When it comes to customer loyalty it’s very easy for businesses to focus on those people that have had problems or issues and want to complain.
In some ways this is the ‘low hanging fruit’ of customer relations because often this group will be proactive in contacting you (they have a problem they want to solve after all!) and increasingly they will be vocal about their issues to their peers. So the sensible thing to do is to court these customers directly, and promptly, and it’s commonly acknowledged that this can actually create strong customer loyalty if done well. However, this line of thinking can make it very difficult to concentrate on the ‘enthusiasts’ that already think highly of you company, products and services and are already evangelising about you online and in the real world!
Rather than treating this loyalty as a passive bonus, why not court these enthusiasts as well? Perhaps some of this apparent neglect comes from the popularity of using Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) measurements. Undoubtedly, these systems are very good at giving a measurable ‘snapshot’ of how well your relationship is going with your customers and use a closed loop feedback model, which has very specific aims of finding problems. However, these systems also work on the assumption that a customer experience will start off on a high but can deteriorate if neglected, encouraging the business to ensure this doesn’t happen by engaging the potential pain points as a priority. When things go wrong NPS and CSAT ring the alarm bells to alert you but they have no real scope to highlight the positive feedback as well.
Knowing what your company does well is, arguably, just as valuable as knowing what faults your service has. Enthusiasts will often be busy telling the world about the benefits of your products or services so it makes sense to court them and encourage their continued support. Most people have at least one product, service or brand that they like or feel devoted to, and they will continue to purchase it when appropriate. So a ‘thank you’ from your favourite supplier, be it a free offer or discount for example, is usually appreciated and is a positive way of reinforcing and further encouraging this customer loyalty.
Thinking from the perspective of enthusiasm can be a radical shift for some organisations. Tackling potential problems has been the default response for many businesses for a long time, but successful and truly brand-savvy organisations realise that positive feedback can be very beneficial. Here are five reasons why a shift to also focussing on promoters and enthusiasts can help a business to thrive:
- Enthusiasts help to create a positive flow throughout your company, at all levels - be it contact agents (who may be more accustomed to tackling complaints, which in isolation doesn’t make for a happy work balance), the sales team (who can offer real anecdotal evidence to their pitches) and account managers etc. Being able to discuss and celebrate what people like about your company as well as being aware of any problems, gives your team positive reinforcement that they are doing a good job and providing a valued service that is appreciated.
- Concentrating on the good things your customers highlight, helps to identify your key differentiators, which is highly useful in sales and marketing planning.
- Promoting and supporting a group of customers that is very enthusiastic of your products and services helps to propagate these positive attitudes. These enthusiasts will praise you via word-of-mouth or online, providing a new stream of clients that will further promote you to an increasingly widening audience.
- Enthusiasts will ensure you have a group of extremely loyal groundswell market that is less likely to buy from your competitors. In larger numbers this can represent a valuable customer base for your business and is well worth supporting.
- Promoters and enthusiasts of your products/services will be more engaged and reflective on what you deliver. This feedback will help you positively to develop better products and services for the demographic of customer that wants to buy from you.