Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to gain life-long customers

Legendary customer service expert John Tschohl shares his five most important rules on building relationships and retaining customers. 

The customer experience is increasingly technology based. Yet, the personal touch continues to be the powerhouse behind long-term relationships between companies and their customers.

According to Tschohl, author of Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service and founder and president of Service Quality Institute, these five factors are the cornerstone of customer loyalty:

 1. Treat customers like partners

Tschohl: Do it by listening to customers’ expressions of needs and wants. Then help them obtain the service or product that serves those needs and wants best whether they’re in your inventory or not. This is the proper procedure when you expect customers to return again and again over a long period. A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. 

2. Keep customers satisfied, happy

Tschohl: Dealing with people is probably the most difficult part of being in business. But it’s also the most rewarding – no matter your industry or type of company. Do what you say you will and do it happily, and you will not disappoint or anger customers.

3. See everything through customers’ eyes

Tschohl: Call it “empathy.” T.G.I. Friday restaurants help employees see customer perceptions with reports from mystery shoppers who routinely check out store image, merchandise and service from the customer point of view. Empathy is an important ingredient in the service business. How one handles a service problem is as important to customers as the solution of the problem itself.

4. Deliver more than you promise or more than customers expect

Tschohl: This is a wonderful way to build customer loyalty upon their feeling that they got a “good deal.” Practice the “and then some” principle. Your products do all you say they will . . . and then some. Service is prompt, reliable and courteous… and then some. If a customer needs help once a sale is complete, help the customer . . . and then some. Delivering more service than customers expect is a subtle competitive tactic that competitors usually do not notice. In the process of building volume you can confuse your competitors. They will not understand how you are doing it.

5. Always strive to be better

Tschohl: Try to get better every day. Imagine a mental fluorescent sign that flashes the questions: “How are we doing?” (Fine, but we can improve.) And: “How can we get better?” (The answers you give will be the action for your next agenda.)

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.