Have you ever washed a rental car? This is a question I ask of managers and leaders of traditional businesses or non-for-profits, and 99% of the time the answer is a smile and a “no.” The sense of ownership has a direct link with loyalty, and loyalty has a direct link with business growth. In other words, if your customers and employees are willing to “wash the rental car” (the organization), then the chances of developing sustainable profitability are high.
If the reason for an organization to be in business centers on their customers or the community they serve, in order to achieve organizational success, the leadership team should assume the following critical functions as it relates to their customers:
- Develop a customer-oriented strategy
- Design and implement customer-friendly policies and processes
- Develop employees’ skills
- Monitor and improve processes on the issues that are defined as most important to the customer.
The customer is now the center of the business universe. Everything in the organization should rotate around increasing customer retention and having the right interaction with our customers, with the sole objective of creating loyal growth.
According to Barbara Glanz’s Human Business Model, whether you are serving employees as a leader or a manager or are serving a customer, you always have choices. There are two levels in any interaction that we have:the business level, which is focused on achieving external objectives and goals a specific person has, and the human level, which is all about how people feel during that interaction. Most of the training we have received is focused on creating interactions at a business level, but we have received little training on the human level interaction.
At the human level is where customer loyalty grows. According to the statistics, a 5% increase in customer retention consistently resulted in a 25-100% increase in profits. This unbelievable result is consequence of a powerful force created by the emotional connection to your customers.
Organizations invest a lot of money developing products and services to compete in the marketplace and also design and implement customer service strategies to provide support and generate customer satisfaction. Nowadays, customer satisfaction is synonymous with mediocrity. Using a grading system, satisfaction could easily translate into a “C” on a report card. When customers receive more value than they expected, then the grade rises to an “A,” which always equates to loyal customers.
If we draw the diagram of every Point of Connection that a potential customer has with the organization from before the sale is made to after the delivery of the product or service, we would be able to visualize the total buying process. We need to provide all customers with the level of value and emotional support they expect at every Point of Connection.
Every Point of Connection is an opportunity to connect emotionally with your customer and be sure they are receiving the value as they define it. It is an opportunity to interact at the human level generating the emotional contact that will make them come back and bring their family and friends.
If you are a business owner, or you are leading a business unit or a whole organization, in order to effectively manage Points of Connection; I want to encourage you to follow these steps:
- Identify all Points of Connection between your customers and your company.
- Once they are identified, you must understand what value your customer is looking for in each Point of Connection.
- If there is a gap between the value your customer is expecting and what currently exists, then it is management’s job to put in place proper employee development and process improvement to eliminate the gap.
If you want more information about the three above-mentioned steps to create loyal growth in your business, or you are interested in implementing a customer loyalty strategy for your organization, please call (305) 722-7213, or you may also send me an e-mail at [email protected].