How to create customer loyalty
Years ago, my mother and father, who were very astute entrepreneurs, taught me the advantage of courtesy. As a young child, I was privileged, during school vacations, to be able to go on business trips with them, and I had the good fortune to learn from their example.
Several times I questioned why they were so nice to prospective customers who were rude and aggressive, and their answer was always, “What goes around comes around!” And more often than not, these prospects came to be part of my parents’ loyal-customer family.
I had a not-too-nice shopping experience recently when a salesperson made it perfectly clear that she was at work by default. She really wanted to be under a sun umbrella on a beach somewhere far away. I am a pretty loyal customer of that business, and I know that not all their frontline team members have issues with being at work, but if this had been my first visit to the company, my three-second first impression would have encouraged me to run away to a different store to spend my money.
Common courtesy before, during, and after a sale not only leads to business growth but also to recommendations and referrals. No one wants to hear the words “it’s not my department.” Prospects and customers would rather be told, “Absolutely, let me get to work on that for you,” or “I will do my best to get the information (product/service) you need,” or even “I will find out and get back to you right away.” Manners count. A positive attitude counts.
A customer who is content and happy with products and service from a business will tell a couple of people how pleased they are. On the other hand, people who are unhappy will tell everyone they meet about their bad experiences. From the customer’s perspective, the employee that he or she is working with is the company. Customers want and expect courtesy, concern, and knowledge with their sales experiences.
Courtesy helps to build rapport with customers and make customers feel valuable. A company’s culture is interpreted by customers in every direct and indirect experience.
My parents always had a pipeline full of business. Their working behaviors followed some good old-fashioned principles like:
- Exceed customers’ expectations.
- Live by the golden rule.
- Share product knowledge.
- Treat customers like good friends.
- Do whatever it takes to make a customer happy.
They went above and beyond to make sure that every customer interaction was a good one, and every sale brought lots of follow-up and caring. What goes around comes around … and always came around in a positive way for them.
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