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Caring is Key to Customer Loyalty

Did you ever wonder why a customer just stops doing business with you?  Is it customer service (or the lack of it)?  Did the customer move?  Pass away?  There are all kinds of studies that are available that will tell you why.  They will give you the general reasons customers defect, which will help you […]

Did you ever wonder why a customer just stops doing business with you?  Is it customer service (or the lack of it)?  Did the customer move?  Pass away?  There are all kinds of studies that are available that will tell you why.  They will give you the general reasons customers defect, which will help you strategize on how to prevent them from defecting.  However, none of them will give you the answer you need for a specific customer.

My friend Chic Thompson used to fly 80 round trips a year with one airline, as he traveled around the world delivering speeches and workshops on creativity.  Then one day he stopped flying.  Well not completely, but most flights.  Unfortunately he came down with a medical condition that prevented him from taking longer, more taxing trips.  Chic went from one of the airline’s most elite status fliers, with all the free first class upgrades he could ever want, to making just a few trips a year, which meant no perks.

Now Chic thought that someone from the airline might have noticed, but to his surprise, he never heard from anyone.  He had thought that with everything the airline did to get his business, they might try and find out why he stopped.

The airline might be surprised to find out that Chic still wanted to fly on them.  He enjoyed the customer service, the perks, the frequent flier program, etc.  Now he can’t, and it appears the airline to which he was loyal  doesn’t seem to care.

I was a member of a gym.  I went on a two week vacation.  When I came home there was a message from the owner.  He hadn’t seen me for a couple of weeks and called to make sure I was okay.  I didn’t renew a magazine subscription.  A few weeks later I received a letter stating, “We want you back.”  Okay, that’s marketing and sales.  But at least they noticed I didn’t renew.

One of the keys to building customer loyalty is caring.  We obviously care about getting a customer’s business.  We spend money and effort on marketing and sales.  We put forth effort to keep the customer.  And then one day a customer leaves.  We assume they chose to do business elsewhere.  Maybe it was the price.  Maybe it was the service.  Maybe they just moved.  There are many reasons.

Like Chic Thompson, maybe there are valid reasons that customers don’t do business with us anymore.  In some cases they love us, but just, for whatever reason, don’t (or can’t) do business with us anymore.  We need to know why.  Even if circumstances have changed, we can still keep their loyalty.  Maybe not as buying customers, but as evangelists, customers that sing our praises to their friends, family and colleagues.  And that, in and of itself, is enough of a reason to care about keeping the relationship strong.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert,  professional  speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com/. For information on The  Customer  Focus™customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com/. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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