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Generating Customer Loyalty

Aug 17, 2007
Becoming and staying customer-intimate requires more than building client knowledge and having expertise in re-engineering our customers business processes. We must offer more than just service. We need to maintain a broad product line that can be configured to the specific needs of a customer. It is important to know that an average product tailored to a customers very specific need is often better than the more advanced, but inflexible, product. Many times organizations are not obsessed by the leading edge; rather they embrace solid, tested products that can be tailored to fit their needs like a glove. It is important for us to produce unmatched value for our customers who do not necessarily want the very latest product - just the best result and help in obtaining it.

1. It is necessary to understand the importance of empowerment and the critical role of individual initiative. It can be summed up in a one-word motto = THINK. It is important for us to be disciplined in order to live out this motto everyday in our interactions with customers.

2. Client by client, we need to set targets for penetration, development, and growth. We need to use specific, detailed, and integrated customer data.

3. A challenge is to assemble, integrate, and retain talented people who can stay at the forefront of new paradigms and techniques that affect our customers business. Good ideas today are a dime a dozen. Brilliant concepts and practices are disseminated with stunning speed. Competitive benchmarking and best-practice studies have become standard elements in most organizations. But what is still in short supply, is the ability to effect change, to get things implemented, to make things happen. That is the value provided by being a customer- intimate company. Proof of our value is found only in results. The most cherished reward is a prize from a customer recognizing that our company has played an instrumental part in their success.

Stories abound in various companies about employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their customers. An example is a story about the Four Seasons Hotel doorman who found the briefcase of a guest who had already checked out. Assuming that it contained important papers, the doorman rushed to the airport, caught the next air shuttle, and delivered the briefcase to the forgetful fellow. Heroic? Well, yes. More important, though, the story adds to the mythology that typifies the way the hotel runs. The doorman is now an icon, not just an isolated character in a crazy story. The message to employees: Four Seasons Hotel customers deserve nothing less than service that dazzles, that awes. The point is that this mythology supports a strong culture, one that tells employees: Do whatever it takes to please the customer!

Ways of Showing Customers Our Loyalty:

1. Be a Communicator
Establish an ongoing customer information system that acknowledges the need to obtain and distribute information. Explain services available to them in language they can understand.

2. Be Reliable
Take full responsibility for customer satisfaction and for the quality of the product or service provided. Be consistent and dependable.

3. Be Responsive
Show your willingness and ability to provide prompt service.

4. Be Credible
Be trustworthy. Fulfill on promises and meet every requirement. Keep confidential all critical information shared.

5. Be Accessible
Provide ease for contacting. Be available and flexible when changes are necessary.

6. Be Competent
Know and understand the customers requirements and expectations. Ask questions.

7. Be Courteous
Show respect and friendliness at all times. Be appreciative - thank them for their business, for thorough instructions about a project, for a properly prepared disk, etc. Use various means to communicate your appreciation - a verbal acknowledgment, a card or note, a small token of
thanks, etc.

8. Be Proactive
As an advocate for the customer, act as a partner and walk in their shoes. Identify potential problems and be innovative in creating options and solutions.

9. Be Professional
Appearance of physical facilities and personnel is critical as customer perceptions are easily influenced.

10. Be Committed
Our customers are our business! Be committed to their success. Treat customers like assets. Do everything possible to retain them and increase their lifetime value.
About the Author
Pj Germain
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