As an avid Red Sox fan, I can’t pass up such a great opportunity to take a swipe at the Evil Empire...I mean the Yankees, and simultaneously make a compelling point about building customer loyalty. In honor of Yankee pitcher Michael Pineda’s 10-day suspension, I’m offering 10 tips for large-scale organizations to make customers stick to their brand:
1. Put your customers at the center of everything you do; that means your culture, your processes, your user experiences, your communication style, your mobile app design, your service levels, etc.
2. Offer your customers products and services that align with who they are and their goals as a customer, not necessarily just your goals as an organization.
3. Make decisions and take actions that are good for the long-term benefit of the customer relationship, not a short-term blip on the radar.
4. Anticipate and adapt to your customers’ changing needs. Use context such as usage patterns and changing demographics to predict how their needs may be changing and proactively engage them with different or additional products and services.
5. Recognize your customers for the unique value they bring to your company, and be sure to treat each customer in a personalized manner. Don’t just pay them lip service. Put some action behind your words to make each touch relevant, interesting and valuable.
6. Be comprehensive in customer support. Add value in each touch, don’t just fix the problem. Take each interaction as a chance to perform a “customer health check”. Is the problem or concern they are expressing a sign of a larger issue? Are the products and services the right fit? Are there complementary offerings that may improve the customer’s overall experience?
7. Engage customers in a conversation. Don’t throw things at them at random times and be sure to listen as much as you “talk”. Gather customer feedback, take action and take credit. Let customers know specific changes you have made as a result of their input.
8. Deliver on your promise. Once a customer has accepted an offer, be sure to have a comprehensive onboarding process to quickly introduce them to your products benefits, and how they can obtain the most value. Ship the product quickly and ensure a high quality of installation, where applicable. Be transparent and proactive if there are challenges that may impact your customer’s usage of a product or service. They are relying on your delivery. Don’t wait for them to be surprised.
9. Consistently deliver on quality – across all products, channels, employees – because each touch represents your brand. All it takes is one bad experience to cancel out five good ones.
10. Get your customers engaged in your brand to generate some excitement with them. Whether it’s through gamification, social engagement, etc., it is extremely important that your customers become your ambassadors who will carry the virtues of your brand to their friends and followers.
By following these 10 tips it will help you make your customers be more loyal to your brand. And as far as the Red Sox go, let’s just say they have me looking forward to football in the fall.