SBJ Article

September 18, 2023

Lost customer loyalty? It can be rediscovered

In today’s digital age, where options are just a click away and brand messages constantly bombard consumers, cultivating loyalty has become a nuanced art. The challenge isn’t just about offering a quality product or service but about creating a memorable experience that resonates with customers on a deeper level.

A key ingredient to loyalty is trust. We build trust through genuine interactions, and it’s the foundation of any lasting relationship. It’s no different in business. It’s not merely about fulfilling a service or delivering a product; it’s about how you make the customer feel throughout their journey with your business. When a customer reaches out with a concern or feedback, I see it as an opportunity. Addressing their issue promptly, listening without defensiveness and ensuring they feel heard can turn a potentially negative experience into a trust-building moment.

Exceeding expectations
I believe the essence of loyalty goes beyond mere transactions. It’s about the overall experience offered to clients from start to finish – and in the manner of interaction throughout the process.

Using an example from our family of Paragon companies, here is how you can develop a customer-focused philosophy, aiming to create unforgettable experiences that keep clients returning:

  1. Prioritize the overall experience. It’s not enough to simply offer a product or service. Businesses should focus on delivering an experience where customers perceive clear value. Ensure that what’s promised aligns seamlessly with what’s delivered, and then strive to offer even more.
  2. Introduce elements of surprise. While it’s crucial to maintain consistency in service, introducing unexpected gestures or bonuses can make a lasting impression. Think of ways to pleasantly surprise your customers, making their interactions with your business memorable.
  3. Engage emotionally. Gauge the emotional response of your customers. Did they leave your business feeling more positive than when they arrived? Were they satisfied with their overall experience? Tapping into these emotional touchpoints can be pivotal in transitioning from a single transaction to a lasting relationship.
  4. Shift from transactions to relationships. Businesses should focus on cultivating relationships instead of merely aiming for sales. Every interaction should be an opportunity to strengthen the bond with the customer, positioning the business as a trusted partner rather than just a service provider.
  5. Aim for advocacy, not just satisfaction. While customer satisfaction is fundamental, the ultimate goal should be to turn satisfied customers into brand advocates. These are individuals who not only remain loyal but also actively promote the business to others.

Monumental effort
Now, this approach can be challenging when customer interactions are extended over months or years. In our construction and renovation projects, for instance, complications are normal, so it’s a challenge to succeed on all these points every time. You won’t always get it right; however, if it is your company’s mission, you can put monumental effort toward it. When you have built good relationships along the way, some grace is typically offered because business is hard.

By integrating these strategies, businesses can craft a customer-centric approach that meets and exceeds expectations, fostering long-term loyalty and creating raving fans. Navigating the landscape of customer loyalty in today’s world requires a blend of authenticity, proactive service and a genuine commitment to understanding the customer.

Focusing on the entire customer experience, rather than just the end product, can be the key to building lasting relationships. In the end, loyalty isn’t just a business metric; it’s a testament to a brand’s ability to resonate with its customers on a deeper level.

By Donnie Brawner, Partner Colligo Holdings
CEO, Paragon 360 & Paragon Fabrication  

Originally Featured in Springfield Business Journal