In my past post about customer loyalty, I mentioned that “Loyalty requires working on these satisfied customers, giving them excellent, high quality service, forming a relationship with them to find out exactly want they want, how it can be delivered to them in the best possible manner, and consistently providing your service that exceeds their needs.”
Through learning about relationship marketing in my CIM course, I now understand it’s not just a matter of providing an fantastic product or service with excellent customer service to attain customer loyalty, it’s the relationship factor that is important.
Relationships happen when you use dialogue with your customers. You need to be able to converse with them on their level, learn and retain knowledge about each one of them, and then bring this information up again at the right moment to benefit the customer it is related to.
For example, I have been using a particular garage that used to be located at the bottom of our road. My relationship grew with them because of the kind of car I had. The owner and I both owned a Renault Scenic of the same age and batch. It was interesting that his car developed a problem (which he managed to solve) always two months before mine did, so that when I limped in he was ready and waiting for both my car and me. “Ah, Mrs Elliott, we were expecting you! Is the suspension gone again?”
The Renault Service Book suggested we used Renault dealers to do our MOT, but as the nearest local Renault garage seemed to provide such a poor service, it was always our garage that picked up the pieces (so now they do the MOT each year). I popped in last Thursday to book this annual event, and as soon as I walked in, it was “Hello, Mrs Elliott, is it MOT time again? We don’t need to do a service, as that was done last year” – and it wasn’t the usual chap behind the counter as well. Continuity of good customer service throughout the business’s personnel is a powerful motive to have, and should be cultivated.
A business who can greet and acknowledge each customer by name, remember every fact about them without reference (or have easy access to it), be aware of related foibles (appreciation of my relationship with my car), take my requests seriously (follow-up of my request for my break-shoes should be replaced proved I was right), provide free advice whenever needed (reassurance about a particular grinding noise was much appreciated), have plenty of time for their customers (thorough investigation when my car failed to start properly resulted in no charge because nothing was found or replaced), all contributes to repeat business with referrals to friends and other potential customers.
And when they moved from the bottom of our road, do you think I followed them? Slight inconveniences such as distance can easily be accommodated when you know that you’re going to get a brilliant service, even when it is from a different location.