MARKETING: Beyond Customer Service: Creating Customer Loyalty
Column by Elena Vasconez
"To be competitive in today's global and ever-changing economy, businesses need to produce a distinctive personal and emotional experience for each for their customers." -- Janelle Barlow and Dianna Maul, Emotional Value: Creating Strong Bonds with your Customers.
Barlow and Maul's thoughts are timely and profound. In a world of mediocre and indifferent service, we can immediately identify businesses that consistently create a unique and personal experience for every customer, and they do it every time. These businesses stand out because of those unique customer experiences, and as customers, we look forward to going back to those companies and spending our time and money.
Customers want a hassle-free experience, as well as to be individually recognized and treated with respect. Research shows that 96 percent of customers who are not treated with respect just decide to never go back. Typically, customers will not complain because complaining just adds to the hassle of an already bad experience; 6 out of 10 customers will never return to a business based on poor service, not poor products. Customers want a positive experience and want to deal with a service provider that has empathy and understands how they feel, and they want a service provider who creates strong points of connection.
How do you and your business create this type of exceptional experience for your customers? What are the necessary ingredients?
It starts by creating an emotionally positive experience for customers every time they come in contact with anything that has to do with your business. In essence, you are creating a point of connection every time a customer interacts with your business. The customer's perception of that connection point, whether positive or negative, will be what he or she remembers. Every point of connection with a customer is unique to them. Positively connecting with a customer needs to be every service provider's objective and an objective of everyone within the business. Creating positive points of connection will create the foundation for the ultimate service outcome -- customer loyalty.