Customer Experience News & Trends

4 huge ways to build customer loyalty

Many customers sign up for loyalty programs. Some customers actually stick around a while because of the plans. But here’s what really keeps customers loyal.

Customers stay loyal to companies for many of the same reasons they stay loyal to spouses, friends, religion and careers: The relationship is comforting, fun, agreeable and rewarding.

It’s usually not the early dynamics of a relationship — such as the first kiss or flashy loyalty program — that keep people loyal to a person or company. It’s more about the things that consistently go well, plus the response and rebound they experience when things go wrong.

“You need to give your customers fewer reasons to be disloyal, and the best way to make that happen is to reduce customer effort,” says Matt Dixon, one of the three authors of The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty.

Customers stay as long as their experiences are hassle-free and with people who are genuine.

Here are four loyalty-building best practices from Dixon and his co-authors, Nick Toman and Rick DeLisi:

1. Create smoother self-service

The best service providers have recognized that customer preferences have shifted toward — but not completely to — self-services.

So those companies have kept up their more personal channels (such as phone, which is still the No. 1 choice for customers to contact companies). Plus, they’ve integrated self-service channels that “stick” — that means their self-service options are simple, intuitive and self-guided. They aren’t full of bells and whistles. That way customers don’t feel uncertain during or after they’ve used a self-serve option — and end up making a call “just to check.”

2. Resolve the next issue, too

When customers call service or sales pros, the best companies train reps to answer more than the question at hand.

Instead, reps look at the whole situation, and figure out what may result from the answer, solution or resolution they’ll provide. Then they take care of that next step, too.

To help prepare teams for resolving the next issue, brainstorm “What if …” questions in training to create best-practice tactics for taking care of the biggest or most complex issues.

3. Handle the emotions

Great customer service and sales reps keep customers loyal by responding to the emotional part of each interaction first, then taking care of the issue at hand.

They’re more than nice. They acknowledge feelings, take control of the situation and keep customers involved in the outcome.

For instance, they might say, “I see how frustrating this can be, and I can see why you’d be upset. I’d like to try this solution … Would that work for you?”

4. Give control

Customers do business with — and are loyal to — people, not companies. That’s why the most progressive companies give their front-line people the most power to do what’s right for customers.

Customers deal with service and sales pros more than anyone else, and they see those professionals — not a brand, ad or logo — as the company.

Equip and empower front-line employees to answer questions, resolve issues and, most importantly, know when to step outside the box and do what’s right for customers so they stay loyal.

5 Essential Strategies for Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce in Your Contact Center

Take a couple minutes today and simply look out onto the production floor of your contact center. Chances are pretty great that you are seeing a diverse group of people that span across several generations.  Read more!

Subscribe Today

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