Image by: Dell Inc.
By Michael Sterling
Consumer loyalty is one of the most important things any business owner should have. According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. The customers you gain are build by the ones you’ve gained. Your business is only as good as its current customers, so you might as well start making them happy. Here’s how the professionals do it:
#1) Create A Home
It’s more than just creating a satisfactory product, fantastic delivery deals, and awesome customer service. No one is going to feel the need to share their experience on Twitter or Facebook, much less return time and time again. It needs to be more. It needs to be above and beyond. It needs to feel like home.
When Horst Schulze created the Ritz Carlton brand, he didn’t seek out to create a giant hotel. No giant conventions or giant waiting periods, and it’s this strategy he is also taking with him for his other venture, Capella Hotels.
“Our studies show [guests] do not want large hotels,” Schulze said to Forbes, “They want the infrastructure of a large hotel (spa, restaurant, etc) and they want activity and privacy at the same time.
Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re one in a million, but rather one in one. This is the feeling of being “at home.” Embrace and welcome their service, keep in touch with them, be ecstatic when they return, and they’ll do the same for you. Ultimately they will take this feeling and act as an ambassador for your company.
#2) Be A Problem Solver & Don’t Be Afraid To Apologize
Serial entrepreneur Inderjit Singh consistently says to “follow your heart, look for a good idea, create a great team, use technology to your advantage, and go change your world and the world.”
Those who seek to solve problems instead of finding the “next big thing” are often left miles ahead of the competition. Consumers want to be a part of a company that helps them, not continuously prove how greedy or desperate they are for their money. Many times, though we think we may have killer services, there will always be mistakes. And that’s okay.
There will be times when you’re late, uncaring, or imperfect either with services or in the products. An effective and complete problem solving strategy includes documentation and other oft-overlooked steps, but most importantly it starts with an apology. The entrepreneur’s heart must be woven from the same cloth as his customers.
#3) Don’t Aim For “Perfect,” Aim For An “Experience”
Perfect is always in the eye of the beholder, and what’s important to note is that “perfect” is impossible to reach. It’s a constant journey to reach perfection. A supermodel can seemingly have the most perfect body in the world, but there will always be something that can be fixed. It’s the same for you company. Don’t focus on making it perfect, otherwise you’ll be chasing a fantasy.
Instead, reroute your focus on making it an experience. The only way of doing that is by giving them exactly what they’re looking for in a satisfactory way. No matter how “perfect” the product may be, if it’s not what they’re looking for, it won’t be a good experience. This is what they take away.
#4) Stay True To Your Brand
No matter how successful you become, the original image of what you were should always be important. It’s how you got to where you are, and those customers will never forget. According to statistics from Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
By pleasing the people who’ve seen you through the hard times, you’re likely to gain more profit and spend less money. Their perspective is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Though you might want to do a few minor adjustments, never let it lose its heart and soul.