How often we use words without knowing exactly what they should mean in the context in which we are using them. Loyalty is such a word. Everyone in business wants to “develop customer loyalty”, but the process to reach this goal is usually left to the interpretation of the business owner. The dictionary defines loyalty as the emotional factor between people who choose to support a personal relationship. The relationship I am speaking about is one based on true friendship, accountability and reliability.
Tony Cram, in his book Customers that Count, defined the characteristics of personal relationships as follows:
- Knowledge: each party has an up-to-date knowledge of the other
- Application: this knowledge is active; in other words, if one party knows that the other party has a passion for golf, then they will pass on information about up-coming golf events, give golf related items as gifts, buy copies of golf magazines, etc.
- Interactive: there is a two way dialogue, with listening as well as talking
- Long term: these are long term commitments
- Mutually beneficial: each party seeks to benefit the other.
Cram also defines eight factors that a customer seeks in establishing this type of a relationship:
- Reliability; you keep your promises
- Trust: I have confidence in you
- Recognition: you remember my needs
- Accessibility: we can communicate
- Service: you mange my time effectively
- Education: you keep me up to date
- Preference: I get fair prices and priority
- Individuality: I like to associate myself with you
If you don’t have a “customer loyalty development process” use the above points and start building a true loyalty program in your organization and in your life.
It’s difficult to find common ground with others when the only person you’re focused on it yourself.
Nick J. Petra Have your friends subscribe to this blog at www.strategicduck.com