How Loyal is “Loyal?”
For the better part of 20 years, I was a loyal customer of the phone company. At least I’m sure the phone company would count me as “loyal.” After all, I paid my bills on time. Never had any big complaints. Weathered rate increase after rate increase. And gave them 100% of my telecommunications business. Yet, a few years ago, when I realized I was using my cell phone five times more than my landline (and got fed up with telemarketer calls), I dropped the phone company like a hot potato. So much for “customer loyalty,” right?
Truth be told, I never felt loyal to the phone company. Repeat purchaser, for sure. Satisfied customer, sometimes. But loyal? Would I recommend them to friends and associates? Sign up for their other offerings without checking out the competition? Or feel that they really “get me” as a customer and feel they valued my business? Heck no.
Yet this is what “loyal” customers do. Just because some customers come back to you time and again and don’t really complain, don’t leap to the conclusion that they are “loyal.” They may be, or it could be that your offerings fit what they need…right now. As conditions change in the future, it’s anyone’s guess whether they stay or pull the plug.
Now is the time to implement a program aimed at turning repeat customers into loyal customers. Start by getting to know them. Who are they? Why do they buy from you? What could you do to impress them? What would they change about you if they could? Then follow up. Start by treating them as if they are special—because they are. Focus on the relationship over the transaction. And keep an open line of communication with them so they feel they always have the opportunity to offer feedback—both positive and negative.
Wonderful things happen when a customer becomes a loyal customer. You’ll find you earn more of their business. You’ll find that they talk you up in the circles. You’ll see how they care about you and your success.
Whatever you do, try to avoid the trap the phone company fell into. They figured, either overtly or through ennui, that they didn’t have to do much to earn my business. And believe me, they didn’t.
Posted by Mickey
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