Loyalty and commitment are the most important traits that we seek, be it in relationships or in the businesses we run. In fact, for most people loyalty and love go hand in hand.
Today, with a plethora of options on offer, consumers have become more flirtatious than ever! The choices available to them not only confuse them but also does not let them stick to initial choices. There is always a thought playing at the back of their minds: “What if I can get something better?” Hence, today, businesses are finding it harder to retain that old-fashioned love for their brand among consumers.
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Let us break the news to you: there is no fixed formula to make this happen. The fact is that there are relationships that are built on love, loyalty and commitment, which are the results of committed efforts put in by brands over the years.
Peter Sage, an extreme entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, implores marketers and businesses, on his vlog, to ask the right questions that can help them retain and build loyalty. Here are a few of them:
- How can I add value to the people who are gracious enough to give me their money? How can I serve the needs of my customers over and above what they are expecting? How can I create value for people in a way that makes them go WOW?
- Such questions force us to step outside of our traditional ways of thinking. If you are talking to a customer on the phone and they cough, would you go the extra mile and send them a packet of throat sweets or follow up with a mail asking him if he was feeling better? Actions like these may not cost you much, but they have dramatic effects on your brand. It tells the consumer that you care for him beyond just a monetary transaction. By such a small act, you have not just retained the customer; you have secured a loyal customer and created a brand advocate.
- Should you be competing on price? If you are playing this game to spike up sales, remember that genuine love from your customers for your brand is at stake.
- How can I teach my staff to hunt for opportunities to impress? All it takes is a little more listening than talking, a little bit of thinking and a little bit of initiative.
Let me tell you my recent experience that shows how you can lose a loyal consumer in a split second. There is a restaurant that I frequently visit as I love the great food served there. The last time I went there, the buffet was about to shut in five minutes. The restaurant was nearly empty. I requested for the buffet and the staff said, “Please take whatever you want, as we shut in the next five minutes.” I asked them if they could make an exception of 10 minutes as I was a regular customer. “Sorry, ma’am. Not possible,” came the cold reply. While I love the food there, I also go for the fine dining experience they offer. They lost a regular customer as all other available choices immediately came to my rescue.
On the other hand, here’s another experience I had with a certain brand that constantly reinvents itself to understand my skin care needs. They introduce me to their new range of products not by pushing me to buy them but by giving me samples to try and share my feedback. I am warmly welcomed to their store every time I visit them. Honestly, even though I do experiment with other brands, I find myself returning to this particular brand because of their impeccable service.
While there are a thousand ways to build loyalty among your consumers, the core of retaining customers is about going that extra mile. Along the way, never stop asking yourself:
Am I delighting my customers in a way that moves them emotionally beyond the functional experience of my product or service?
The mantra is simple: we all love people who love us without any motives or hidden agendas!