You’ve probably noticed that some companies manage to build a community of dedicated, die-hard fans and followers… They create real relationships.
These companies boast brand loyalists who come back time and time again, and more importantly, speak the praises of their favorite company simply because they like it that much!
But how does this happen?
What’s the difference between a company like Apple (who has a ravenous, extremely loyal following) and the next computer maker?
What makes Zappos the go-to choice for many shoe shoppers (instead of going to the mall or any of the other choices out there)?
How does Nordstrom get customers to come back again and again to willingly pay premium prices?
What’s the secret sauce that separates these companies from the competition?
In a word: relationships.
These companies look at their profits differently than the other guys – they understand that the key to lasting success is long-term sales, not immediate transactions.
They know that getting their customers to come back is how they keep profits strong.
But it isn’t just about the money here…
Apple, Nordstrom, and Zappos are all actively putting their customers’ needs first – doing everything they can to provide real value with their products and services, and that is what builds relationships.
Here are 3 major ways they achieve this:
1. Extraordinary Service
Part of building lasting customer relationships is offering top-notch service in every scenario – from the purchase experience to customer support, easy return policies to expert advice…
The best companies to do business with make the experience memorable and pleasant for the customer…
If you have a problem with your Apple product, there are numerous channels so you can get the support that best meets your preferred method of communication.
If you aren’t sure what you want, the Nordstrom staff will help you put together a look that fits your style – not for any extra charge or as some premium service, they do it because it’s helpful and adds an extra element of customer service to their company.
They also have a truly legendary return policy…
When you order a package from Zappos, it arrives so fast it’ll make your head spin… and they do this on purpose. Expediting their packages is a way of finding some middle ground between the convenience of online shopping and the instant gratification of shopping in store (and shipping is ALWAYS free).
And these are just general policies!
These companies also share an approach to employee freedom that allows them to be creative to solve unique problems. Check out testimonials from the customers of these companies (and others like them), and you’ll find plenty of examples where one employee went totally above and beyond to wow the customer.
2. The Growth Factor™
This is where customer experience trumps all other facets of a company, where the number one goal is to provide customers with a greater advantage and get them closer to their desired outcome.
A great quote from Zig Ziglar helps sum up this idea: “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
Companies (like The Predictable Profits Insiders’ Club Members) who understand and employ The Growth Factor™ are not profit obsessed…
They stand behind their products and services because they believe in them, and they support their customers because they truly want to help them!
When businesses are interested in helping their customers (not just taking their money), the results are actually more profitable in the long run…
Customers come to know and trust the brands that use this approach, and spend significantly more over their lifetime as a customer.
…Talk about a win/win!
3. Listening to The Customer
Part of providing awesome service and creating a great experience comes from listening to feedback from your customers (and actually responding to it).
If you visit an Apple store, the employees there are going to pay close attention to exactly what you want to achieve, and help you choose a product accordingly. They won’t just shove the most expensive piece of equipment in your hands to make a big sale…
Zappos has a “Customer Loyalty Team” that can be contacted by phone or email 24 hours a day… just so their customers always have a place to ask questions and offer direct feedback.
It’s about meeting the customer halfway – listening to what they want to achieve and doing everything in your power to produce that result. It’s about honestly evaluating negative feedback and using it to make the company better, and using positive feedback to expand what you’re doing right…
Customer loyalty makes the difference between consistent profit and struggling to get new people in the door…
When customers keep coming back of their own accord, making purchases, and telling their friends and family about the great experiences they have, the business benefits from consistent sales, a reduced need to chase leads, and best of all – free word-of-mouth advertising!
It’s up to every member of the company, from the CEO to the part-timer, to build relationships with customers based on trust, service, and communication…
If you value them, they will value you, and that’s what loyalty is all about!
In your corner,
P.S. If you’re a member of The Predictable Profits Insiders’ Club – chances are you’re already know this stuff… if you’re not a member, how much longer are you going to let your competitors try to get an edge over you? Join today.