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Loyalty is a 2-Way Street

By: Bill Bleuel

 

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Most companies involved in retail or commercial sales are always looking for customer loyalty. It seems that companies often forget there is another side to loyalty. The other side of the relationship is being loyal to your customers.

 
We are often reminded as we see companies advertising special deals for new customers that we, the current loyal customers, get nothing for remaining loyal. Upon reflection it would appear the new customers are more important than loyal customers to the company as they advertise special deals for new customers only.
 
This is a problem that many companies are ignoring; namely, negatively affecting their loyal customers by not being loyal to them. Loyal customers expect loyalty in return and when they don’t see it demonstrated, there is a distinct possibility that their loyalty may be negatively affected. Although little research has been performed to measure the extent of this situation of providing additional value to new customers while ignoring old customers, we think there is an opportunity to increase customer loyalty by demonstrating company loyalty to their customers. This may be demonstrated in several ways (some of which are being tested at the present time). For example,
 
  1. Say thank you to your customers with an occasional surprise gift or token (which may even be a marketing give away e.g. logo desk products such as pens, note pads, etc)
  2. Occasionally give special deals/discounts to existing customers only
  3. Exchange products and/or services with your customers (especially B2B customers)
  4. Find ways to assist your customers to increase or improve their business (customer meetings where your customers can network with others who are also using your products or services)
 
The bottom line is that companies must learn to see loyalty as a two-way street. It is one of the best ways of building lasting company-customer relationships.
 
This article was originally published by The Customer Institute
Published: January 9, 2014
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Bill Bleuel

Dr. Bill Bleuel is an award-winning Professor of Decision Sciences at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. Dr. Bleuel’s expertise lies in the quantitative aspects of business. He specializes in the measurement and analysis of operations, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer retention. He has held senior positions in engineering, marketing and service management at Xerox, Taylor Instrument Company and Barber Colman Company. Dr. Bleuel has also experience as general manager in two start-up companies that he co-founded.

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