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By: Alice Heiman
Categories: Customer Service
I can’t imagine any business owner saying that satisfied customers were not a priority.

To use a term I borrowed from Daniel Pink, I’d like to “flip” your thinking.   Instead of thinking that your goal is a satisfied customer, start thinking a satisfied customer is just the beginning.  A customer should never be anything other than satisfied; so what should the goal be?

First let’s examine the behavior of a satisfied customer.  They make a purchase and receive what they paid for; they are satisfied.  The next time they need your products or service they may come to you again, or they may go to a place that is more convenient or try something different just because it came along.  They are not loyal, just satisfied. Satisfaction doesn’t guarantee you their business; convenience and price will dictate their future business.  We see this behavior in the grocery business: shoppers go where the sales are.  It’s either convenience or price unless they are loyal.
So customer loyalty is what we are striving for.  Whole Foods is a great example in the grocery industry of a brand people are loyal to.  Those who shop Whole Foods are diehards and brand advocates.  They drive across town, they pay more and best of all they tell all their friends.  But they don’t do this solely for good products and service.  They feel the products are superior and they can relate to the people and they are treated very well.  Not everyone loves Whole Foods, but their target audience does.

A goal for businesses is to cultivate loyal customers. Here are six ways to turn your target audience into a loyal following:

  1. Go from good to great.  Doing a good job just isn’t enough anymore.  Your minimum should be great.  What would you have to change to make sure you are always delivering at the level of great?
  2. Create the “Wow” factor. Go beyond expectations and prompt customers to say, “Wow, I can’t believe it.” Wells Fargo and Zappos both strive for legendary in competitive industries.
  3. Be genuinely nice.  Greet people on the phone and in person with enthusiasm and always a smile.  A culture that supports happy employees and putting the customer first will enforce a genuine environment. Nordstrom’s is a prime example; employees are attentive and go the extra mile by calling customers when items come in they might like. How do you insure that this happens at your company?
  4. Take time. Take a little extra time to get to know your customers.   This opens a myriad of opportunities- think birthday recognition, or promotions for loyal customers. How would you do this at your company?
  5. Say thank you. At a minimum thank your customers once a year. This could be when they sign up, with an annual appreciation party or with notes and small gifts. Express that they are important.  What can you do to thank your customers?
  6. Ask for feedback. Your customers know best; so periodically survey them on how you are doing and how you can improve.  Starbucks has a couple platforms for customers to give feedback on their experience. While not every suggestion is plausible, each gives insight as to what is important.

Meet with your team today and brainstorm on how to foster those satisfied customers into loyal customers. Loyal customers will take your company to the next level because of their long-term patronage, and willingness to tell everyone about you.

My recent trip to Costa Rica made me a loyal customer.  I can’t wait to go back and I have been telling everyone.  To read more about my trip click here.

How are you flipping your satisfied customers to loyal customers? Please feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading my blog! If you would like more “how to” information about sales please subscribe to my newsletter for helpful tips. I hope you found this information useful.  If you are facing any obstacles in your business with regards to sales, I welcome your questions. Please contact me at answers@aliceheiman.com.

Alice Heiman
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Alice Heiman

Founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC
Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.
Alice Heiman
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7 thoughts on “6 Ways To Go From Satisfied to Loyal”

  1. This is completely true! Because customers can be satisfied when they receive the bare minimum from an employee, and it doesn’t mean that they will come back or think of your business when they need something. However, if you can go beyond the best you can do, if you offer up suggestions that they didn’t think of and be super helpful, then not only do you have a satisfied customer, but you have a customer that will look back on the experience as wonderful and make them want to come back again and again.

  2. Nicely said Alice! I feel that befriending your customers is a great way to transition a satisfied customer to a loyal customer and that comes with small mildstones such as being friendly and enthusiastic as you mentioned. It creates a sense of welcomeness to the customers and they feel more comfortable working with you and vice versa.

  3. Excellent post, Alice!! This is a great reminder for me along with a few very useful new strategies. I’ve found that at somewhere around 80% to 90% of my current revenues come from existing clients. And it’s all about loyalty! My personal favorite strategy to build loyalty is to deliver something of great value without having expectations of anything in return. thanks again! Tom

  4. Great article Alice.
    I just referred back to it again for one of our Merchants. The Wow factor is what really stands out for me. I think being genuinely nice, greeting, taking time to get to know them, and thanking your customer is really important. However, I think giving them something to remember, a true wow, is the best win. Something that will reach them at an emotional level and something that they will talk about when they leave the business. Something that sticks with them for weeks after…
    The Wow factor creates a loyal customer for a very long time.

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