Return on Behavior Magazine
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Customer Experience

September 27th, 2009

Dispelling Customer Loyalty Myths


If one were to read the thousands of books written about creating customer loyalty, that would be an insurmountable task.

Each week the business best seller lists include books telling us that we must “exceed customer expectations,” create “mass customized products” and so on. Fact is, it really isn’t that hard. Much of what we’re told about creating truly loyal customers is not fact but fiction.

Top 5 customer loyalty myths:

Myth #1

Technology will save us. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of us have grown up adapting to technology rather than it adapting to us. If we are serious about creating loyal customers, we must ask ourselves if our technology is helping us or hurting us. If you have to work around your technology to serve customers then you shouldn’t be using it. Unless your technology is helping you serve customers faster, more cost efficiently or with a higher level of service, get rid of it!

Myth #2

As long as we keep our customers satisfied, they will keep coming back. Contrary to what was true in the ’80s and ’90s, customers now demand much more from companies, products and services in order to continue to spend money with them. In his book, The Loyalty Effect, Fredrich Reicheld found that of customers who defected from a product or service to a similar product or service, more than 80 percent of them were actually satisfied. That means that simply satisfying customers doesn’t help us create loyal customers. Companies have to build deeper and stronger bonds with their customers because simple satisfaction won’t keep them coming back.

Myth #3

We have to exceed expectations to keep customers coming back for more. Surprisingly, customers are much easier on us than we give them credit for. We simply have to set the appropriate expectation and then meet it, consistently! This is not to say that the expectation we set can be completely out of line with the marketplace, but assuming we are in the ballpark of our competition, we don’t need to exceed anything, simply meet it. If companies are up front and honest about what to expect from their product or service, customers are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, time rather than money, is the new commodity for most of our customers, make sure everyone within your organization is setting appropriate expectations.

Myth #4

If we had more money and people, we could provide better service. Most organizations have all that they need to drive significant improvements in service right now, the secret is in accessing it and then allowing everyone to be involved. It’s impossible to overestimate the power of aligning everyone in the organization toward a higher goal, something bigger than each of them as individuals or departments and teams. When everyone within the organization is allowed to participate in providing solutions and ideas, the brainpower of the entire organization is accessed and energized. Not only do you get better ideas that tend to be easier to implement, but you also gain a feeling of accountability and responsibility throughout the organization.

Myth #5

Everyone has a poor performer…as long as I keep him/her away from customers, it’s not a big deal. Wrong! Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only does a poor performer make your customers angry, they also affect the overall performance of the team. In a team of five, one poor performer can bring the overall productivity of the team down by more than 40 percent! Additionally, high performers tend to leave a team because they don’t get enough time or training from their boss. If you are spending all your time with your poor performer, you have a 76 percent higher chance of losing your high performers. For the sake of your customers and your high performers, fire your poor performers now!

About the Author

Cindy Solomon

Nationally recognized Speaker, Consultant and Executive Coach Cindy Solomon provides inspiring keynote presentations, transformative workshops, and world class executive coaching programs to help you create long-term, profitable relationships with your customers, your leaders and your employees. More info: Currently, Cindy is President of Solomon & Associates, Inc., an organization dedicated to creating high performance leaders, developing highly effective employees and building truly customer-focused organizational cultures. She is known for her witty, motivational and fully customized delivery, which allows your attendees to build their knowledge base, while building their enthusiasm for productive change, life-long learning and exceptional customer service Cindy Solomon is one of the most sought after leadership and customer loyalty speakers in the country.

Over the past two decades, she has helped literally thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations like yours build bottom line results by creating profitable, long-term relationships with customers, leaders and employees alike. Cindy's innovative speaking programs were born out of personal insights from her time as a senior leader in corporate America and the vast experience she has gathered as a renowned strategic consultant. The combination is a powerful mix of engaging examples and motivational advice that enables you to create more courageous leaders and extraordinary levels of service. Whether you operate in the corporate sector, public sector or professional association arena, your members or employees are sure to gain energy and momentum from Cindy's humorous and compelling insights on the current business landscape and what we can expect in the future. Cindy's talents as a meeting facilitator and panel discussion leader can produce highly productive, bottom-line oriented meetings that enable your organization to develop the leaders and create the culture necessary to survive - and thrive - in today's volatile business environment. Respected enterprises for which Cindy has facilitated meetings include: Cisco, Eli Lilly & Company, Oracle, Genentech, WPO, WBENC, Microsoft, the University of Phoenix (Apollo Group), Telluride Ski & Golf and WITI. As a co-founder and active participant in The Women's Success Forum, Cindy has also had a powerful impact on thousands of woman leaders around the country.   Cindy's insights have appeared in PINK magazine, More magazine, The Denver Business Journal, NSAA magazine, NGCOA magazine, The Naked Truth: A Manifesto for Working Women, The Transparency Edge, Women On Top and Extreme Excellence and more. Cindy's book, Creating a Culture of CourageTM, is due out in 2009.


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