This was a split session where we got to hear two different experts share their ideas about how to create loyal customers.Kevin Mellander, Director of Customer Care for Allegiance focused on making sure you get the ‘whole cookie.’ Creating uber-loyal customers requires four components:
- Quality Product
- Feedback management
Many times, companies will focus on the first three, but to get the whole cookie (in Kevin’s analogy), you have to make sure you institute solid feedback management. The main reason? You can’t be everywhere all the time, so you need ways to gather feedback.When Kevin talks about creating uber-loyal customers, what he’s referring to is customers who are engaged. There are three levels of customer: Satisfied, Loyal, and Engaged.Satisfied customers don’t necessarily come back to you.Loyal customers might come back, but if they experience a problem they’ll likely defect. Engaged customers will actually bring problems to you to fix. They’ll forgive your mistakes, and they’ll even wear your logo!Another way to look at customers is to categorize them as Disengaged, Swing, or Engaged. The big goldmine is the swing group. If you can sway even one or two percent of these customers to move into being engaged, it can add significant dollars to your bottom line.Engaged customers have some interesting and desirable behaviors:
- They buy more.
- They stay longer.
- They promote your business for you.
- If you mess up, they’ll tell you.
Why engagement is the best goal:
- It’s measurable ‘ a business asset!
- It’s a unique differentiator, built on win-win relationships
- It’s made possible through comprehensive VOC and EFM efforts ‘ (Voice of the Customer and Enterprise Feedback Management)
The world of feedback is complex ‘ there are so many ways to give/get feedback from face to face, to facebook. And much of it is immediate. We should always look at feedback as a GIFT. It’s a chance to do something.If you don’t believe that engaged customers are worth pursuing, consider this quote from a Harvard Business Review study that states ‘Highly engaged customers deliver a 23% increase in share of wallet.’The second half of this session was conducted by Bob Caruso, Managing Director, Endeavor Management.Bob began by asking the audience if they knew which company has been able to sell 20,000 tickets to their corporate event for $125 each in only 75 seconds (it would have been 30, but there was a technical glitch). It’s Blizzard Entertainment ‘ Creators of World of Warcraft.How has Blizzard Entertainment been able to create such a fanatical following for their video games? They create loyalty through ongoing dialog with their customers. They may be the only video game company that employs ‘game masters’ who you can access while you’re playing the game to ask questions! Bob challenged us to Develop Deep Advocacy through the following: Customer experience
- How do you think through the whole experience, even from the pre-sale moment?
- How can you serve them at each step of the customer cycle?
- Are your customers proud to do business with you? (I.e., Ritz Carlton)
- Determining the customers who WILL be loyal. Some will not, no matter what.
- Give people an opportunity to be loyal.
Bob also had some thoughts about how 2009 brought new challenges, including the absolute critical need to rebuild trust in our customers. Over 90% of people in a recent survey stated that trust and honest communication are important to them when doing business with a company. The key to building, and rebuilding, trust is communication.One of the most interesting concepts in this session was the idea that your behavior gives your customers a perception of your company. They respond with a behavior that leads to a business result. So you have to evaluate your actions and behaviors constantly by asking yourself:
- What is the estimated gain of doing it right?
- What is the estimated cost of doing it wrong?