3 Tips to Bolster Customer Loyalty
Your most important asset in eliciting customer loyalty is your company's relationship with the customer. But relationships aren't measured in a net promoter score or customer satisfaction rating. They're earned by cultivating a culture and a set of business processes that deliver a customer experience users will pay for. Here are three tips for growing revenues faster with loyal customers:
1. Ease Transitions
As customers are passed from marketing to sales to product delivery and then to support, each hand-off introduces a risk; a risk that relationships diminish, customers start to second-guess their choices, or a decision is made to make the vendor relationship short-term instead of a corporate standard.
Our first tip is to storyboard the process of customer hand-offs. Take a step back and see where the gaps and inconsistencies are in the customer experience. We can minimize disruption to the customer with smoother hand-offs by passing on contextual information so the relationship can grow, instead of reset, with each hand-off.
2. Relationships Matter
Vendors are emotionally beholden to their passion for the product, but our research with the F100 shows the product is only about 20 percent of what customers are paying for. Customers want a partner in their success—someone who will help them advance professionally, network with their colleagues and showcase their successes to their bosses.
Relationships can't be acted. They come from the heart. Chemistry is one of the things customers are testing during a trial phase. Our second tip is to consider having an independent party assess the corporate culture and how to modify incentives or attitudes to foster genuine relationships with customers.
3. Listen More
In the digital age, it is tempting to use automated surveys, Twitter analytics and customer relationship management tools to replace real human interaction. These are all useful tools, but none can replace real, genuine and in-depth conversations. One of the most under-utilized tools is doing qualitative interviews with clients to really understand the customer.
The final tip is to really listen to your customers, even the unhappy ones. Real, in-person interviews aren't swayed by customers looking for a quick raffle ticket or wanting to avoid reprimanding their support agents.
By looking at the customer experience holistically, we can align the company with the customer's point of view, building stronger relationships that improve the bottom line.