Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Encourage Customer Loyalty - Positive Customer Experience

You don't need to swim faster than the sharks... just faster than the other guys in the water with you!

What keeps customers coming back for more? The answer is the experience they have of dealing with your business.

Businesses have to work hard to get this right all the time, although some don’t seem to bother. These may be “monopoly providers” (a lot of government departments, for example), or being the only provider in a particular area (so they have a “captive market”) or being the sole provider of a particular product or service.

The problem is, if another business with the same (or similar product/service) comes along and provides a better experience, customers will vote with their feet and go to the new competitor. Customer Experience is often confused with Customer Service, but the two are different. Service is a very important part of the whole experience.

Often, the problem lies in awareness (or in a lack of awareness) of what makes the difference. From experience, trial and error, I’ve developed a list of a few areas on which to concentrate - a basic “Customer Experience Audit” checklist. This can be used by any business and changed or added to suit its own needs:

• Entrance
• Exterior
• Reception/Greeting
• Waiting Area
• Interior
• People
• Uniform
• Attitude
• Checkout
• Returns
• Telephone
• Complaints
• Loyalty awards
• Consistency

Every one of the above is a “touch point” on which customers judge their experience, and you will find others for your own business. The point is that there are areas that make critical impressions on customers and will either have them “coming back for more, or running out the door”.

Different businesses will want to deliver different customer experiences. The experience at an upmarket store will be very different from a “low-cost” provider in many ways, but you’ll be surprised at the similarities.

Make sure that you agree a Customer Experience Policy with your team and then put it into action. A positive experience in your business will ensure that you stand above the competition and that your customers keep coming back for more.

I have spent more than half my life working in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in the world financial services industry running different service, operations and lending businesses, I started my own Performance Management Consultancy and work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email . My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services.

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At 29 January 2013 at 22:14 , Blogger Ruby said...

I agree with the factors that you have included in your checklist. I think that good customer experience and loyalty can be attained if the company is able to attract the clients both physically and emotionally. These factors reflect the image of the company because this is how they initially present themselves to customers.

Ruby Chelmsford

At 29 January 2013 at 22:44 , Blogger William Martin said...

Thanks for your comments Ruby. As Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." We make decisions with the emotional and logical side of our brains, and the emotional side plays an important part.


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