Loyalty

In his blog today, Seth Godin, writes about loyalty. He states that there are two kinds of loyalty:

  1. Loyalty of convenience
  2. Loyalty of “I’m not even looking”

I’m certain we all understand the loyalty of convenience. Our lives are so busy that changing something that is working even reasonably well, doesn’t seem like an attractive option.

Change can be difficult to begin with, but just think how difficult it is to change a banking relationship. New forms to fill out, new checks to order, new credit cards to wait for and no past history to draw upon when a loan may be needed. Even if you are less than happy with your current banking relationship, the likelihood of changing it is small. That’s the loyalty of convenience and I think we all have many of those types of relationships.

Do you have any service or product relationships that are so valuable you would never think of changing under any circumstance? Many years ago, I had a relationship like that with a local, independently owned and operated, dry cleaner. They charged more than the chains, but in the 20 years I was their customer, I never had a complaint.

When my dry cleaning was returned to me any loose buttons had been fixed, unraveling hems mended, pilling had been removed and when you stopped in to drop off or pick up, they were so genuinely happy to see you, that it could brighten your day. You were always greeted by name and with a smile. And, by the way, you never had to request all of those extra touches – they just did them.

They knew my childrens’ names, asked about recent vacations and were concerned over any health issues we were dealing with. They could have charged me 2 or 3 times what they were charging and I would have never left. The only reason the relationship ended was because they retired and sold the business to someone who didn’t continue the special things that bought that type of loyalty. It was easy to leave.

Anyone who owns or manages a business, dreams of the “I’m not even looking” loyal customer. And, all of our mission statements convey our commitment to customer satisfaction. But, are we as committed, like my dry cleaner, to insuring that each and every interaction exceeds what our customers are expecting and desiring?

For those clients who purchase significant amounts from you, pay their bills on time, look on the relationship as a true partnership and understand that you need to earn a fair profit, we should be willing to go to the mat for them.

For those clients who purchase only when the price is the cheapest, don’t pay promptly, are unwilling to forgive an error even when it is made right  and who seem to live to make everyone’s life unbearable, we should be willing to let them go. Let your competitor knock themselves out on the hamster wheel of trying to please someone who will never be pleased.

Figure out why your best customers are your best customers and go find others who have the same characteristics. Ask those valued clients what they love about you and then repeat that behavior over and over again. Also, don’t forget to always be looking for additional ways to honor their loyalty.

Build your processes, procedures, customer service training and employee education around turning those awesome customers into the “I’m not even looking” loyal faction that every successful business needs.

The beauty of those types of customers, beyond the joy you get from serving them, is that they tell everyone they know about you. Just like I used to tell everyone about my dry cleaner!

If you are currently one of those awesome customers that we serve – thank you again! And, here’s notice that we’re looking to knock ourselves out to keep you thrilled with the products and services you allow us to provide to you and your organizations!

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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