When my brother and I wrote our book, “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences,” we shared both the process and the research results addressing the type of experiences that caused customers to be fanatically loyal. The core of this was making and keeping “Promises,” building a “relationship” and then creating “Trust” with the person (more on these in other posts). Without these ingredients, Loyalty was impossible to achieve. And without loyalty, customers were not inclined to create positive Word-of-Mouth about you.
Think about it, most companies strive to have 20% of their customer base as loyal customers. That might sound great, but that leaves 80% who are NOT. Given that Loyal customers are the primary “spreaders” of positive Word-of-Mouth, that means 80% are either doing you no good or are saying something less than positive, and possibly even flaming you. And non-loyal customers are what we called in our book, “Customers simply looking for the Next Best Deal.” Not good odds for a growing customer base – Vegas gives you better odds than that.
Social Media gives you the chance to improve your odds significantly. It allows you to build “ADVOCATES” that are out there promoting you because of not just the way you may have treated them as a customer but because of the way you write, share stories and demonstrate your authenticity and transparency. This is like “Dog Years”. You can do this face-to-face, and it might take you 7 years, or you could do it in 1 year using social media. And remember, Advocates don’t even have to be customers.
Bottom line: Customer Loyalty is more valuable today than any time in our history of business. Why? Because now we have the tools of social media to create “Word-of-Mouth on STEROIDS”, which is true “Viral Marketing.” Viral Marketing is “exponential” growth – any other type of marketing is linear growth. Don’t know about you, but my math teachers in college always taught me exponential was way better than linear – same is true in the business world. Got Loyalty? If not, better start getting it – and in a big way. Your competitors are probably already thinking about it.