To ensure the longevity of a business, you have to commit to your customers. It is no longer enough just to satisfy their needs. Even satisfying their needs will not guarantee that they will be repeat customers. They have to be compelled to come back again and again.
The quality of a business’ revenue is as important as its quantity and loyal customers represent quality revenue. Fred Reichheld, a New York Times best-selling author and speaker on business loyalty has spent many years investigating companies that get loyalty right. He has identified six common principles that these loyalty leaders share: They are:
- Practice what you preach
- Play to win-win
- Be picky
- Keep it simple
- Reward the right results
- Listen hard, talk straight
For now, we will look at the first three of these principles.
Practice What You Preach
With the pace at which the world is moving, it would be careless to let action be the only focus of a business. Every company has to have core values in order to prosper. A business has to deliver value to its customers and employees as well as to its investors.
Henry Ford once said “Business must be run at a profit else it will die. But when anyone tries to run a business solely for profit then also the business must die, for it no longer has a reason for existence”.
When a customer can relate to a business’ core values, they are more likely to come back again and again to give you quality revenue.
Play to Win-Win
Customer loyalty is closely aligned with employee loyalty. Leaders with a sense of responsibility and commitment to treating people well are far more likely to attract and retain the right kind of team members. They will also command the respect of their employees who will see it as their own responsibility to fulfill the company’s mission and to deliver the best customer service possible.
Delivering superior customer service has immediate as well as long term benefits to employees. When the level of service is right, there is almost always an immediate appreciation from the customer.
Making a commitment to your team and your customers is a win-win situation. The customer is happy and team members feel a sense of ownership and purpose. Your business will ultimately gain the trust of its two biggest assets ie the customers and team members.
Contrary to popular belief, not every customer is going to be right for your business and that’s ok. What this means is that your business absolutely, positively must be clear about which customers it can satisfy. It must also be able to commit to surpassing their expectations of customer service. This is what will distinguish your satisfied customers from your loyal customers.
Being picky also applies to your team as well. Be picky about who you hire. You owe it to your business, your customers and other team members. Membership to your business should be seen as a privilege as people are more likely to value what they have to work hard for to earn. It also means that they will live and breathe your core values and deliver outstanding customer service.
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