Customer Experience News & Trends

5 keystones to customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is hard-won these days. But consistently practicing the keystones of customer service will help maintain loyalty.

The Internet has made it so easy to find products at the right price and level of convenience people are looking for that customers scarcely know what loyalty is anymore.

But if there’s one thing customers still appreciate, it’s a company that appreciates them.

Focus on these five keys of outstanding service, and you’ll win loyalty:

1. Responsiveness

You can’t respond on your time anymore. You have to meet customer expectations for responsiveness to excel in this category.

For social media and phone calls, that’s immediately. For email, an immediate automatic response is expected and a personal message should follow within an hour.

The good news: You don’t have to answer every customer question or solve every problem immediately. But you do have to acknowledge that they’ve reached out to you. That makes you appear responsive.

2. Reliability

When customers contact you once, they usually don’t want to have to do it a second (or — gasp! — third) time to get a response. They expect reliable, accurate answers and solutions immediately.

Customer service groups sometimes complain that they’re “the last to know” when customers are having problems.

One way to change that: Assign someone (or a few people) to be a central point to collect information from other areas of the company. And when you do, make the flow the information go both ways.

3. Reasonableness

Mistakes happen. Situations change. Relationships change.

Through all of that, customers need to see that you’re reasonable. You do business in a way that’s best for everyone involved — not solely based on what’s best for the bottom line.

Customers say companies that admit mistakes, accept and respond to criticism, and take responsibility are reasonable. Companies and people who focus on solutions — and don’t point fingers — when things go wrong, win customer loyalty, too.

4. Reachability

Customers expect to find a way to get a hold of you around the clock and from anywhere. It’s more important than ever that your numbers, websites and social media pages show up at the top of a Google search.

Even more important: Customers need to be able to reach someone when they do reach out. You don’t have to come up with an answer immediately, but you do need to acknowledge them. Then respond personally within hours.

5. Reassuring

Customers want to be appreciated for their business. And they like reassurance that they’ve made good choices in doing business with you.

Thanking them at the end of every interaction is most basic thing to do. Reassure them by letting them know your organization and its people are tops. Mention industry or professional awards — naturally in conversations and on correspondence. Customer service reps can mention how long they’ve been at the job to reassure customers they’ve come to right place.

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