April is International Customer Loyalty Month.
There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.
The concept of International Customer Loyalty Month is for companies and their employees to make an extra push to create loyal customers. This isn’t about being good. It is about being great. Creating loyalty is about a continuous effort that creates customer confidence.
The Loyalty Formula: Loyalty = Great Service + Confidence
Great customer service is a given. You won’t keep a customer if you don’t support what you sell with great service. Creating confidence comes from your customers experiencing consistent levels of great service – every time they have any contact with you. Delivering great customer service once isn’t difficult. Doing it all the time is. And, it is the consistency of great service that builds customer confidence in you and your organization, which in turn will eventually create loyalty.
People think customer loyalty is about a lifetime. It isn’t. Customer Loyalty is about the next time – every time. Customers usually have a choice. So, what are you doing today that will make your customer, the next time they want what it is that you sell, do business with you instead of one of your competitors? (Read that last sentence again. It is important!)
Customer Loyalty Strategy: Create a Demanding Customer
Your goal should be to be so good at what you do that if your customers were to go to your competitor and ask for the same level of service, your competitors would find the customer demanding.
One of my clients owns a buffet restaurant. On certain nights they serve fried shrimp. One of the guests came in on a night that they didn’t have fried shrimp. That didn’t stop the manager from going into the kitchen and preparing a special order just for that special guest. Imagine that guest going to another restaurant and asking for something that’s not on the menu. Perhaps that other restaurant might find that guest a bit demanding. What are you doing that your competition might find a little extreme? That’s what creating a demanding customer is about.
April Should Not Be Customer Loyalty Month
If you’ve gotten this far I hope I’ve piqued your interest. At the end of the day – or month – customer loyalty shouldn’t be just for the month of April. It should be an all of the time effort, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – and sometimes 366!
So strategize about customer loyalty for one month, perhaps April, or whatever month you are reading this article, and then carry it through for the year.
Customer Loyalty is about the next time – every time. Every day. All of the time. All year long!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)
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