According to Beyond Philosophy, customer loyalty is defined as positive emotional experience between a company and a customer. In business we need a strong base of loyal customers to maintain growth and profit. Returning customers convert to cash flow; they spend often, and they spend a lot. They bring us through those lean periods, so it’s to our benefit to keep them happy and coming back for more. But how do we make this miracle happen?
There are a lot of models out there, and most big businesses aim for customer loyalty. How do they do it? Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com has a philosophy that the customer is the most important person in the room. As if that’s not good enough, he goes so far as to bring an empty chair to his meetings and declare to his top executives that a customer sits in that chair. Today, Amazon is the largest retailer on the internet. There are six basic reasons Amazon’s customers keep coming back. These philosophies can also be used on flyer printing and other marketing campaigns.
What Makes It Work
Amazon is a company built on customer loyalty. Forbes Magazine’s Jonathan Salem Basking states that their chief attraction is integrity. What attracts Basking is that Amazon reaches out to him voluntarily even without any effort on his part. It passes on savings, suggests other items he may like based on his previous shopping history, and even offers him free shipping. Amazon excels in paying attention to what makes its customer happy, and their service is efficient, fast and hassle-free.
Amazon is a customer-centric company. It is more concerned about what is good for their customer than what the competition is offering on sale. For instance, when a product is offered at one price and Amazon is able to get the same product for a few cents less, it gives those few pennies back to the customer unasked. It’s immediate. It’s transparent. It shows integrity, and customers love it.
Here are 4 things you can learn from Amazon about building brand loyalty:
Speed and Efficiency
United Airlines learned the hard way when Dave Carroll released the music video United Breaks Guitars detailing his experiences with seeking compensation from them when his $3500 guitar was broken due to their rough handling of his baggage. Within 4 days of the video being posted online, United Airlines’ stock price fell 10%, costing stockholders about $180 million. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Breaks_Guitars)
Customers want to be able to trust you. Own up to your mistakes, don’t make excuses, and be honest in your apology. Go over all your advertising and documents to make sure everything is clear and precise. Be respectful towards the customer, and let them know their opinions and feedback matter.
Make it easy for your customer to make returns. If a customer comes at you with a price problem, meet it honestly with a smile and a heartfelt apology. Ask for feedback. If you know a problem exists don’t wait for the customer to come to you. Contact your customer and offer them a solution. Even if your customer base is too large to call everyone, reaching out to your customers through blogs and email are a very good way of bringing solutions to your customers when problems arise. Your customers will appreciate your honesty.
Of course, don’t rest on your laurels. Your customers may forgive you the first few times, but their patience will run out if you do nothing to prevent it from occurring again. Having a professional blog is a good way to solve problems with products, services and pricing questions. It also helps you keep in touch with your customer base, and you can offer updates on your upcoming products and services.
3) Speed and Efficiency
Be efficient in your service and do away with bureaucracy. Foster teamwork and interrelations between departments. If one employee is busy, don’t keep the customer hanging. Have another move in to help out. Empower your employees to make decisions, or arm them with whom to call if they can’t solve the problem. Customers don’t like long waits, and if you can show them that you value their time, then you are one step closer to winning your customers loyalty.
Ensure that your customers’ interactions with your company are free of hassle. Make sure your advertisements and documents are clear and stand behind your words. If a product is defective, don’t make them go through half a dozen steps just to process an exchange. The Amazon model of customer service does wonders to build brand loyalty. With just a few tweaks it can be easily applied to your own business to make happy customers return again and again. Conducting your business with integrity and transparency builds trust and respect from your customers. Doing away with bureaucracy and giving them fast and efficient service by fostering teamwork will help them to throw away any hesitation about patronising your business again. Give your customer a hassle-free experience and they will reward your business with not just repeat visits, but also with a smile.
So if you have been thinking a lot lately on how to keep your previous customers keep on coming, integrate this to your flyer, brochure & postcard campaign.