Customer Loyalty Month is April: Are you ready?

It was in 1984 when the International Customer Service Association came up with the idea that the first full week of October would become National Customer Service Week. It was created to celebrate the employees who have worked so hard to take care of their customers. In 1992, it gained national attention when President George Bush recognized the week and officially proclaimed, “A company will do a better job of providing high-quality goods and services by listening to its employees and giving them opportunities to make a difference. ”

Most people confuse the concept of National Customer Service Week with focusing on customers. Nothing wrong with that, but the intention was to focus on the employees. So why not celebrate both?

This brings us to another “holiday” to come, customer loyalty monthwhich is observed in April each year.

Today, great customer service is expected, and if you want customers to come back, you better create an experience that makes them want to. Consider what drives loyalty, or at least customer retention. Our customer service research surveyed over 1,000 consumers and uncovered compelling results to support what keeps customers coming back.

First, we asked a general question about why a customer would return or not. Be careful, these are not loyal customers.

· 73% would go out of their way to go to a company that provides better customer service.

· 83% are willing to change companies if they have a bad customer experience.

We followed up with a specific question to customers who said they were faithful to a brand or a company.

67% are likely to leave the companies they are faithful after a rude or apathetic experience.

· 63% are likely to change due to the inability to connect with someone for customer support.

· 60% are likely to change simply because of poor customer service.

And these are your faithful customers!

Loyalty is at the rendezvous. The past two years have disrupted business for a number of reasons. You can blame the pandemic for shutdowns, slowdowns, supply chain issues and employment issues. But there’s a reason most companies overlook. It’s because customer expectations have changed. They articulated new expectations as businesses changed and adapted to new processes, protocols and more during the pandemic. Some companies do not follow these changes.

That’s why this April is the perfect time to recognize International Customer Loyalty Month and make the effort to understand why customers keep coming back (or why not).

There are many ways to show your love for your customers, but I want to get more strategic and share an exercise that will get you focused on your customers. So, gather your team and ask the following five questions:

1. Why do customers do business with us rather than the competition? Don’t say because we have great service. The competition is probably saying the same thing. What really makes you different?

2. Why do customers choose to do business with a competitor rather than with us? If you don’t have information about what your competitors are doing and you aren’t, you’re missing out on great information. Rest assured, because it is important! Once you have this information, you can adapt (not copy) these reasons to get more customers to start doing business with you and to get existing customers to do more business with you.

3. What percentage of our customers leave us? This is a discussion of your churn rate. How many customers unsubscribe? Ideally, you attract more new customers than you lose. The number is important and it brings us to the next question.

4. Why did our customers leave us? Sometimes life happens. People move, die or experience other changes in their personal circumstances. They may leave for competitive reasons, such as price or location. (Note: These weren’t repeat customers. They were just repeat customers.) What you don’t want is to lose customers because you’ve let them down with poor customer service or poor customer service. client experience. You have control over this. As part of this exercise, consider contacting some customers that you know have “defected” to the competition to find out why.

5. Do we do something specific or do we have a strategy that keeps customers coming back (instead of going somewhere else)? Let’s look at three opportunities. First, some companies have rewards and loyalty programs. It’s a potential incentive when done well. Second, consider what happens during a given interaction between customers and your employees. This is a great setup for my customer loyalty issuewhich is aimed at all those who are in contact with the customer so that they constantly keep in mind: Will what I’m doing keep the customer coming back the next time they need what we’re selling? And third, while the customer loyalty issue is situational, think about what you are doing in class, which can be part of your process, which brings your customers back to you. In other words, is your typical CX player recurring?

A meeting with discussion around these five questions is a great start and will get you thinking about retention and rewarding loyalty, but also remember to take the time to recognize employees who can be a big reason your customers keep coming back. . Beyond salespeople, it’s anyone in direct contact with the customer, including customer service, who does much more than answer questions and handle complaints. Maybe a better name for them, at least a more meaningful name, might be customer loyalty service. After all, it’s how they handle these customer interactions that makes customers say, “I’ll be back!” »

(For more information on Customer Loyalty Month, visit www.CustomerLoyaltyMonth.com.)

Joseph P. Harris