The status quo is no longer enough. Your company has grown incrementally, but you are ready to take it to a totally new level. The challenge is how?
The most powerful way to move forward can sometimes be to take a step back. Stop and ask the most basic question- why are we in business? Even better, ask your best customers why they want you to stay in business.
Your customer’s viewpoint is critical. Listening and acting on what you learn can mean the difference between status quo results and thriving.
When customers value what you provide so much that they want to keep doing business with you, you need to understand why. When you understand the value you provide to your customers, you can begin to position yourself to attract more customers looking for that value. If you build a large enough base of loyal customers, you will not only stand out in the market, but organizations with high levels of loyal customers typically grow revenues at twice the rate of their competition.
In the “Loyalty Effect”, Frederick R. Reichheld says that raising customer retention rates by 5% could increase the value of an average customer by 20 to 100%
Customer loyalty can be a very important goal, but it is important to realize that it will likely involve a shift from standard practice. Most companies think about customer satisfaction, but building loyalty goes a step further. Loyal customers consistently buy from you, while satisfied customers may or may not return.
A loyal customer strategy involves thinking about a customer as not just someone who wants or needs your help, your service or product, but someone with whom your organization wants to create a unique and emotionally positive experience.
Research has shown that six out of ten customers will never return to an organization based on poor service…NOT poor products. They won’t tell you, they will just go elsewhere. Customers want a positive experience and want to deal with a service provider that has empathy and wants to understand how they feel. But there is more…
In “The Starbucks Experience” Joseph A. Michelli discusses the importance of connecting, discovering and responding to customer input.
Michelli makes a distinction between listening and acting on the input. “While a lot of businesses actually do connect with their customers and discover those customer’s needs, they don’t always act on what they learn. They are long on interest and short on effort to address the customer’s actual needs. Customers feel betrayed when they are lured into thinking that their input matters, only to find their preferences ignored.”
Customers want a service provider who creates strong points of connection. A point of connection is defined as anytime the customer comes in contact with anything or anyone that has anything to do with your organization. A powerful point of connection creates a bond with customers and ensures a high level of trust. Trust builds strong relationships and strong relationships ultimately create customer loyalty.
Loyal customers will brag about your service/product creating word-of-mouth advertising, pay more for your product, and are more forgiving when a mistake is made. Loyal customers want you to help them figure out the best solutions for them as their needs change. You grow together.
Listen to your customers and let their connection with you drive growth.
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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