Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction

Most businesses believe that a satisfied customer is also a loyal customer. That is not always the case, as your customer can be satisfied and not loyal to your business. Satisfaction is an emotion while loyalty is related to a future action taken by the customer.

Building satisfied and loyal customers require:

  • Keeping customers engaged in the salesprocess
  • Educating customers on why they should choose you over your competition
  • Knowing the unique needs of your customers and satisfying those needs

Not every customer is destined to be a life-long customer— but if you follow the tactics above, both you and your customer will be set up for a happy and productive relationship.

Understanding your customer loyalty level.

  • Satisfied but disloyal customers: A customer can be fully satisfied but may not be loyal due to following reasons:
    • Experimental Customer. These types of customers like to experiment and enjoy the option of diverging in other available businesses in the market.
    • Price Shopper. These customers are happy with your product or service but will only use your service until they are comfortable in duplicating your results at a lower price.
    • Business Growth. These customers may feel that your methods or product and services are outdated, and will go to a different business that markets having and using the latest trends and technology to grow with the customer’s goals.
  • Unsatisfied but loyal customers: The other situation is when the customer is loyal but is unsatisfied. The reasons for this are:
    • Lack of available options: This situation can arise if your business does not offer products or services offered by competitors or when your business offers an inferior service.
    • Emotionally connected: There are some customers who are afraid to change their supplier because of an emotional business attachment or bonding. The customer may feel that it would be best to try and fix an unsatisfied situation rather than start new.

For your business to be successful, it is important for you to gain customer loyalty. While satisfaction may not guarantee loyalty, it is a prerequisite.

Customer Satisfaction

According to a study of 362 marketing agencies, 95% of the agencies believed they placed a priority on the needs of their customers. Additionally, 80% believed they delivered a superior customer experience. While businesses may believe they place a priority on customer services, the same study found that only 8% of customers agreed that these businesses prioritized customer service.[1]

The relationship between businesses and customers are often one-sided. Where businesses may only see customers as numbers, customers want to be seen as individuals. Creating genuine customer experiences are about providing a unique value, surpassing expectations, engaging customers, and remaining honest.

Successful businesses find ways to satisfy and build customer relationships, as they should. Customers are spending their money to partner and invest with your business. They are your brand ambassadors who will promote your business to their friends and family. You should make it a priority to satisfy their needs and concerns. You can help your business get ahead if you can master the art of customer relationships and build loyal followers.

 

[1] “Tuning In to the Voice of Your Customer,” Harvard Management Update, Vol. 10, No. 10, October 2005.

Types of Customers

Customers play a significant role in the success or failure of your business. In fact, the customer is the actual boss in all dealings and responsible for profits generated for your business. The customer is the one who uses the products and services and judges the quality of those products and services. Hence, it’s important for your business to prioritize and retain former customers as well as continually gain new customers to sustain and grow the business. A strategy to gain new customers includes segmenting your current customers into groups which will help determine how to satisfy and attract your desired customer group.

Your segmenting strategy should also take into account:

  • Age group of the customers
  • Geographical location
  • Lifestyle of customers
  • Social status of customers

Targeting the Right Customers

All customers fall within select groups, and it is your responsibility to know which group that is. It is also essential to know if you are reaching your desired targeted group(s). For example, funky designs and loud colors would be a hit among teenagers, whereas middle aged and the elderly would prefer subtle colors and sophisticated designs. Suits and khakis are extremely popular amongst men, whereas females prefer blazers and blouses. Know your target groups and plan accordingly.

Customers are often of the following types:

Loyal Customers. These customers may be less in number but promote higher sales and profit as compared to other customers. These customers are generally satisfied with your product or service and desire consistency and reliability. Loyal customers often require individual attention and rewards that demand quality customer service.

Discount Customers. Discount customers are also frequent visitors but they usually only make purchases when offered discounts on regular products and brands or buy only low-cost products. The greater the discount, the more likely this customer is to purchase.

Impulsive Customers. These customers are difficult to market to as they don’t have any specific item on their purchase list. Handling these customers is a challenge as they don’t look for particular products and are attracted to businesses that have many options to choose from with products and prices on display.

Wandering Customers. These customers are likely to generate the least profit as they are not sure of what they want to purchase or if they want to purchase. Additionally, these customers don’t usually have the finances available to make a purchase but may purchase at a later date dependent on whether they are still interested and have not found a better value elsewhere.

As you can see in the explanations above, loyal and repeat customers are ideal for most businesses. Nonetheless, it is necessary for you to study the behaviors of customers in your chosen demographic before connecting with them as it will help you to identify specific customer needs and respond accordingly. By identifying the behaviors of customers, you can easily create targeted strategies to attract and satisfy their wants and needs.

Distribution Strategy for Press Release

The social networking sites that your company can use to release its press release are Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and Feed Burner. Within each of these sites, you can gain a different audience of users that will link back to your website for the full press release.  This will allow for more traffic and more sales for your company.

Distribute your press release through popular wire services including:

  • Business Wire: www.businesswire.com
  • Market Wire: www.marketwire.com
  • PrimeNewswire: www.primezone.com
  • PR Newswire: www.prnewswire.com
  • PRWeb: www.prweb.com

The reason for publishing with these wire services is to maximize the distribution of the release. By publishing with these services, it allows for the press release to be seen by followers of these sites and will be indexed by many more distribution services and search engines. By using this method, it will allow for further geographic reach of the press release. In addition, by placing the press release on popular sites, it allows for your business to link those users viewing the release back to the company website.

Social networking sites that shoukd be used for distribution will include Google, Yahoo and other vertical market portals including a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) reader.

Keyword tags should also be used to create for a better marketing campaign that will be beneficial to search engines indexing the media release.

The company blog should include information on the press release and will be used as a tool to link readers and followers to the pressrelease page where they can read the full release.

The company blog should also include social networking bookmarks, connections and an RSS feed for users to stay updated with the sites news releases and additional content. By using share tools for facebook, twitter and other social networking sites, it will allow forreaders of your businesses blog and media room to distribute the information to their followers on those specific networks.

The press release should be available within a designated section of your website which will allow for users to easily search for archived releases. This strategy will also allow for search engine to keep an index of the press release in case the distribution sites have taken down the release and it no longer exist in their archive.

The social media pressroom should have information available in many different formats including audio, video, photos, news releases, background information, financial data, social media connection tools and bookmarking tools. This media room will be designed to market toward the buyers and the journalist.

By creating a media room that updates regularly, this will allow for search engines to search them more frequently and will ultimately result in more traffic, more indexed pages and more sales.

Local markets and journalist that your business should contact will include:

  • Wired PR News: http://www.wiredprnews.com/
  • AllTop: http://business-wire.alltop.com/

your business should also contact bloggers, reporters and journalist from local networking groups.

You should also attend local meet up events and find out where the local journalist are and what they are looking for.  By attending these events and getting to know the local journalist, reporters and editors, you can put together a list of these authors and use them for future press releases. The local meet up groups can be found by using the networking website meetup.com to find dates and schedules of upcoming events.

By starting locally, it will allow for your business to practice its distribution strategies and then expand the techniques international. This same method should be used for some of the local online press release channels also.

The goal is to make the news releases easy to read and understand by its viewers. In addition to these newsletters, you should look to distribute these news releases within e-mail newsletters, RSS feeds and through the use of current employees.

When searching for journalist and buyers, your business should focus on finding what it is that the journalists are looking for in a good press release. Having this information will be crucial in building relationships and relevant content for journalist and buyers. In addition, creating a easy-to-use navigation, search function and share tools will help make journalist jobs easier be conveniently providing all of the content for them to easily find and navigate within the website’s press release.

Another way to be sure that the press release is getting into journalists hands is to be sure to find out what other locations the journalist are going to and what events they are attending. This will allow for Your company executives to personally speak with the journalists. These events may include conferences, trade shows, and other speaking appearances. You should include a link on your website that has a list of upcoming events that you will be attending. These events can be local and international. In addition, this calendar will also allow for journalist to know where to find the CEO.

Another option is to include a call to action within the media room for journalist and bloggers. This could include offering them an interview with the company executive.

The timeline for posting this release within the company’s site and on other wire sites should be two days. On day one, the press releaseshould be emailed to journalist along with bloggers, editors, within the company’s RSS reader and through an e-newsletter release. By day two, the release should be posted on all press release sites, social networking sites and blogs.

Your company should create a relationship with journalist and readers by welcoming their feedback and giving them the story first. Your business shoukd not only release news of big events and happenings within the company, it should also release stories of awards, conferences, products and other unique marketplace information.

Innovative Entrepreneurs

The ingredients of an entrepreneur include an appetite for risk and the ability to spot opportunities, and a minimum of red tape and other procedural hurdles (Can startups help turn the tide?, 2012). Hunter (2012) states that the propensity to take financial, family or career risks are often attributed to entrepreneurs. However, while entrepreneurs generally take risk involving business opportunities, innovators are risk takers that continually practice and challenge status quo. Innovators accomplish this by having the ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields (Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2009). A company must have both entrepreneurs and innovators in order to remain relevant within their industry. While the entrepreneur may know what decisions need to be made, the innovator understands how to make them work for a purpose. Innovation is almost always a total company effort (Why true innovators must behave like entrepreneurs, 2012). A company that does not produce or motivate innovation, will eventually fail to companies that do.

Innovative entrepreneurs are more likely to challenge assumptions. Innovative entrepreneurs have something called creative intelligence, which enables discovery yet differs from other types of intelligence (Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2009). It is more than the cognitive skill of being right-brained. Innovators engage both sides of the brain as they leverage the five discovery skills to create new ideas.

Entrepreneurship is about being able to discover a business opportunity and innovation is in building the opportunity. Working as a marketing consultant and developer, I have seen hundreds of business startups fail after taking a risk to begin entrepreneurship. They have failed because of their lack in innovation. It’s easy for these entrepreneurs to see the opportunity, but most don’t know how to build it. Hunter (2012) explains it best in that very little innovation is generated by start-up ventures.

Credits

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. M. (2009). The innovator’s DNA. Harvard Business Review, 87(12), 1–9.

Why true innovators must behave like entrepreneurs [Editorial]. (2012). Marketing Week, 35(31), 10.

Hunter, M. (2012). On some of the misconceptions about entrepreneurship. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, 7(2), 55–104.

Can startups help turn the tide? (2012). Harvard Business Review, 90(9), 30–31.

The Hill consulting group Group. (2006) Leadership Self Assessment Retrieved from http://www.hillconsultinggroup.org/assets/pdfs/leadership-assessment. pdf

Losing a customer

Customers can also easily be attracted to another business who simply excites them because that business presents something new and different. Nearly every year, businesses and customers will want to change how they do business. They will have new resolutions, new plans, and new strategies for success, and they will want to partner with a company or individual just as excited to fulfill their goals and take their business to the next level. During this time, you can’t simply offer the same products or services that you have always offered.

Generally, throughout the year, or at least once a year, you should make certain that you introduce or update your customers on new services and offerings. At the end of the year, your customers will be speaking with family and friends during the holidays.

Those family and friends will offer business references, discuss new trends, or may even offer to do the work themselves for a lower price. Customers will also be attending local business events and parties, and everyone at these events will have a million ways of convincing your customer that there is a better and cheaper solution for them.

— For more lessons like this, purchase your copy of Act Like a Business: Think Like a Customer by Dr. Elijah Clark from all major bookstores. —

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