Best Practices for Consumer Loyalty
Loyalty defined by Miriam Webster: The quality of being loyal to someone or something. A strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Loyalty defined by consumer affairs: They love us and want to stay, hooray! (but maybe just for today…..)
This was the theme at the SOCAP Canada community spring event held May 28th in beautiful Montreal, Quebec.
The steps to developing consumer loyalty are directly tied to the way we treat the relationship with our consumers and how we meet expectations in an environment that’s always changing.We must also be aware, as reminded by Pierre-Marc Jasmin of Services Triad, that the customer experience is not just the contact center, but the total organization – everyone must be aligned. We all know that you can’t win without a scoreboard, but in consumer affairs, who’s keeping score?
Internally, those in consumer affairs would argue Quality Assurance keeps score on how WE are winning – or losing. Unfortunately and all too often, a good score on a quality form doesn’t necessarily mean the customer had a positive and good experience – i.e. we lost and didn’t even know it.
Suzanne Henricksen with The Clorox Company shared that, according to consumers, 50% of the time, customer service fails to answer questions. That’s the score of failure. How can we win at loyalty if we aren’t even addressing the consumer’s questions – not to mention solving their needs?
The end goal is always to provide first contact resolution, and for this consistency is key. We must ensure that the content intended for the consumer is the same across all channels and properties. The answer to a question that a customer reads on your Facebook page should be consistent had they chosen to call the contact center instead.
One of the ways to solve this is through technology, and taking advantage of a shared document approach. There are many document sharing platforms out there – just find one that works for you. Version control becomes easy, access becomes instant, and updates are fresh. “Content is King,” said Bill Gates almost 20 years ago and it couldn’t be more relevant that in today’s digital universe!
This leads into how we leverage the Consumer Experience in a digital environment. Consumer affairs is no longer sitting behind the wall of privacy. We’re out there loud and proud, get used to it! It’s been over 11 years since Facebook launched and it seems we’re still learning how it all works. It’s as though the game plan changes just when we think we’ve got it all figured out.
Whatever your social strategy, there should be one goal – going beyond consumer’s expectations. We can’t just meet our consumer’s needs, we must exceed them. Fortunately, Corinne Lalonde with L’Oreal shared four best practices on how to win in the game of expectations:
- Acknowledge your customers – It’s important to note that acknowledge does not mean answer
- Understand the message – Focus on the underlying motivation
- Answer your customers – Be empathetic – the ability to share someone else’s feelings. You must care about the consumer
- Thank and reward your customers – Create a way for the customer to engage with your brand
Winning consumer loyalty is not just having a game plan, it’s about putting it into action. As you develop the plan for your brand, remember that the best practices you put in place must be sustainable and adopted by the entire organization.
Finally, always remember to go above and beyond consumer’s expectations. You’ll win every time!