Customer loyalty cannot be truly achieved without exceptional customer service. With so many options presented to your customers every day, it’s not enough to offer them sub-par service. If they can’t easily find products on your shelves (or on your website) or receive assistance from your staff, they’ll likely move on to the competition where they receive a better overall shopping experience. While loyalty programs are a great tool to communicate with your customers, provide promotions to increase spending/visits, track customer behavior, and a lot more, loyalty programs alone cannot prevent (or fix) really poor customer experiences.
78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience
-Source: American Express Survey, 2011
This could result in an alarming amount of lost business! Is your website easy to navigate so customers can quickly find product details, book an appointment, or check out? If not, you could be causing frustration and losing customers to competitor websites. It’s important to make the sales process simple and convenient both online and in-store.
For every customer who complains, 26 customers remain silent
-Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs
When you receive a customer complaint, it allows you to take a look at your current process and learn ways your business can improve. Additionally, the upset customer is giving you a chance to make it right and win them back. However, the majority of dissatisfied customers will not bother providing any feedback to the merchant which makes it impossible to resolve and fix. What’s worse is that these unhappy customers are telling their friends (about 9-15 people) about their horrible experience! You’ll want to make sure you have an outlet for customer comments – good and bad. A simple survey after they visit or make a purchase will allow you to gather valuable insight into what your customers love about your business and what can be improved.
80% of companies say they deliver "superior" customer service. However only 8% of consumers think these same companies deliver "superior" customer service
-Source: Lee Resources
Would your customers say that your business delivers superior customer service? Why not ask them before it’s too late to find out how they feel about your business. While it may sting, don’t be afraid of receiving some negative comments because that’s how you’ll improve. Plus, it’s much better to receive complaints to you directly instead of seeing them posted online! Start with a simple survey question like, “are you likely to refer our business to your friends?” You may want to add a question such as, “how could we have served you better today?” to allow customers add their own comments. If you start noticing a pattern, you’ll be able to identify areas where you can improve. As tempting as it may be, try not to add too many questions or your recipients will likely lose interest.
89 percent of U.S. adults stopped doing business with an organization due to a poor customer experience
-Source: RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report
It’s imperative that you find a way to provide exceptional customer service each time your customers visit or you risk losing them to a competitor that does so. Find ways to stand out and offer a more personalized approach. Maybe it’s sending a hand-written thank you card with their online delivery, or noting their usual coffee order when they arrive. A loyalty program can help you with tracking customer preference, personalized communication, and other ways to provide the VIP treatment for your valuable customers!
The bottom line: an excellent customer experience is the foundation of customer loyalty. It is essential in providing the customer with positive feelings toward your business and is the base for earning trust. Once you have this in place on a consistent basis, you’re ready to get the full potential out of your loyalty program – the cherry on top! Happy members will in turn interact with your customer loyalty program to spend more, visit more, and become long-term advocates for your business.