Customer loyalty management deals primarily with the mechanical aspects of delivering to customers what they desire. These processes and procedures within any corporate training program can become quite methodical and easily teachable. While the procedural aspects are crucial to render high-quality service, it has been noted that the vast majority of the highly successful entrepreneurs and business owners go way beyond getting their staff to execute the correct service steps and techniques.
Instead of just delivering good customer service, those who are highly successful strive to provide “hospitality.” Hospitality is the culture of genuinely connecting with people. Rarely taught, developing a hospitality program is crucial to taking your service to a level that 95% of businesses never truly elevate to and maintain. Those companies who have amongst them staff that are interacting with their clientele on a daily basis, who just do not support this level of service, should be reconsidered as to whether or not they should stay on the team.
Hospitality Goes Beyond Customer Service
A drive through self-serve car wash can deliver service, but only a caring individual can render hospitality.
Hospitality is going beyond the mechanical skills of “serving”, as this does not ensure that your brand will truly connect with your clientele on a personal level. Connecting personally with another human being is something unique. That moment begins with having employees that have a sincere desire to take the best possible care of your clientele. When people perceive and feel that you and your staff are genuinely looking out for them, there is a much greater chance that meaningful interaction between staff and guests will take place. This is where your customer loyalty management must excel, by developing a training program and culture that fosters hospitality.
Hospitality Is a Culture
Creating a hospitality culture starts with hiring people with a built-in desire to connect with people. Such people are genuine in their desire to take care of people. For them it is a purpose in life. They enjoy caring for others and are energized by doing so. They receive a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction when they’re able to satisfy and, better yet, do something special for other people.
When you have this level of connection from your staff, you can see that your customer loyalty management process begins with HR hiring those people with the right mind-set and temperament.
Processes To Build Opportunities Into Your Brand
Another important aspect of retaining clients is realizing that you spend much more of your marketing dollar to gain a new client than you do to retain a great client. In other words, it costs less to keep someone coming back and so you want to leverage your new found customer into one that will become a loyal client as well as a brand advocate.
Some key methods to implement will find you doubling your profitability without necessarily the requirement to double the number of new clients walking through your front door. Once people start spending, you want to retain their brand loyalty.
There are 5 key components that one must build into one’s customer loyalty management programs and procedures. By implementing a proactive program to develop loyalty, you will become adept at listening to your clients needs, as well as tracking results or lack of them.
Action No. 1 – Establish your connection. Get their email, as well as requesting that they connect with you on social media. I am still surprised how few businesses ask me for my email. I suggested this to one business, and within months they had collected over 1,000 emails. They began contacting them weekly and saw a 10% in sales within 6 months.
Action No. 2 – Involve them in the emotional appeal of your brand. It is not necessary to push the “buy, buy, buy” message in your marketing to your existing clientele. Develop a content marketing strategy that shares the emotional experiences and benefits of your brand. This can be easily achieved with customer reviews, videos, blogs and case studies. Any customer loyalty management strategy must include content marketing aimed at existing and past clientele.
Action No. 3 – Continue to add value. Many companies offer some type of VIP membership. Loyalty programs offer special services, access and/or discounts as a valued client. Reward programs are a vital part of this strategy and I always recommend to emulate those who are already doing it successfully in your field.
Action No. 4 – Address dissatisfaction immediately and pleasantly. Many companies freeze when they receive a compliant or a bad review on Yelp. To not deal with customer dissatisfaction becomes an even bigger problem when avoidance is a policy. One should contact these people, apologize for the unpleasant experience and find a way to rectify the matter. Most people understand that mistakes can be made. Great companies extend their hospitality to those that are not the most satisfied.
Action No. 5 – Adjust to their changing needs. As the world changes, so do our needs, desires and expectations. Ten years ago, having a website was somewhat optional. Now you absolutely must have one, as well as have it optimized and mobile friendly. Moreover, you must keep up with the culture in terms of how your brand offers its services that support your business strategy and plans. Surveys should be done periodically with not only existing clients, but target markets that you desire to reach and convert. Keeping yourself connected with industry blogs, conferences and reports is another crucial means to stay abreast of potential challenges, their solutions and new opportunities.