July 8, 2008
“Blue & Gold” Customer Loyalty Starts with Brand Quality
Last year was a good year for Navy football fans. Wins over Army, Air Force and Notre Dame resulted in a bowl game, and 8 win 5 loss season. Over thirty years ago as a Midshipman 4th class (Plebe) I pledged my loyalty to the Navy blue & gold no matter the record. Coaches will change, players will change, but my loyalty to Navy football will remain the same. Loyalty created through an emotional bond (like the loyalty you feel toward your alma mater) is powerful. How can you build customer loyalty and form emotional bonds?Email sign up
- Brand Quality: You need to start with a strong brand identity that your customers can identify with. Your brand must not only communicate a message, but also inform, motivate, and deliver as promised. The better your brand is at keeping its promises, the better your brand is at being trusted.
- Learning Relationships: Organizations that implement learning relationships are better able to understand and anticipate a customer's unique needs. Learning organizations understand that CRM means listening to the customer to learn instead of talking to the customer to sell. Customers in a learning relationship experience a heightened sense of vendor awareness and are more likely to be loyal because their vendor "knows" them.
- Understand and Use technology to connect in positive collaborative ways: Customer connections that engender loyalty deliver a seamless experience across channels and touchpoints while demonstrating integrity and interest.
- Ensure and Empower: Ensure high quality customer interactions that demonstrate a caring attitude by empowering your employees to resolve problems. You can't build loyaltyif you don't truly care about your customers.
- Great Service: Almost every customer has a technical / service support need at some point. Use support incidents as an opportunity to solidify relationships. By providing excellent service and quick resolution you can gain customer loyalty.
- One view of the company: Despite the desires of corporate managers, the customer ultimately controls the relationship. If the customer is in control, doesn't he need a 360 degree view of the company? True customer relationship management is a process of making it easier for the customer to do business with you. That's what builds loyalty and profit. Make it easy for your customer to do business with you.
- Layers: As SHREK might say... "customers have layers." Relationships are built on trust and dialog. Give it time. Building genuine relationships with your customers takes time. Customer loyalty requires the care and commitment to take the time, invest the money, and have the patience to listen.
- Dynamic / Real-time processes: Building relationships takes time; however, instant gratification has been a feature of our everyday lives for a long time. Give your customers their rewards now, and keep your promises on time.