The MadAveGroup Blog
Many years ago when I lived in another town, I used to visit a farm stand during the summer months.
The lady who ran the stand didn't have nearly the selection of the local grocery store, and her produce was even a bit more expensive than the store's.
But she knew my name. And she used it every time she saw me.
She was friendly. She put an extra apple in my bag now and then. And every time I left the stand, she sent me off with a warm "thank you" and an invitation to come back soon.
I didn’t get any of that from the grocery store.
Yes, the store was fancier and air conditioned, but I never walked out with the sense that I had just been cared for.
The lady at the farm stand quickly earned my loyalty by making me feel important, showing her appreciation for my business, and giving me added value.
Can you see how that approach could go a long way toward helping you win and keep customers?
It’s much easier, less expensive and more profitable to sell ten different products to one happy, loyal person than to sell one product to ten relatively disengaged people.
So, consider making account penetration a higher priority: increase your share of each customer, rather than increasing your share of the market.
Meeting that goal requires strengthening relationships with your most important customers; learning their wants, needs, pains and goals, and actively looking for opportunities to care for them.
When you take a legitimate interest in helping your customers succeed, when you serve more as a consultant and less as a vendor looking for a quick sale, when you truly work on behalf of your customers’ interests, you’ll earn the type of loyalty that's necessary for deeper relationships to prosper.
Partner with your best customers. Find ways to get more involved with their businesses, and let them into yours. Develop ways you can work together for the betterment of both companies. As a partner that delivers real value, you become much harder to shake when cheaper competitors move into the market.
Finally, the customer whose business consistently nets your company a million dollars per year is more valuable to you than the customer who spends a couple thousand dollars once in a while, so why treat those two customers equally?
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply the basics of good service to every customer, but committing the same resources to the smaller client can't possibly yield the same return.
And if your employees believe there is no difference between customers, they’ll have no incentive to provide preferential treatment to those who deserve it.
However you choose to measure their importance to you, your more valuable customers should receive an even higher degree of service. After all, they pay for it every day with their loyalty to you.
Yeah, it’s just a game.
But I’m feeling better than usual this morning - the morning after the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA title in franchise history.
I was born just outside of Cleveland - east side. I grew up there - west side. Then, I left for college at age 18 and I haven’t lived there since - almost 35 years now.
But it’s still my city. And Cleveland teams are still my teams. Through all the moments of disappointment. Through all the seasons without hope. Through the worst drought any fan has ever had to endure, they were - and always will be - my teams.
And I’m far from the only one who feels that way.
So, if teams that consistently and even predictably underperform can maintain a passionate fan base, you can certainly find ways to encourage customer loyalty, right?
Each team is different; not just from city to city, but from year to year. As players and coaches change, teams develop unique personalities and playing styles. Their marketing departments may even latch onto those differences and promote them. What’s unique about your team? What are the benefits of that uniqueness? How can you spread the word about your brand’s style and personality?
In post-game interviews, many of the Cavs talked about believing in themselves, despite the fact that no team in NBA history had come back from a three-games-to-one deficit. What about your team members? Do they believe in what they do every day? Do they look for ways to improve? Do they understand how important their roles and their performance are to customer perception and your company’s success?
Next season, the Cavs will be the team to beat. And yes, there will be even greater pressure on them to repeat. Likewise, how does your team improve its game to meet tougher competition and rising customer expectations? Do you have a goal - or several - that everybody is shooting for? Are you all moving in the same direction, unified and focused?
Those are all questions you need to address before you can maximize customer loyalty.
If you’re a Cavaliers fan, take a few days to enjoy the team’s success, and then get back to work on your own. Let us know if we can help.