We each have that one company we’ve hired that is absolutely fantastic. It may be your landscaper, favorite restaurant, retail store, airline, parts supplier or marketing firm. Think about that company for a minute, and you’ll start to smile. “They just get it,” you say to yourself. You’d never consider switching to a different provider, and you rant to anyone who will listen how great they are and how your friends and colleagues just have to use them. You are a raving fan.
This is the type of loyalty we desperately crave in our businesses. The holy grail of customer loyalty and retention. The relationships that span decades instead of minutes; the ones where your customers effectively become your best sales people as they extoll your virtues to new prospects. It is widely reported that the cost to win a new customer is generally more than double that of keeping an existing one. Deeply loyal customers help grow your business, are less price-sensitive, and become the foundation to sustainable success.
Unfortunately, snagging this type of freakishly loyal customer can be illusive. In our transactional world of fickle customers, how do we snag the prize? It turns out that cracking the code is easier than you may think. Just follow this four-step approach, and you’re sure to create wild raving fans:
1) Crush expectations. This should just be the ante to play, but so many companies miss the mark. Here, deliver on the expectations with precision. On time, high quality, no excuses. Nail the details since this is your craft. Don’t make your problems your customers’ problems. Instead, ensure the work is top-notch, timely, and complete.
2) Show you’ve got their back. Throughout your customer interactions, demonstrate that you place their best interests ahead of your own. Show how they can save money instead of spending more. Provide honest, helpful counsel and ensure your client feels your empathy.
3) Demonstrate passion. There’s no way your customers will be excited and passionate if you’re not. Instead of rolling your eyes and slogging through the work, demonstrate your enthusiasm and excitement. This will directly translate to your customer. Passion is contagious.
4) Deliver something unexpected. Whatever you promised, add at least one thing extra. That surprise and delight could be an extra service, a small gift, an early launch, or a product upgrade. The investment of a small over-delivery will pay gigantic dividends in the long run.
Practicing these steps consistently can create extreme loyalty, while deviating from them exposes you to competitive threats. In our complex and high-tech world, doubling down on old-fashioned service can be one of the most powerful technologies at your disposal.
Don’t just deliver, but instead delight. And that return-on-delight will be dashingly delicious.