With a World of Choices, Why Commit?


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It makes you wonder why anyone is loyal to a product or a brand – or better yet more than one product or brand.

Loyalty is something that so many desire?and for humans, it doesn’t come nearly as easy as it does for man’s best friend.

I consider myself loyal to a select few – For example, I think Fresh Step works better than any other kitty litter – and I continue to buy it, despite the fact that it’s rarely ever discounted and coupons for it are far and few between….Sure, they have “Paw Points” and after stacking up a whole lot of points, you can get a free 14 lb box (which by the way, are extremely hard to find, as the most common size is 20 lb). With that said, the sad reality is – if I found another kitty litter that worked just as good – I’d switch in a heartbeat. Lucky for the Fresh Step folks I’ve tried others, and there’s nothing that compares!

So, for me – as far as the kitty litter goes, it’s about the product and the quality of that product, but for most products (and services) there are so many choices, it makes it hard for anyone to decide, let alone commit. Also, in today’s budget conscious society, everyone’s offering you a deal (think Groupon, Living Social and Black Friday, the holy grail of discount shopping).

Not to mention, each day Americans are exposed to thousands of paid marketing messages all vying to get your attention…It’s only a wonder brand loyalty is at an all time low.

Now, that’s not to say, there aren’t loyal customers (more loyal than me for sure), and that your brand doesn’t deserve loyal customers – because if you have a solid product or products?and your company provides excellent service than it does, indeed.

It’s also important to point out how critical loyal customers are to a brand, as they tend to buy more?and more often. They tend to be less swayed by the discounts and promotions offered by your competitors and in many cases, they will even help market your brand or product for you.

According to Dr. Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a brand research company, a 5% increase in loyalty can result in as much as a 95% profit increase.

So what can you do, do find and keep loyal customers? There are a thousand things you can do, but it’s important to start with the basics and then progress from there.

Don’t Suck – People like to talk about negative things – especially when it has affected them negatively. Venting makes people feel better (can you say…revenge?)

Deliver Excellent Service – Make excellent customer service part your company’s overall mission – don’t just teach it and preach it – practice it, model it, reward it and continuously improve it.

Deliver an Unbeatable Product – Like (in my opinion) Fresh Step kitty litter. By developing something that stands far above the competition, you will have a substantial competitive advantage.

Reward Your Customers – Know who your best customers are and treat them as such?80% of sales will likely come from the top 20% of your customers.

Listen?and Respond?to?all?Your Customers – It is important to listen to your customers. This can help you improve when something goes wrong; however, it is equally as important to reach out to those that take the time to compliment you as well. Besides, saying thank you – find out why they were so pleased – what went right and then figure out how to replicate that for future successes.

Be Exceptional – Think outside the box, be creative, take a risk – or simply do what you do better than your competition. For example, many credit card companies offer concierge services, some charge a significant fee?while others provide concierge services free to their customers. In some cases, you can’t tell many of them apart, as the differences between many of the credit card concierge programs are superficial and there’s not a whole lot of advantage from one to the next. This doesn’t have to be the case – and all you have to do is clearly define your value proposition, ensure that it is relevant to your target audience, and train each and every one of your concierges to stand out and be exceptional.

Be Innovative – To build on to the previous example, let’s say that 80% of your customers travel to New York City – Why not take the time to find out what’s hot in NYC, strike some deals and create some memorable experiences that no one else is offering. Next time one of those customers calls and you offer them a one of a kind experience, they will be delighted?regardless of whether they decide to partake in the experience or not.

Stay Front of Mind – Even when they’re not buying. Build relationships with your customers – before, during and after the sale. Not only will this help them to remember you – they will appreciate the fact that you care.

These are only a few of the many things you can do to build customer loyalty. We didn’t even touch on loyalty programs – because, in my opinion, loyalty programs are second to the fundamental basics of building and maintaining loyalty.

What do you think is the most important way to build and maintain loyalty?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Erika Blanchard
Erika Blanchard is the manager of digital marketing and social media for VIPdesk, a leading provider of Virtual Contact Center, Concierge and Loyalty Program Solutions. She is an experienced marketing and management professional with a passion for customer service and social media who has authored several eBooks and guides on Social Media and Web Apps.


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