Customer Experience News & Trends

4 ways to turn customers into loyal fans

You may never know customer loyalty like professional sports teams do, but it’s possible to build enough loyalty to make your competitors envious.

Many customers don’t want to bounce around. It’s easier to deal with one company. But sub-par service and bad experiences often make a convincing case for them to leave, rather than stay loyal.

“The problem far too many businesses have is that they simply meet their customers’ needs without striving to exceed expectations, and this leads to average customer experiences,” says Garin Kilpatrick, a marketing strategist and founder of “The good news is that this presents a fantastic opportunity for the companies that do continually strive to deliver excellent customer experiences.”

Meeting expectations is the minimum companies can do these days.

Here are four things Kilpatrick suggests you can go do to go beyond answering their questions and fulfilling their requests:

1. Add value, level the price

Price is just a factor in customers’ decisions to buy and stick around. A few customers will follow the lowest price — and you’d likely never make them loyal. What’s more, when companies lower prices to keep customers, it often comes with unwanted consequences — cuts to the resources that should make experiences better.

The majority of customers will remain loyal and become fans if you increase the value of what they get. They’ll even pay more for a better experience. Let customers know what you’re doing to make products, services and experiences better for them — from new resources put into customer support, research and development, and/or added features or upgraded service.

2. Create a community

People don’t walk into businesses knowing the owners, employees and other patrons as much as they used to. When customers do business, there’s less of a sense of community than there was in the pre-Internet days.

But the companies that can reinvent or recreate that community have a better chance of keeping customers for the long haul.

Involve customers with your company and fellow customers quickly after a purchase. You might send them an email directing them to a community chat room where customers ask questions, share answers and compare experiences (with some oversight by your company).

Keep them up to date with a regular, periodic e-newsletter that includes customer stories. Invite them to be part of customer forums, where you can get their feedback and they can connect with others who are possibly in similar industries and are using the same products.

3. Encourage and respond to feedback

Ask a sports fan what he thinks of his team’s performance and you can settle in for a long conversation. Fans love to give their opinion on their passion.

Same can be said for loyal customers. If you seriously ask for their feedback, they’ll more than likely give it. But circling a survey website at the bottom of a receipt and telling them it’s there isn’t a serious effort.

You have to tell them you want to improve their experiences, and their feedback is the first step in doing that. Ask them if you can send a survey, and include a personal note of thanks when you send it. Then reward customers for their feedback with a coupon, discount, upgrade, etc.

The best reward is showing customers that you used their feedback by making changes they suggested.

4. Communicate quickly

Quick, honest communication can be the crux of customer satisfaction. Customers are so used to instantaneous responses on social media and from texts in their personal lives, they expect the same from companies.

If you can’t respond to customers’ inquiries on the phone, via email and in social media within an hour and around the clock, you need to let them know when you will respond. Customers can and will wait, and remain loyal, as long as the company is reliable and thorough.

Give them the answer as quickly as possible in all channels, but make sure it’s the right answer first.

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