Are Your Customers Loyal, or Just Satisfied?
Customers have a choice every day as to where they spend their money. Most people get into a routine; they like to visit the same grocery store, gas station, department stores. They purchase the same brand of ketchup or cereal. Most people are creatures of habit and like to feel comfortable. But just because a customer is satisfied with a product or business, does not necessarily mean that they are loyal. Many people think these phrases are interchangeable, but they are two very different things. So, it’s no wonder that many businesses mistake Customer Satisfaction for Customer Loyalty.
What is the difference between Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty?
A perfectly satisfied customer could choose to purchase elsewhere simply based on convenience or price. Or have one bad experience and turn against you…permanently (and we know how people like to talk about their bad experiences). However, a loyal customer will come back, even after a bad experience or unfriendly phone call. They will return because they are loyal to you, not just simply satisfied. They could probably be satisfied buying their gas from any gas station, but the trick is getting that customer to be loyal to your gas station. That is why Customer Loyalty is so much more important than just Customer Satisfaction. Loyalty has much more permanence than Satisfaction.
How do you build Customer Loyalty?
1. Build Strong Relationships
People like to buy from people they like.
You need to make conversation and create a good rapport with the customer. In inside sales, it’s important to keep good notes on your prospects, and remember what was talked about previously. Use your CRM diligently, and refer back to it before every follow up. For retailers, it’s important to remember them the next time they come in and make a point to acknowledge them.
2. Make the Customer Feel Important
Don’t sound rushed when on the phone with the customer/prospect or at the check-out counter. The customer will notice, and will not remember the experience as a positive one – or a negative one – they simply won’t remember it at all, and at times that can almost be worse. You want the customer to walk away from each interaction feeling good, which in turn will lead them to have positive feelings when thinking about your business or product. Use the customer’s name, smile, and make eye contact. Go above and beyond to answer any questions!
3. Follow Up
Follow up is critical in gaining Customer Loyalty.
If a customer feels like their business is important to you, then you will be more important to them. In the inside sales world this means having good retention or customer support teams in place. Create a follow up cadence to ensure that your customer is satisfied, and make sure they are fully utilizing the service you have provided.
4. Keep the Customer Satisfied
Listen to the customer’s feedback and implement changes for complaints that are heard often. They are not always a bad thing. They can be an opportunity to better your business and gain even more customers.
As you can see, Customer Satisfaction is just a small piece of the puzzle when gaining loyalty.
To gain Customer Loyalty, you can’t just aim for ‘satisfaction’. You need to go above and beyond – every time for every experience. You need to constantly check in with the customers to get their feedback – and you need to do this before they find the competitor that has what you don’t. At Infinity, we build strong loyalty which is why we are able to get customers, and keep customers. Why is this important? Because a loyal customer is your best marketing tool… a loyal customer will share their experience with their peers. And their peers are your next customer.