Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty

It is an often unspoken agreement that, sometimes, the customer is wrong. Bernie Heine offers seven practical suggestions on how to deal with the situation. 

Here is an interesting point to consider: The customer is not always right. Despite the age-old adage, you are undoubtedly aware that sometimes your customers are completely in the wrong. Knowing what to do if your customer is wrong is important. Whatever they are complaining about – your service, your product, or how you have treated them – it’s only natural that your first impulse is to become defensive. However, it is crucial to harness that instinct. Redirecting the narrative to “it’s not us, it’s you” would be an entirely fruitless approach. How you navigate these situations will determine whether you will cement the relationship you have established with your client or customer or break it. 

When such situations occur, you sometimes may need to swallow your pride. It does not imply you should belittle yourself. But it does mean that you should not react impulsively. Work with the customer and try to either mend the issue, work toward altering their perception of the issue, or ultimately direct them to another company. While doing so, it is imperative to remain tactful at all times. And there are ways to handle such conversations courteously and diplomatically. 

Treat your customers with respect even when they are wrong.

Treat your customers with respect even when they are wrong

More and more, we expect to get precisely what we want at the exact time we want it. Any deviation from these desires can cause dissatisfaction and even conflicts. However, through all possible channels, clear communication is paramount and can prevent, even resolve, many such issues. Therefore, any time you begin cooperation with a client or customer, make sure you communicate clearly and openly. Also, all the processes and information on your website and the agreements you sign should be clear, precise, and to the point. Finally, it is necessary to repeatedly reinforce the procedures, terms, and vital information verbally.

 

Key points include:

  • How to practice empathy for the customer
  • The key to listening
  • Offering alternatives

 

Read the full article, 7 Things To Do if Your Customer Is Wrong, on ProfessionalBusinessCoaches.com. 

Xavier Lederer explains how to grow your company by focusing on your customers. 

 You are not competing directly against your competitors, you are competing to be unique in the marketplace.

What does your most valuable prospect look like? “Probably a lot like your existing valuable customers. The easiest and most profitable growth will be achieved by adding additional customers very much like your current most valuable customers,” explains Robert Bloom in his book “The Inside Advantage.” Clients you resonate with will bring clients in the same vein. The key question is: Who is your ideal customer – how do you identify and describe them – and how will you solve their problem?

Shifting ideal customers

This wisdom is more relevant now than ever: because of Covid customers have changed. Some have disappeared, others have shifted from in-store to online, and others have increased their purchases. As a result, the assumptions you had about your ideal customers may no longer be relevant. And yet: you really need to know your ideal customer if you want to grow your business.

All customers are not created equal. Your ideal customer is an existing customer (not a hypothetical one), buys from you for optimal profit and refers you to other prospects – new customers who are likely to be remarkably similar to your current, ideal customers. Once you have identified your ideal customer you can find out whether there are enough of them to reach your goals – and define whether you need to expand into an additional segment.

Your ideal customer is a breathing, living human being

The thing is: It is not enough to define your customers as a market statistic – you can’t get to know a statistic. You have a much better chance of selling to someone you really know and understand. If you can’t answer the following questions, chances are that you don’t really know your ideal customer:

How many customers generate 80% of my gross margin, and who are they?

What is the name of the decision-makers of my top 10 clients, and how much do I know the socio-demographic (e.g. age, gender, background) and psychographic (e.g. lifestyle, risk attitude) profile of each of them?

How much do I know the needs and fears of each of these decision-makers? What are their desires? What are their pressures?

How much do I understand the problem of my top 10 customers – not just their surface problem, but also their root problem? Why do they have this problem? Why are they coming to me (and not to my competitors) to solve their problem?

 

Key points include:

  • The Gap brand promise
  • Needs and fears of decision-makers
  • Mapping your customers’ challenges

 

Read the full article, Want to Grow Your Company? Focus on Who, on AmbroseGrowth.com.

A Dark Sky experience led Kaihan Krippendorff to ruminate on how to disrupt your industry.

It’s 6:30 a.m. at the Dark Sky RV resort in Utah. I’m sitting out by the gas firepit and everyone else is asleep. The sun is rising, but it’s not one of those sudden appearances that I often see in the Northeast. Instead, the sky is wide open above the vast horizon, and it begins to change colors over the short desert vegetation and red rocks. The rising sun gives a far longer preview of its arrival. It’s bright enough to be nearly daylight now and yet the sun has still not officially peeked over the horizon.

Now, our family is not an obvious RV family. When I tell our friends how often we have journeyed across land in these houses on wheels, complete with nighttime BBQs after arriving late to the site and impromptu stops at unplanned points of interests, I’m often met with wide eyes and expressions of disbelief. But we continue to realize the value of forced family time in close quarters and pushing out of our comfort zone to explore unfamiliar territory.

The other day, we toured the tiny motel strip at Page, Arizona, a road lined with extremely compact motels made for construction workers while they were building a nearby dam half a century ago. Last year, we stopped by the graves of the Gypsy King and Queen in Mississippi.

But the issue has always been where to sleep when the sun went down. Our days of exploration and delightful surprise too often lead to evenings of predictability and frustration. You see, although the RV camping industry in the US is an important slice of the US economy, employing nearly 23,000 people with an average salary of US $30,628 per year, the experience of spending the night at an RV camp leaves much room for improvement.

Key points include:

  • Reform the strategy
  • Prioritize the pain points

  • Rethink each pain point

 

Read the full post, Disrupting Your Industry: Lessons From An Rv Park, on Kaihan.net.

Amanda Setili shares a short post on the value of trust.

Last weekend, Rob and I camped in a small family-owned campground 15 feet from Pamlico Sound on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. One night it stormed, hard. The wind was gusting to over 30 mph, and the rain was intense. It would have been easy to wonder if our tent would survive.

But I didn’t wonder.

We’d bought the tent from REI, the same company that had made the tent we had recently retired after 20 years of hard use in a variety of difficult conditions.

As we sat in the tent, listening to the rain and wind pummeling the tent, it became obvious to us that our new REI tent was as well-designed as the one we’d had for 20 years.

Companies talk a lot about earning their customers’ trust, and sometimes that talk can feel a bit overblown; after all, how much trust is involved when you buy, say, paper towels? But when a thin layer of material is all that separates you from a crazy-powerful storm, trust really matters. It’s then that you fully appreciate every aspect of your purchase: the materials used, its design and execution.

Key points include:

  • The importance of trust
  • Trust in business
  • Customer loyalty

Read the full post, When the Storm Gets Intense, You Have a Very Different Definition of Trust, on LinkedIn.

 

Stephen Wunker shares a post that identifies how the pandemic has presented aggressive businesses with an opportunity, and why the key to success lies in customer service.

 ‘Consumers don’t trust real estate agents,’ says Jimmy Mackin, whose business is selling software to…real estate agents. He continues, “There are minimal requirements to become a licensed real estate agent. The industry tends to attract the get-rich-quick crowd.”

How could someone with such a dire assessment of an industry make his living selling to it? And what are the lessons others can draw from how COVID is accelerating a long-overdue industry transformation?

​Lessons from a Vendor

Mackin runs a business called Curaytor, which provides marketing services to tech-enabled real estate agencies. The COVID pandemic has been a boom time. In Mackin’s view, it all makes sense. “We’ve seen a significant increase in the use of Matterport, a tool that enables an immersive 3D home tour with an interactive walkthrough and floorplan. It was once considered a luxury in our industry and it is now becoming a requirement.”

But the need for virtual solutions is just the tip of the iceberg. To Mackin, COVID has simply turbo-charged a pre-existing trend that separates full-time professionals from part-time hobbyists in his industry, and this explains his overall optimism. “Consumers are demanding a personalized experience, and the more you can be of service, the more you can learn about your customer’s needs.” The professionals invest in software, proactive service, and personalization.

​With COVID, consumers are demanding virtual tools and responsiveness to their particular concerns, and the more service-oriented agents can deliver the goods. He summarizes, “In order to earn your commission, you’ll have to be more than a glorified Uber-driver that gives someone a tour of a house. The role of the modern real estate agent is to be an expert advisor, not merely a facilitator.”

The transformation of real estate is part of The Great Reboot affecting industry after industry. Rather than seeing the pandemic as a pause between normal periods, forward-thinking businesspeople seem to be jumping on the moment as a time to do major updates of longstanding practices.

 

Read the full article, How COVID is Transforming a Profession Few People Love, on NewMarketsAdvisors.com.

 

Jason George provides a riveting read on cost and value, cunning tactics, and strategies from behind the scenes of manufacturers and pricing models.

Sleep tight

The choice of a mattress is fraught with implications, given how much of life is spent asleep and the infrequency of their purchase, not to mention the high price tag. Manufacturers are keenly aware of this and do their best to stoke the wallet-opening concerns of customers, using florid language to highlight coil counts or the latest in cushioning technology. Models receive names that evoke cruise ships or luxury sedans or vaguely European locales, and are further tagged with inscrutable indicators somehow related to quality.

Buyers are at a natural disadvantage as the innards of the product are invisible, leaving them to trust that the features advertised are present in the product and actually meaningful. Mattresses are difficult to transport and even harder to return, so the category does not lend itself to comparison shopping.

Behind the scenes, manufacturers have quietly consolidated and gained scale, rolling up the industry into a handful of mega-players, each with numerous offerings across the price spectrum. As the market matured these were increasingly sold in standalone shops dedicated solely to mattresses, featuring spartan décor, opaque pricing and a haggling experience not unlike that of a car dealership.

To top it off manufacturers adopted an especially cunning tactic to obscure costs and keep prices high. They created unique names for identical products and distributed them to exclusive sales outlets, ensuring that consumers would be unable to check prices at a competing store. Imagine if a Honda Accord was called by a different name at every dealership and you get the idea. Maximizing bewilderment and confusion led to a highly profitable business model for many years, such that mattress stores sprouted up across the United States, jammed into often marginal real estate.

 

Key points include:

  • Transparent fixed pricing
  • Profitability through complication and confusion
  • Authenticity as a core value

 

Read the full article, Coercing customers or creating true value, on jasongeorge.net.