25 Feb Customer (and Brand) Loyalty is Dead
And it’s not good. In fact – it feels like it gets worse with every passing day.
Think about it…when was the last time you received excellent customer service – you know, the kind that makes you want to keep spending your hard earned money on a business’s products or services and singing their praises to everyone you know?
When was the last time you felt like a company really appreciated your business?
When was the last time you felt a business truly delivered above and beyond expectations?
No – really – I’d love to know. Feel free to comment, email, or tweet me. Because these days all you seem to hear about is bad service.
Excellent customer service leads to increased customer and brand loyalty – and far too many brands are missing the mark.
We live in in a day and age where sharing of experiences – good and bad – happens real time via social media. It’s perplexing how many businesses ignore customer engagement, service, and loyalty.
Newsflash: Customers talk. Oh. And they post their frustration about brands to social media so all of their followers can see, too. Brands are aware of this yet don’t seem to care. They seem to think they can feed off new customers to grow their business. Not the most smart and cost effective approach.
The resources are there to engage with your customers in building loyalty and trusted relationships – but it takes a focus on both people and technology. And it takes a culture that supports a mission of delivering excellent customer service.
Brands are thinking with their wallets. And customers are picking up on it. They know when they’re being given lip service. Some will push back, some will just choose to do business elsewhere. Either way your brand is damaged – you lost.
However – there are things things you can start doing today to turn haters into brand evangelists:
Make sure you’re listening!
Communication with the customer is imperative to great customer service and increased brand loyalty. Don’t assume. Communicate with your customers. Take the time to listen to their needs. Customers are like snowflakes – no 2 are exactly the same. The process may be different to satisfy one customer as opposed to another even if the job itself is the same. As I’m fond of saying “Ask. Listen. Deliver.”
Know what you’re doing!
This starts with a clearly defined strategy understood by all – and then executing on that strategy. When it comes to execution – we don’t all have all the answers all the time. Don’t claim to either. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. If you make a mistake, take accountability – own your mistakes and make good on resolving them. Don’t try and shift blame. Make sure someone is accountable to the customer. Make sure those people are trained on what processes to follow to resolve such customer service related issues.
Be responsive to issues!
Be responsive – when a customer has an immediate need don’t give them the run around, get back to them right away – if you are their POC and don’t know the answers then go back to # 1 and #2 above. Poor process and communication practices internally lead to very slow responsiveness to customer needs and concerns. If processes do exist for customer resolution – make them simple to understand and follow and educate customer facing employees on how to execute such processes to promptly respond to customer concerns.
The moral of the story is simple. You need to be willing to take steps toward continuous customer service excellence and loyalty. If you’re not paying attention to your customers and continually trying to maintain their loyalty, someone else will. And when they do, they’ll take your customers away from you, and the profits along with them. So stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist and do something about it before it’s too late.
About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions – an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in achieving success through people, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable. Organizations where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business.
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