Winning customer loyalty

Newtown Storefront_1Entrepreneur magazine writer Micah Solomon stated there are several important elements retailers need to concentrate on in order to gain customer loyalty. A successful organization must anticipate customer wishes, provide fast service, and dedicate themselves to acknowledging each returning customer. Solomon also contends businesses need to perfect the ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ for customers, develop the customer service vocabulary, and work very diligently to hire the best personnel who will enhance their organizations, and not merely just answer the phone with stock replies, or pass a complaint on to another representative.

So how does a business show customers they really care? Many retailers have recognition and reward programs. Of course the reward programs were started to collect customer data and track spending habits, but don’t we all get tired of our key fobs full of little plastic attachments we need to scan at every store? While unpacking after my recent move, my assistant counted nearly 200 discount cards that I have accumulated these last few years. I don’t use them; unless there is some significant value or some kind of emotional connection to a particular organization.

In my own experience, when I shop, I know what I want to buy, I know the quality I can expect from the money I plan to spend for the product or service, and I know how I want to be treated when I shop for that particular product. Those become the retailers who win my customer loyalty.

Specifically reward programs like PetSmart where I save a few dollars off a bag of dog food is not a bad thing, but wouldn’t it be more significant to some of us if we purchased 20 bags of Wellness Dog Food and then qualified for a free dog grooming? On a larger scale, hotels that have reward programs may discount a room, but discounts are all over the Internet these days and many times it becomes very confusing as to whom is offering what and where. I contend it’s the personal connection that wins my loyalty, and if a hotel dispatched a limo at the end of my stay to take me back to the airport, that would significantly make a bigger impact on me than the $50 off of my room tab.

Bottom line – it’s about feeling a connection. In a very popular Palm Beach boutique that admittedly we all spend too much money at – the owner frequently hosts delicious luncheons when she introduces a trunk show or a new line. There’s no doubt about it – a Mimosa and a credit card and a businesswoman dedicated to making her customers happy stands out among the crowd.

photo credit: variationblogr

One Response to “Winning customer loyalty”

  1. Seth Brink said:

    Jun 20, 11 at 10:06 pm

    Cheryl…I agree that many businesses frequent visitors programs are off of the mark. When I go to a store knowing that I have to use a generic key fob that anyone can get to get the best price it is a bit demeaning. The best loyalty programs realize your loyalty without you going out of your way to highlight it.

    Thanks for the insight….Seth