Building Customer Loyalty

We all know that it’s less expensive to sell a product or service to a customer who is already loyal to you than to someone who isn’t familiar with you or your offerings at all. But how can you take your current customers and work towards building customer loyalty to you?

A personal story about Fitbit and the service recovery paradox

Let me start by telling you a story. I got my Fitbit Flex in January of 2014. Within a few months, the battery would no longer hold a charge, which I found extremely frustrating. My first thought was to go back to the store I purchased it at to see if they would replace it – I had no such luck. My second course of action was getting in touch with the manufacturer themselves. Within less than a day of reaching out to them, I got a response. Soon, a replacement Flex was on it’s way to me in the mail.

With how Fitbit managed my problem, they were able to turn my disappointment that the product was no longer functioning into excitement that a company actually wanted to work with me to fix the issue. Now, in my mind I have this company associated with a positive action, and I have more loyalty towards them; I know that if I run into any additional issues with any additional products I purchase, they will be willing to help me out again. I feel that I’m dealing with a company that actually cares, and I can tell you that the next time I need a new wearable fitness device, I will definitely be getting another Fitbit.

This illustrates one way in which a company can help build the loyalty of existing customers, particularly through what is known as the service recovery paradox. (The service recovery paradox occurs when a there is an error with a product or service that is typically out of the company’s control, and when the company fixes the error the customer thinks more highly of the company than if no error had ever happened.)

Looking out for the customer’s best interests

Let’s look at a different example. You know the movie Miracle on 34th Street – in this movie, Santa is working for Macy’s. When kids start asking him for toys that Macy’s doesn’t carry, he tells their parents where they can find those toys At first, his supervisor is furious… until someone comes up to him and let’s him know that they’ll always shop at Macy’s now because someone was willing to tell her where she could purchase that specific product.

You obviously know about your competition, and what products/services they sell. You’re also going to know how they stack up to yours, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Being transparent with your customers, and telling them what is in their best interest – i.e. if a product wouldn’t suit their needs – is going to help them build trust in you. Don’t just try to get the sale, if you know your product isn’t going to make your customer happy. Instead, try recommending them what would work better for them. Your clients will remember this.

One question to always keep in mind is, is what you are telling them in their best interest? Are you going to be making them happy?

Some additional ways to improve customer loyalty

I’ve outlined the two above because I feel that they can encompass a lot of what can be done to build that loyalty towards your company. These should both be very easy things to implement once you get into the mindset of doing them – the main thing to remember is to always be doing what is going to make your customer feel important and not just like another sale. Some additional things that can be done include:

  • Responding to customer email and phone calls within a timely manner
  • Deliver on all promises that you make towards a customer
  • Stay in touch with your customers
  • Get personal with the customers

What about you – how have you been building customer loyalty lately?

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