Updates from QA Training

When did you last make your customers feel valued?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term used by the marketing departments so frequently that it often seems tired and outdated. In fairness, it expresses what all brands strive for but don’t all get: genuine customer loyalty.


Jennie Marshall | 14 February 2013

I’m sure you’ve heard the term used by the marketing departments so frequently that it often seems tired and outdated. In fairness, it expresses what all brands strive for but don’t all get: genuine customer loyalty.

There are times, however, when this message is re-affirmed in a very meaningful way. It is these personal experiences that frame all experiences, and make them stand out in our minds. Being acknowledged as a special customer and being noticed and valued or being treated like a real VIP, even for a short period of time, is all it takes to truly understand what makes customer loyalty such a valuable asset.

For me, it took many years of banking, a simple letter of personal thanks and a fabulous gift to highlight what consumers have been saying for years - when someone feels valued they respond in kind, with loyalty and with respect.

Truly understanding the power of driving loyalty by making consumers feel special, significant and (most importantly) noticed, is the difference between having a group of people who buy from you and an army of people who would go to some lengths to ensure they buy from you - that is the difference.

No matter the mechanism, the goal of loyalty programmes needs to make consumers feel as if they are appreciated - empty points-based schemes and 'rewards' are irrelevant if the consumer doesn't feel valued. We shouldn't be asking, 'What scheme?', but rather, 'What needs to be done to make our customers feel special, important and valued?'. We should also be honest with ourselves, and find those issues that make people feel 'un-valued' and unimportant, and we should rectify them.

Creating customer loyalty can seem a stretch too far for some brands. It is easy to succumb to the belief that the competition makes it hard to stand out, let alone ensuring customers seek you out, time and again. Somehow we mistake money off coupons and promotions as drivers of loyalty - though it can help, they are more often drivers of volume sales, but not necessarily loyalty.

The emotional mind-set that occurs when a customer is genuinely loyal is so powerful that cost and competition often make little difference. A truly loyal customer will walk all the way down to the other end of the shopping aisle to find their preferred brand, rather than pick-up the item that is on the end-of-shelf promotional display. They will ask for help if they can't find it, true loyalists will even drive to another store if need be.

If you question a genuinely loyal consumer about why they love their favourite brand, it is often because of the way that brand makes them feel (valued, loved, listened-to, appreciated). Any brand can get in that close, it is all a matter of listening and reaching out, and cherishing the consumer. It is the personal touch too, which is harder to achieve for a soap brand than a bank - yet does it need to be? With a little creativity, even a soap brand can show it has heart - just look at Dove and the Campaign for Real Beauty.

I can say one thing, I now plan to give NatWest my continued loyalty in the coming years - something makes me realise, now more than before, that it is a bank deserving of my faithfulness. I think I may even make it a point to open my next ISA with them.

Our new customer service excellence solutions are filled with techniques and tips on how to add value to your customers. Click here to access the dedicated web page.

Jennie Marshall
QA Learning Expert: Leadership, Management and Business Skills
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QA Training | Jennie-marshal

Jennie Marshall

Learning Programme Director (Enterprise and Outsource Services)

Jennie Marshall is an award winning learning professional (Winner of the 2016 Learning Performance Institute, Learning Professional of the Year Bronze Award), who joined QA in 2010 as a Learning Consultant in the Leadership, Management and Business Skills team. She has gone on to progress through various positions to her current role of Learning Programme Director where she now designs, develops and manages the delivery of end to end learning programmes. She is an experienced and dedicated learning professional, with expertise including management, leadership and talent, and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has a proven track record of delivering blended, multi modal learning programmes using Learning Management System platforms and in a more traditional face to face setting, is at home with small and large audiences. She is a proven developer of people and is accredited in the use of a variety of tools including Strength Deployment Inventory®, Emergenetics®, Hogan®, Prism® and Worldsview™ as well as being an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and Kirkpatrick Certified Professional (Bronze).
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