A lot is made of customer loyalty these days and what it takes to earn it. Where does it start, what does it take, and what’s it mean? Businesses can earn our loyalty ahead of a sale, during it, and during the ownership experience. You may ask how it’s possible to earn that kind of relationship even before it begins. Here’s an example of a business I love doing business with that shows how it’s done.
I’ve mentioned before that I bike. I started riding mountain bikes over ten years ago. That’s a sport that is hard on equipment and at some point I needed some work done on a wheel. A friend recommended I go to Reality Bikes in Cumming, GA. Chris, who runs the shop there, did a great job and they’ve done work on my bikes several times since then. There’s not a ton of money in that but they always take care of me. I’ve gotten better at doing work myself so I really have them do things I can’t. One time, they did a little work prepping a frame I’d bought somewhere else (they don’t sell that brand – more on this later). They could have griped that I should have bought the bike there. The reality is that there’s a lot of shopping options for bikes and bike parts which puts pressure on local shops. Instead, they effectively charged me for half of the work and told me how great the bike looked. Then I bought my wife a bike there. The owner, Todd Muller, really listened to her and they even upgraded a few parts on the stock bike she bought.
- Knowing their target market and going a bit wider (my bike is nicer than the wife’s)
- Treat customers well and go out of your way to make sure they’re happy
- When – not if – something goes wrong, take the opportunity to have a positive interaction with your customer.
- Show passion for what you do. Not false enthusiasm or hype. Genuinely care about what you’re doing.
- Realize your customers may not buy everything from you. There are lots of options in the world. Everything needs to work for them though so aim to make their entire experience everything it can be.