In an earlier article, Vogel Talks RVing discussed how companies can built customer loyalty. In today’s post we expand on turning customers into advocates providing three examples from our personal experience.
I frequent businesses where I’ve had great experiences and end my relationship with companies that do not resolve my concerns in a timely manner.
To earn and maintain my loyalty as a customer, I expect a business to provide:
- A quality product that meets my needs or solves my problem
- Competitive prices
- Superior customer service
- These expectations are the basics.
Over the past 15 years, three businesses have earned my trust and commitment:
- Midtown RV, Penticton, British Columbia (Newmar/Airstream dealer)
- Competition Chevrolet, Stony Plain, Alberta
- ABC Muffler & Hitch Shop, Edmonton, Alberta (Demco Towing Products)
These successful businesses empower their staff to make their No. 1 job taking care of the customers.
As a customer I want stability—a stable relationship I can count on—and consistency. For these reasons I travel over 650 miles to Midtown RV in Penticton for RV sales and service where 62 percent of their sales are to repeat customers.
On the flip side, other businesses have failed to provide a consistent quality customer experience and I have taken my business elsewhere. These businesses lost my loyalty. If a business does not provide a quality customer experience, I’m out the door taking my business to the competition.
There are four criteria that businesses should focus on to earn loyalty from a customer. These criteria can be broken into four areas of focus. Businesses that maintain my loyalty likely have these four areas already in place. And as a bonus, have new customers come through their doors from referrals.
Trust—Trust is the first area of focus for building loyal customers. Why would I ever come back to your business if I don’t trust you? This trust is built on actions. If you promise a customer that service on their unit will be completed by Wednesday, yet it takes until Friday to get it done, that customer’s trust is tarnished.
Another way to build trust is consistently providing quality service. This may sound like a no-brainer. Why would a dealer not provide quality service? Believe me, it happens too often, way too often. Believe me. Been there, experienced that.
To built this loyalty a business needs to know the customer, who they are, and build a good relationship with them. And do it with a smile.
Commitment—How far out of the way will a business go to please me, the customer? Hopefully, their commitment doesn’t depend on the invoice amount. Every customer must be treated with their lifetime value in mind.
Communication—Timely communication builds customer loyalty and makes for a pleasant customer experience. Quickly responding to customer questions and answering the phone on the first couple of rings is a good business practice. What are your phone hold times like? How difficult is it to talk to a live body?
Conflict Resolution—It is likely that every business will at some point need to resolve an issue or concern with a customer. A business that calmly solves an issue in a fair and reasonable manner is well on the path to retaining the customer’s loyalty.
Adhering to these four areas will help a business grow their customer base. The principles of trust, commitment , communication, and conflict resolution may seem routine, but businesses that continually observe the basics of creating loyal customers will do just that: create a loyal customer.
Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than they expect to get.