Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) January 12, 2005
Have some New YearÂs resolutions regarding career or business success? According to customer care leadership expert JoAnna Brandi, in todayÂs high-speed, competitive market youÂd be crazy not to Â and even crazier not to keep Âcustomer loyaltyÂ front and center of your intentions.
She explains, ÂFormer Dell CIO Jerry Gregoire alluded to the critical importance of achieving customer loyalty when he said, ÂThe customer experience is the next competitive battleground.Â Amen! The customer experience makes or breaks customer loyalty. With so many choices today, itÂs the quality of the experience Â how you repeatedly make your customers feel at each and every touchpoint Â that will determine whether or not theyÂll come back, purchase more, and refer their colleagues and friends to you.Â
Brandi cautions that itÂs all about your customersÂ ÂperceptionÂ of the value you deliver, both tangible and intangible. She says, ÂYou may think you know the kind of customer experience youÂre delivering, and that your customers share your views. You may think that because your customers stick around and donÂt complain they are loyal.
ÂBe careful not to mistake customer inertia for loyalty. It's easy to do. Remember that loyalty is a genuine emotional attachment that occurs when your customers appreciate the value of your product or service, as well as way you deliver it. Because they repeatedly feel powerful, positive emotions in dealing with you they'll choose you above your competitors - even if they have to go out of their way or pay a bit more.
ÂPlus, loyal customers become your #1 fans - they enjoy telling others about their experiences with your company, and are quick to encourage people to try your service or product.Â
According to Brandi, strong customer loyalty feeds into a profit-building business cycle in a number of common sense ways:
1) Loyal customers buy more Â and are often willing to pay more. This creates a steadier cash flow.
2) Loyal customers refer others to your business Â saving you the marketing and advertising costs of acquiring customers.
3) Loyal customers are more forgiving when you make mistakes Â even big ones (especially if you have a system in place that empowers employees to correct errors on the spot. Then loyal customers become even more loyal!).
4) A loyal customerÂs endorsement can surpass the most extravagant marketing efforts. Proof of the pudding: A low-budget film can become a blockbuster hit thanks to positive word of mouth (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Mega stars and publicity blitzes canÂt prevent high-profile films from tanking (Alexander the Great); the word Âon the streetÂ is more powerful.
5) Thriving companies with high customer loyalty usually have loyal employees who are genuinely engaged in their work Â and loyal employees save you money in a variety of ways. You donÂt have to spend money attracting, hiring and training new employees, and you have knowledgeable people at all levels of the organization serving the customers and each other. And those employees get very smart over time - in a culture that values them and their contributions they can be responsible for countless system improvements Â and millions in savings.
6) Thriving companies with high customer and employee loyalty are generally known to outpace their competitors in innovation. (Think Gore-Tex, Southwest Airlines (the twenty minute turn-around), Progressive insurance) In addition, their cultures support continuous learning. Brandi comments, ÂIn todayÂs market, if youÂre not continuously learning and innovating, thereÂs no question that youÂre falling behind.Â
7) Loyal customers understand your processes and can offer suggestions for improvement. Their feedback can help with R&D efforts as well as improvement efforts.
8) Profits, Profits, and did we say Profits? An increase in your retention of customers can boost your bottom line profit 25-100% depending on your fixed costs.
Based on these benefits and more, Brandi advises, ÂMake this the Year of the Customer, and youÂre much more likely to achieve your New YearÂs business resolutions.Â
For the month of January, Brandi is offering free copies of ÂThe Nine Foundation Principles of Exquisite Customer Care,Â a list of essential qualities for creating loyalty-building customer experiences and thriving organizations. To obtain a copy, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and place ÂThe Nine Foundation PrinciplesÂ in the subject line.
The Customer Care CoachÂ® is a customer care leadership training program for managers. For more information, visit http://www.customercarecoach.com/welcome.asp or contact Tracey Paradiso at email@example.com.
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