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Customer loyalty is not only rare, but in most cases it is a myth. Loyalty in business usually goes in one direction - to one’s self, and what is in one's own best interest.
Let’s step away from theory for one moment and look at some facts.
So many companies today offer loyalty schemes. It’s big in the retail trade, especially in the food industry. You know the idea; Company X gives you a loyalty card that gives you back a percentage on what you spend with them. They are NOT earning your loyalty they are BUYING it by giving you about 1% back - THAT’S ONE PENNY IN THE POUND OR 1 CENT ON THE DOLLAR. This is nothing short of bribery, and it actually means very little to most people, but they collect the cards anyway, because 1% is better than nothing. Loyalty comes more from the brand than the card. The only cards that most people are most likely to be loyal to are the ones that come from the higher priced items like flights, merely because to collect air miles from more than one airline would be impractical and expensive, however, for the masses, price often determines loyalty where flights are concerned.
In most cases loyalty can only be earned, not purchased. Bad service or serious dissatisfaction with a product will break loyalty every time, unless loyalty is regained by solving the problem well. So, unless you run an airline or a supermarket you must find some REALISTIC, PRACTICAL, ACHIEVABLE, MAINTAINABLE and LASTING ways to earn your customer’s loyalty. How can you do this? It’s simple really, but it’s not easy for most people. Loyalty is an ongoing process in which you have to earn the right, not expect it. So many business owners, sales people and managers kid themselves that they are doing enough, but if that were the case, they would never lose a customer and they would be consistently taking most of the customers away from their competition.
Consider those people and businesses to whom you are loyal. Why are you loyal to them? What do they do that earns your loyalty? What could they do to lose your loyalty? What could happen that would change your loyalty in some way?
There is a company from whom I have purchased stationary for many years. It is not a big multinational. It is a growing family owned and run business. I know the owner personally and I consider him to be my friend. He gives me great service and good discounts. I trust him, I admire his values and the way he treats me as a customer, I like him and his staff and I would never go anywhere else, even if price were an issue. And if it were, I know that I could talk to him about it and he would do all that he could to bring the price down, if that were possible. Not only am I loyal to him, I RECOMMEND HIM EVERYWHERE AND TO EVERYONE I CAN!
So, what is loyalty? LOYALTY IS HOW SOMEONE FEELS ABOUT YOUR COMPANY, YOUR PRODUCT AND YOUR SERVICE, BUT MOST OF ALL IT’S ABOUT HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT YOU!
Human beings are emotionally driven most of the time. Their loyalty goes in the direction of their most heartening emotions?
I once heard that 86% of all the decisions that human beings make are based on emotion, NOT LOGIC! Let’s look at that for a moment?
Probably two of the biggest decisions that we make in our life are centered around marriage and purchasing houses and cars. We will leave house buying out at this stage. What drives those decisions? Is it emotion or is it logic?
Let’s take cars first.
If you were to buy a car based on logic, then you would purchase one that:
But of course, that is not why we buy the cars that we buy is it? In fact, statistically speaking, the cheapest selling car is not the highest selling car. Most people buy cars for a whole number of different reasons, including colour, engine size, not to mention the ‘look-good’ and ‘feel-good’ factors.
Now let?s look at marriage
If human beings were purely logical about marriage then they would:
But that is not what happens. We meet someone, we fall in love and get married.
I think you get the idea. So remember that when you take anyone away from the comfort of their place them in front of an office desk and give them responsibilities for business, that does not mean that they are going to suddenly become totally logical and change the way that they make decisions. It merely means that their emotional decisions are influenced by different factors and responsibilities.
Unless you take time out to think of creative and meaningful ways to earn your customer’s loyalty, you will eventually lose them to your competition. And be in no doubt, your competition are already knocking on their door and trying every trick in the book to take them away from you.
THE ONLY GOOD THING IS, THAT THEY TOO PROBABLY WON’T BE CONCENTRATING ON THE LOYALTY FACTOR UNTIL AFTER THEY GET THE BUSINESS, because loyalty is usually only earned after a sale.
So what can you do to earn the loyalty of your customers?
Below is an outline of 3 of my top 10 tips for earning the right to have loyal customers. All ten are available on the AimHi audio '10 Ways To GUARANTEE Customer Loyalty'. You may want to check it out.
1. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO! Make sure that the cheques that you write with your words can be cashed by your performance. Your word IS WHO YOU ARE, so make sure that you are true to your word. Getting new customers is costly and hard work – keeping them is easier and less expensive.
2. Budget as much for keeping customers as you do for getting them – that includes an investment in effective staff training too.
3. Make sure that customers like you. People generally buy from people they like AND they are more likely to be loyal to them as a direct result.
From the AimHi audio '10 Ways To GUARANTEE Customer Loyalty'