There are almost as many definitions of customer loyalty as there are companies which try to build and sustain the concept. Some of the components are common, however. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The first component is dependability.
What do many companies mean when they strive to be recognized as dependable? In essence, it means simply that customers may rely on your word. If you say you are going to do something, you may be depended upon to actually do it.
Reliability is the second component.
Very similar to dependability, but the difference, while small, can be important. When you indicate you will do something, not only do you do it, but your customer can rely on the result. If you say you will deliver your product or service at a certain time, your customers will rely on that. The quality of performance will be as promised, and the costs will be as expected in your proposal or offering.
Third, quality and consistency are components of customer loyalty.
The quality of your performance must be as represented in your communication to the customer. Obviously, you shouldn’t promise one thing and deliver something different. Beyond that, you should deliver the same level of quality and service every time. Being a consistent supplier of a known level of quality and performance is a key to having good customer service. McDonalds delivers a known level of quality in its food and beverage services. The quality is good, tastes are consistent, and everyone knows exactly what they are getting. While it doesn’t compare in taste with high-end restaurants, people go there because they get what they expect. Every time, McDonalds meets their customers’ expectations with expected consistency and at a price they’re willing to pay.
Finally, attitude is also a component.
The attitude that your people have towards your customers can make a significant difference in your customers’ perceptions A pleasant greeting can go a long way towards influencing how your customers perceive your company. Someone who is grouchy can change a customer’s perception in an instant. Be sure that your employees treat customers with courtesy and respect.
While this is not an extensive exposition on customer loyalty, it does capture some of the essence of good service.
These characteristics encompass some of the key concepts which go into building customer loyalty. Be sure your performance is consistently dependable and reliable. Additionally, you should include these key concepts in your internal training and education of your staff to build and reinforce them. You might also include them in your strategic plan as a part of personnel development and training.
I’d love to hear any stories of things that have led you to great success. And – of course – if you’d like assistance developing these skills, please reach out to me for workshops, coaching and consulting assistance. If you’d like to learn more about creating customer loyalty, Simplified Strategic Planning is a great place to start. For great ideas on how to improve the quality of your planning, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to take advantage of the Early Bird discount below.
Dana Baldwin is Senior Strategist with the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.