During Thanksgiving, we talk about all of the things we are thankful for – family, friends, good health, etc. I don’t know about you, but one thing I am thankful for are my clients and the marketing agencies and web design/development companies I regularly partner with.
We can show our clients and partners how much we appreciate them in myriad ways – with reward programs, outstanding customer service, high-quality products and services, by going above and beyond to deliver, and simply by saying thank you.
Doing all of the above is good business – but it might not be enough. In a Social Media Today blog post I read recently, author Steven Van Belleghem dove into customer loyalty and the reasons it is declining.
Declining customer loyalty boils down to one thing: Brands need to provide value, or they will become commoditized and the only thing that will matter is price. That’s a pretty scary thought, especially if you’re a service provider.
Let’s talk about Apple for a minute, even though, yes, I know, using Apple as an example is getting tired. But they are a great example of how to avoid becoming a commodity. No one buys their products based on price; their stuff is really expensive. My Mac cost $1,800. That ain’t cheap.
However, I buy their products for the same reasons as most Apple fans do: they are beautifully and thoughtfully designed, offer a superlative user experience, and are not full of bugs that require constant patches. Also, their hands-on customer service is amazing. If you have a problem, you know someone at The Genius Bar can help.
So, how do you ensure you are providing so much value that pricing becomes irrelevant?
Find your niche: Pick one or two things you are good at, and do them better than anyone else. Make it a priority to continue to improve upon those differentiators. Complacency is not an option.
Document your values: Write down and share your values with your clients. People like to do business with brands that share the same values. Make a commitment to live by those values and consistently demonstrate them.
Be transparent: Be upfront about your pricing. Tell your story. When you mess up, apologize and publicly fix it. Explain how and why you do things the way you do.
Exceed expectations: People have really high expectations, so keep any promises you make. Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. When feasible, go above and beyond.
Communicate: Keep channels of communication open. Make it easy for customers to reach you and respond to them as quickly as possible.
What do you do to provide superlative value and encourage brand loyalty?
Image courtesy of toucanhomes.com