our Business
For example, let’s apply this truth to the communication business. First of all I have found that we can place emphasis on loyalty by asking questions. I was in the communication business, so I used to ask:
How do you communicated with your family in an emergency?
When you are away from your office, how does your assistance rich you regarding schedule changes?
How do find time to receive phone calls and more important return them?
By asking questions, we are not only able to recommend the appropriate equipment and services the customer might need, but also offer a sence of loyalty regarding customer usage and satisfaction by looking for ways to save them money. Then, after the customer receives their new equipment we make sure to call back the customer to make sure they are satisfied with what they purchased and answer any questions they might have, assuring them that their satisfaction and our loyalty, is the first thing we have in mind.
Customer Service Skills
The key to any company's success is "service." If we have a perfect product but we don't have good customer service, you will not sell. Or, you might sell one time, because people will not come back to you. Why? Because your customer service was bad!
How to Improve
First, it is important that your customer service team have the right training. What skills should you be looking for in a customer service person?
Patience and empathy. Some customers will be irate. Don't take it personal. Others will be full of questions and others will be chatty.
Work Ethic- Helps you understand the customer's needs.
Clear Communication- Ensure you talk to the customer with clear understanding. Imagine you are talking to your ten year old son. Explain clearly, not with company codes.
Identify Common Ground- Be empathetic and understand their feeling and emotions.
Listen and do not Guess- You will have a better understanding of the issue you need to resolve.
Admit Your Mistake- If you made a mistake say so and move on. This will build trust and will be happy with your service.
These call back efforts have proven very productive over the years, as highlighted in this experience:
I had a customer who originally established two cellular phones with the Cellular Company I was working for. In time, this customer desired an additional six cellular phones, however, chose one of our competitors. The customer’s decision was based on airtime rates and long distance rates. One week after losing my customer to a competitor, I called him back to make sure he was happy with the product he had purchased from me before and to ask him if he was happy with our service. The former customer said: “I am so glad you called me back: I went to your competition and got 6 lines, but I am so unhappy, our new service provider did not tell us about the many hidden charges! You have been so faithful and loyal to us. I am going to cancel the new service and comeback to your company. I promise I would never be unfaithful to you again. I learned my lesson!
So customer loyalty is really our own loyalty.
Show your customer that you care and that you are loyal to them as a customer, and they will show loyalty to you in return.