In the age of an online marketplace, very few customers remain loyal. How do we stem the tide of customer churn? Companies that have great customer service, coupled with other great qualities like their product, tend to create customers that remain brand loyal. One common denominator of companies who have loyal customers is the focus on the trusted relationships rather than transactions. Without a solid relationship based on trust, you’re doing nothing other than appeasing customers for the short-term until they find something better.
I recently purchased a pair of denim jeans at Diesel. Within a week, I noticed they seemed to have a hole in them from fraying. I was disappointed to say the least, as I had only worn them once. I decided to go to the store and discuss the matter to see about a possible exchange. I was expecting them to say no, given I had already worn the item. To my surprise, they said to bring them in for a switch, no questions asked. The customer service I received was attentive, courteous and genuine. The associates seemed vested in not only meeting my needs as a customer, but ensuring I would return to the store again in the future. Needless to say, I was elated and ended up going back later in the day for a new winter coat that had caught my eye while in the store.
We hear these stories every day, but we also hear stories from the other side. I was recently watching NBC4 and the I-Team ran a segment on a college grad who sent her computer in for repairs. The company made the repair, then added on additional repairs that weren’t needed, creating a hefty invoice. The customer refused to pay, as she did not give her consent for the repair. As a result, the company refused to return the laptop until they received payment in full. Turns out, after an investigation, the company wasn’t licensed or registered with the state.
I watched the segment and thought, this all could have been prevented if they had fixed the problem the customer sent the laptop in for and/or the customer was consulted regarding possible additional problems and the fix was approved before incurring additional charges. Now as a result, the state is investigating the company. The company was not licensed and should not be servicing customers in the first place, but this serves as a great example of some serious missteps in the management of the customer relationship.
It is my belief that there is a direct correlation with building and keeping a deep customer relationship and the increase of brand loyalty.
Giving your customers something little makes a big reason for them to come back. It doesn’t cost you or the company a lot and could result in a trusted long-term relationship with your brand. After all, a happy loyal customer results in brand advocacy. This is free marketing! Isn’t that what every company loves?