Monday, October 5, 2015

Customers and Trust

At a recent leadership summit, the head of a service organization described three kinds of customers: dissatisfied, satisfied and loyal. Dissatisfied customers sabotage your brand. You want them to sabotage someone else's brand or become satisfied customers. Those familiar with Net Promoter Score know that one way to improve the score is to transform Detractors into Neutrals (i.e. satisfied customers). Satisfied customers are nice but they don't do much for your brand.

Loyal customers will stick with you. They aren't 'created' overnight. Loyal customers trust your organization and its brand. That takes time. And like other trust relationships, it occurs over several dimensions: dependability, acceptance of your customers' needs and wants, reliability, competence, integrity and approach-ability. These things only happen if all your employees know what to do, what sets your organization apart and are committed to meeting the objectives and/or exceeding customer expectations.

I also recently taught Haitian small business owners on this same point. If your employees don't know what is key for the organization success and what creates loyal customers, they're like a soccer team that's just kicking the ball around. Occasionally it might go in a goal; even less frequently it'll be a goal for your team instead of your opponent's team.

Anytime this particular organization opens a new property, the head of the company is there training the first group of employees. "You are the most important people in our guests' lives. If I don't show up, they won't notice. They will notice if you're not here or here completely," he tells them. Their on-site team is so important they focus a lot of energy on selection and orientation. They also spend time on reinforcing the organizational values. As he says, "Coke still advertises even though everyone in the world knows about them."

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