By now you have probably heard the “R” word. The papers, magazines, TV and radio are all talking about it. So it must be true, right?
So if we are entering a recession, does that mean all businesses are going to suffer? My guess is while many will, there are an elite few that will thrive in this downturn. The truth is in every industry and in every economy there are winner companies that do far better than their competitors. Sometimes these companies go beyond one downturn (there’s always someone who can ride a trend) and be a perennial favorite. What does it take to be one of those businesses?
Many businesses I talk with believe loyalty is a myth. With the globalization of our economy and the commoditization of goods and services, many believe the customer only sticks around until someone else lowers the price. What most are missing is VALUE. If there is no discernible value in the product or service offered, it would be foolish to pay more than the lowest price. The purpose of the business is to create value in their product or service, thus creating loyalty. So how do you do that?
- What do your customers want? Seems like an easy question to answer, but it’s not. Truth is, many businesses don’t know. Most will tell me its their quality or service. Guess what. ALMOST EVERYBODY says its their quality and service. So if everybody says they have the best quality and service, how do you make your decision?
- Deliver customer expectations + 1. Customers are loyal when somebody wows their socks off. Buying is an emotional decision. The stronger your positive emotional connection is to the customer, the more likely you will have them coming back to you again and again.
- Stop measuring customer satisfaction. Companies spend millions each year on this. If somebody sends me one more survey to measure my satisfaction I’ll scream! Just because the customer is satisfied doesn’t mean they are loyal. Even IF they say they will recommend you to a friend in your survey. Unless you really suck we all say that.
- Create a clear Vision. Where are you going? What do you want your company to become? Create some clarity for the direction of your company by creating a Vision that means something to you. Put away the thesaurus and clearly define what you are passionate about becoming. Nobody reads, nor do they remember, a vision statement that is a page long and requires a Rhode’s Scholar to interpret.
- Start Loyalty From Within. If your people don’t buy your BS, nobody else will. Your business has to be a place where people want to work. It should be fun! People should be bragging to their friends that they have such a great job, that they love the people they work with, that they are given the freedom to be successful, and that they are passionate about what they do. No internal loyalty = no customer loyalty.
- Change your attitude. You are probably still thinking that it (creating loyalty) can’t be done. That’s your reality, and as long as you always believe that, you will never prove me wrong. In order to get different results, you have to believe other possibilities exist.
Now you have a choice. You can live in a recession and struggle to get by, or you can make things happen to grow your business. The more loyal customers you have, the greater your chances for success. Still don’t believe loyalty exists? Better go see Steve Jobs. There are MP3 players and there is the IPod. Which do you have?
Popularity: 8% [?]