December 11, 2012 | Eric Head

Happy Satisfaction to All, and to All…Truly Loyal Customers

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Before Thanksgiving, Jeff Haden answered a reader’s question in a great Inc.article, “How to Cultivate Truly Loyal Customers.”

It’s great article that outlines the four basic forms of customer loyalty: Purchased, Convenience, Restricted, and True.

True loyalty through customer satisfaction is what all companies should strive to earn regardless of what industry they’re in or whether they are multi-channel (web, mobile, store, contact center, social media, etc.) or single-channel (if such a thing even exist anymore) businesses. It comes down to satisfaction – knowing the needs and wants of your customers and then providing an experience that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Purchased loyalty and Convenience loyalty are not sustainable…as soon as another company offers a better discount or makes the purchase of their goods and services more convenient, your customer is at risk to defect.  Even in a Restricted loyalty scenario, there may not be as much freedom of choice for your consumer, but there is probably “freedom of channel” and you may not be optimizing operational costs if satisfaction isn’t the focus.

How to cultivate truly loyal customersWe can look at retail stores as an example. People shop at a Nordstrom store for a certain type of experience, right? It’s quiet, has soft lighting, nice atmosphere, exceptional customer service, and so on. Now, imagine walking into a Nordstrom store that was a loud, cavernous warehouse, had forklifts prowling through isles, and where you carry your luxury brand items out in a brown box that may have just housed 100 roles of bathroom tissue. If you wanted a Costco experience you would have gone to a Costco, right?

Not that there is anything wrong with either experience (both are great companies offering great experiences for THEIR customers), but what does that do to your satisfaction—your loyalty—after expecting one thing and getting something completely different? Are you going to return? Are you going to purchase or recommend to your family, friends and coworkers? My guess is probably not.

When you measure the right things, listen to you what YOUR customers want, and make improvements that increase the customer experience, you can then create and foster true loyalty. That is the ultimate goal.

Read Jeff Haden’s article and let me know what you think. Feel free to start a discussion below or contact me for more information.

So, in the spirit of the coming holidays: happy satisfaction to all, and to all truly loyal customers.

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About the Author

ForeSee | Eric Head

Eric joined ForeSee at its inception in 2001 and today leads new business efforts for the company. During his tenure, he has been a central figure in establishing the ForeSee sales engine, building the company’s core base of clients, building the company’s presence in the UK and Europe, and developing strategic partnerships. Eric also introduced ForeSee’s offline business including Store and Contact Center channels and is a frequent speaker on customer experience measurement. He earned a B.S. degree (Marketing) from Miami University and an MBA (Strategy & Marketing) from the University of Michigan.

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