Friday, January 8, 2010

Customer Loyalty and 2010 "Trends To Watch"

With a new year comes the annual list of “trends to watch”. When reading a recent list researched by JWT Intelligence, I started to think how these trends relate to your customer’s loyalty. To gain your customer’s trust and repeat business, here are a few trends to take to heart –

1. Customers are “searching for stability”. They are still showing restraint with their spending, so this means you better provide an experience that is compelling and memorable so they will return.

2. Customers want “transparency”. This means tell it like it is, show them the details. Make it easy to understand – your policies, product information, rates, how to contact you, your green policy, whatever they need to know – give it to them upfront. Customers are reading the fine print. If the customer has to call you back, do live chat for clarification or stop by your business, then it costs you more. One client estimates reducing call in rate by one point produces a savings of $18 million. That is a huge chunk money to reinvest elsewhere. Bottom line is customers want complete and correct information the first time.

3. Customers want information that is “now”. Be connected. That means go beyond current. We are living life in real time. Social media and apps are making that possible. Make a team responsible for communication in real time. Keep the customer loyal by providing “now” information.

4. Customers value the “small movement”. For smaller local based and web businesses, this is good news. Relationships count. For larger organizations, act small. Communicate personally, directly and quickly. Customize your offerings. Customers think they are special and unique – figure out how to treat them that way.

Don’t bother with a resolution. Just get started by looking at your processes, ownership issues, people and customer relationship data systems. Customers want to be loyal – it’s a lot less hassle. Your job is to give the customer a reason to be loyal. No excuses.