Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Brand loyalty: it works both ways.

         Yesterday I read an intriguing suggestion from a marketing consultant. He said that if we are to expect loyalty from our customers, we have to be loyal to them.

          I think this twist is important. It helps us focus on customer service through a new lens. What can we do to deserve a customer's loyalty? I don't mean a free smoothie when you buy ten. I mean something that adds lasting value to the relationship.

          What can a marketer offer to engender loyalty in customers by being loyal to them?

          Trust: consistently giving your customers honest quality and good value.

          Confidence: serving your customers with the same quality and taste level they've come to count on, and the kind of products and services that keep up with their growing and changing needs.

          Excitement: offering them a continuing sense of discovery.

          A sense of belonging: that "this place is for me." The environment, the people, the selection and assortment. Acknowledging their loyalty and your gratitude for it.

          Belief in your customers: you are here to serve them because they are important. You respect them, appreciate them, and honor them with the products and services that are best for them.

          If we don't show our allegiance to our loyal customers, we don't deserve their loyalty. If we have the attitude that all customers are alike, they'll prove us wrong.

          The same is true with an ad agency.  In my experience, it's not free lunches that keep an agency's client in the fold. It's much more personal. It's having people she can trust to be on her side, and her company's side, through tough times as well as good. It's knowing you won't try to sell her on something that's not in her own best interest.  It's understanding and empathizing with both her business needs and her personal needs. Knowing what she needs to do her job well and get ahead; helping her achieve her goals.

         It's cautioning her when she's wrong as well as complimenting her when she's right. Honesty in all things, and doing your job of presenting her with new ideas and superlative work. These are the things that bind a client to an ad agency.

          In short, if you want someone to love you, you'd better not wait till February to send that valentine.


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