Customer loyalty built on company focus

I grew up in a very small town where we were mostly limited to one grocery store, one department store, one morning restaurant, and even one book store. There was no problem with customer loyalty because the stores had no competition, that is – until the appearance of the mall. Then came Publix, Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles, and a plethora of department stores. Add to that the introduction of on-line commerce, and then the  new competition freed us from the once limited choices of our “home-grown” stores.  Some of the original stores remained; the village atmosphere and the small town appeal most likely spared them from going the route of the dinosaur, but so did the individual customer-centric attitudes of the small shops. How do we duplicate this in the new economy?

I’m not sure if the limited choices of my home town counted as customer loyalty; but nevertheless brand promises are what shapes customer expectations, and trust is what brings in the maximum customer profits. When the little town had little stores, each store owner knew their customer.  Store owners were obligated to listen to their customers. Shouldn’t business still be able to adhere to being customer-centric except employ some modern technology to help?

In order to become customer-centric, it is necessary to know the customer and to appreciate what the customer wants and make it easier and better for the customer. The most knowledgeable part of any company’s staff are those who work directly with the customers. These are the employees who can and will provide the most relevant insight and can share stories and experiences with the rest of the staff to help everyone live up to the brand promises.

The marketing staff for sales and service can relate knowledge through the internet, newsletters, and staff meetings. Wouldn’t it be helpful if weekly newsletters went out to everyone in a company from those staff members who have direct links and exposure to customers and be able to link problems, accomplishments, and experiences to the human resources, operations, technology, engineering, finance and even accounting offices? The entire company can then realize the customer’s priorities and needs. Customer loyalty is still alive; we just need companies to revisit some of the principles of the past.

photo credit: JSmith Photo

2 Responses to “Customer loyalty built on company focus”

  1. Walking the Store – Retail news, insights and inspirations » Customer loyalty built on company focus said:

    Apr 16, 10 at 1:57 pm

    […] I grew up in a very small town where we were mostly limited to one grocery store, one department sto… […]

  2. Coconect.com said:

    Apr 30, 10 at 2:14 am

    “When the little town had little stores, each store owner knew their customer.” I think this is very true. Every customer wants to be remembered and treated like a friend – something most business owners often forget.