- Action: it comes with efforts and choices. Every choice will have its consequence. The moment we get a failure we tend to give up or move on to something new, my dear darling friends no action of the choice you made is risk free. Let the failure be an opportunity to bounce back. History has thousands of examples of success stories out of a failure.
- Change: Nothing is permanent in this world and your life. Change is the only permanent factor to growth. The power of a successful business leader lies in evaluating the situation, learning from mistakes, shifting direction, and continuing to move forward. Every failure is the key to the next success door.
- Awareness: Let’s take the example of a car driver here, he has to move in the required direction with the right speed knowing he has to be aware of the traffic on his sides and rear of his car. Awareness gives you the power to make the right decision at any given point in a situation to bounce back towards success.
- Positivity: Human beings are not creatures of intellect, they are dominated by emotions. Most decisions taken are with emotions and implemented with intellect. Let it be Ramayan or Mahabarat the wars took place out of emotional decisions. If you can fuel yourself with positive and proactive fuel you will be able to take a pause before taking any negative decision as a business leader.
- Values and Belief system: Every legend born on this mother earth has achieved legacy through operating with their values and belief systems. What is right is right in every situation and what is wrong is wrong in every situation. They don’t manipulate for personal benefits. The legendary Mahatama Gandhi lived his belief of achieving freedom through non-violence in every situation in freedom fight of India
All businesses, big and small, aspire to have a loyal customer base. Any business that has earned customer loyalty will never fail. But the question is how you earn customer loyalty. It is not something that you can buy. It has to be earned.
Promotional activities, free gifts, etc. would increase your footfall. But, it is temporary. As soon as the promotion is withdrawn, the customer loyalty shifts. So what do you do? I will tell you.
But, before going through how to create customer loyalty, let’s understand what customer loyalty is.
What is Customer Loyalty?
Customer loyalty is a customer’s inclination towards a particular brand or business over all other brands or businesses. When you buy all your groceries from that one store, despite having a lot of other available choices, it is customer loyalty. When you get your haircut from the same salon always, no matter how long you have to wait in the queue, it is customer loyalty.
You must have seen people who wear clothes from only one particular brand. Or people who only use one brand of toothpaste their entire life. There are people who use the same fragrance always. No matter how much you convince them about other brands, they just don’t budge. Even if their favourite brand increases its price, they won’t shift their loyalty. The rival brands would try to woo them with offers and freebies but they stay firm.
To witness this extent of loyalty is amazing. But for a business, to have such loyal customers is a blessing as well as a challenge. To create such customer loyalty, you first need to understand the underlying phenomenon. What motivates a person to make constant repurchases from the same brand?
The Underlying Phenomenon
If we closely examine the customer behaviour, you will find out the reasons of customer loyalty. One of the most important contributors to customer loyalty is customer satisfaction and customer delight. When your customers are constantly satisfied with your product and service, they are bound to come back to you. When you go out of your way and do something completely unexpected for your customer, they stay with you for life.
Other reasons for customer loyalty are convenience, quality and performance, familiarity and comfort level with the brand. If you are able to create convenience for your customers, they are likely to favour you over others. Great quality and excellent performance ensure that your customer comes back to you again and again. Building a long-term relation with your customer that builds a sense of familiarity, belongingness and comfort would help you gain customer loyalty.
Now that we have become familiar with the concept and underlying phenomena of customer loyalty, we are ready for the recipe. Let’s get started.
The underlying phenomenon of customer loyalty will be our ingredients. The perfect mix of these ingredients would give us loyal customers. The ingredients are:
- Customer Satisfaction
- Customer Delight
- Quality and Performance
- Familiarity and Comfort
The steps of creating customer loyalty are as follows:
The first step is to be responsive. Instead of waiting for your customer to explain their needs, understand them yourself. Try to be on your toes always. Always listen to your customers intently. Observe each and every thing about your customer. Analyse their buying behaviour. Nowadays, it is quite easy as you can use technology for all this. But try not to lose the human touch. You need to understand your customers’ needs better than they understand themselves. Don’t just provide a product; provide solutions to their needs and requirements. Be proactive, not reactive. This will create customer satisfaction.
2.A single touch point
We know convenience matters a lot in today’s times. People want their buying experience to be seamless and smooth. This is where most of us lack. You must have called a customer care at least once in your life. You know how painful it is!! They bounce you from one executive to another. Like this was not enough, you are asked to press this number then that number. Even getting a simple query answered becomes an immensely painful experience.
How great would it be, if your customers don’t have to go through all this? What if you could provide a single touch point to your customers to solve all their queries? Try to make the shopping experience very convenient for your customers. Instead of having them run from pillar to post, give them a single point of contact. Make some qualified and trained people in the organization responsible for all customer related issues.
Attaining customer loyalty is not a single day act, it is a life-long process. A lot of efforts and dedication are required. To surpass customer expectations, you need to keep on improving your products and services. After all, quality and performance of the products and services are also one of our ingredients in the recipe of customer loyalty.
To provide unmatched quality and performance, daily improvements are required. Not just in the product or service, but also in the systems and processes of the organization. Keep all your resources including the human resources updated by providing constant training and development.
4.Take feedbacks actively
It is very important to know what your customers think of your company and your products and services. Then only would you be able to improve your products and services and satisfy and delight your customer. Ask for their honest feedback. Don’t just make them rate your services, ask for their complete opinion. Ask them where you should improve? What they like in your product or service? Why do they buy from you? What are their expectations? What could make them happy?
And not just customers take feedback from your employees as well. They are the ones who interact with the customer. They understand your customers better than you. Empower them to speak up, to express their opinions and ideas. This should not be a “once in a blue moon” activity. It should be a daily exercise. But, don’t just take the feedback, implement it too. Make it a point to inculcate these feedbacks into your products and services.
5.Go out of your way
To retain your customers, you need to go out of your way. Create a comfortable environment for them .Let them know you care. Build long-lasting relations with them. It is not always about earning revenue. Sometimes relations are important than revenues. If for once you cared for your customer more than your revenue, be assured that you have won him forever.
A Ritz Carlton hotel in Bali went all out of their way to get special food for one of their customers’ son from another country as he was allergic to the regular food. They could have simply told them that they do not have that special food. They would not lose that customer as they were not supposed to have it. But understanding their situation, they put in extra efforts to make sure the kid gets his food. Flying someone from another country must have cost them a lot. But, what they earned is priceless. They earned that family’s lifetime loyalty.
To build long term relations with customers, you need to encourage your employees to go out of their way. Protocol is not everything. Sometimes, empathy and understanding give better results. Create a customer centric culture. Make your customers feel that you value them .Let them feel a sense of belongingness, a familiarity and a comfort with you.
When you satisfy and delight your customers, make things convenient and effortless for them, value their opinion, provide them unmatched quality and performance and go that extra mile for them, you have got yourself the perfect dish of customer loyalty.
Do try this recipe at your business!!!
Wishing you Peace and Abundance…
- Share Information: Everyone knows “what goes around comes around”, but we don’t apply this during negotiation. When we are negotiating, we are naturally very guarded and cautious. We don’t want to share too much information but at the same time want the other party to open up. How is that possible? To create an atmosphere of trust and openness, you will have to initiate the process of sharing information. This is not to say tell them everything but just a little bit and if you don’t want to tell them anything about the deal, talk about unrelated things. Talk about your hobbies, interests and let them open up too. When you talk about such stuff, the other party finds you genuine and starts to trust you. This helps you to be in a winning position.
- Rank order priorities: When you start a negotiation, you know what you want from it, your priorities are pretty clear. But Grant and Galinsky tell you to rank order your priorities. For e.g. If you are looking for a flat, your priorities would be reasonable price, convenient location, spacious house, etc. Now what you need to do is rank order these priorities in the order of most important to least important. If you have a limited budget your first priority would be reasonable price, followed by may be, convenient location and so on. When you rank order, priorities are pretty clear for both the parties.
- Go in knowing your target price and walk away price: Your target price or term is what you really want from the deal and your walk away price is what you can settle for. For e.g. your target price may be to get a 1bhk flat for 30,00,000 but you would be ok even if you have to pay 40,00,000. When you know your range, negotiation becomes easier.
- Make first offer: Contrary to the popular belief, Grant and Galinsky have proven that the party that makes the first offer is more likely to be in a winning position because the first offer acts as an “anchor” around which both the parties start to negotiate. For e.g. If you make the first offer of 30,00,000 that would be the price around which you and your agent would automatically start discussing and this will increase your chances of getting a deal that is near your target price.
- Don’t Counter too Low: If somehow you were not able to make the first offer, don’t counter too low. For e.g. your agent made the first offer for 40, 00,000, if you immediately make a counter offer of 20, 00,000, your agent would not agree and you will have to increase your offer to somewhere around his offer. In order to have the deal in your favor, make an offer that is not too low or too high to create a counter-anchor. In our example, instead of 20,00,000 you can make an offer of 30,00,000 to tilt the deal in your favor.
- Make more than one counter offers: Gant and Galinsky have proven that making more counter offers leaves both the parties more satisfied. Both the seller and the buyer want to get a sense of achievement from the negotiation. When many counter offers are made, the seller feels that he has struck a hard bargain and the buyer in turn feels that he got the best price or best deal, which makes both of them happy and more likely to involve in further business with each other. On the other hand, if the very first offer made by the first party is accepted by the second party, it would leave the first party dissatisfied and doubting that they could have got a better deal, had they offered lower price. This concept is called “Buyer’s Remorse”. To prevent yourself and your customer/seller from experiencing buyer’s remorse, never accept the first offer even if it is what you want, keep on making counter offers to get better results and a sense of satisfaction.
There are three instances in our lives, where we are vulnerable to failures the most. These can be called the three mistakes that almost everyone makes in their lives. One may think when these mistakes are so common; the consequences would not be huge. That, my dear friends, is a myth that we will bust today. Today we will discuss the Three Mistakes that we make, not the Chetan Bhagat novel, but a reality of our lives.
The first mistake has cost Vijay Mallya a fortune. Who can forget Kingfisher Airlines? It perfectly blended the glamour of international business class with an economy class price. Travelling Kingfisher made you feel like royalty. Who wouldn’t like a television screen in front of their seat, extremely beautiful and polite air hostesses at their service, a warm welcome and free meal at a time when other economy airlines charged you for almost every service?
But despite all the glamour and an extremely loyal customer base, Kingfisher Airlines failed miserably. One might wonder, why? Because the airline was not given the attention it required. When everything was going fine, Vijay Mallya must have thought that I am providing such good services at such an affordable price, what could possibly go wrong. And the moment he left the airlines without monitoring or paying any attention, things started going downhill resulting in what could be called the biggest airline venture failure.
And this is not a unique case, it happens to all of us in our daily lives. The loss of focus caused a huge financial loss for Vijay Mallya but for someone else it may cause loss of customers, loss of employees, loss of relationships, even loss of life. When you are overconfident about your driving skills and stop paying attention to the road, you are most prone to accidents. When you think your partner is very understanding and you start taking him/her for granted, that is when trouble starts brewing between you. No matter how well things are going right now, if you divert your attention from it, the possibility of failures is the highest.
The second mistake that we commit most often is that we are not able to read the signals of our own body and mind. Our body and mind give us signals that they are tired and cannot work more but instead of stopping and taking a break, we push them harder and the results are disastrous. I personally have this habit that I cannot rest until my work is done satisfactorily. Normally, it is a good habit but at some times, instead of good results, it gives bad results. Want to know how? Let me give you an example.
Imagine you have been traveling the whole day and have not been able to finish the work you were supposed to do that day, but by the time you reach home, you are extremely tired. What would you do? The moment you reach home, you would immediately start working and complete your work. No matter how much your mind and body shout that they need rest, you won’t stop until the work is done. Right?
And you are very happy with yourself. You think you have sacrificed your rest for the work and pushed your limits, you might even nominate yourself for the Nobel Prize (in your imaginations, of course!!!). But in the morning, when the only thing you can feel is pain, your beautiful bubble starts to burst. Anyhow you get dressed, go to your office thinking at least I have completed my work, the appreciation I will get for it is worth all the pain. And then you submit your work, and another blow, your boss calls you and points out all the silly mistakes you have done. And there, the bubble that started bursting in the morning has breathed its last. Poor you, all you got from your supreme sacrifice were pain and humiliation!!
Wouldn’t it be better, that you let your body and mind rest for a while, take a nap, eat something, do some refreshing activity and then get to work. If you punish your body or mind by depriving them of the much needed rest, they will punish you by spoiling your work. Karma!!! “What goes around comes around”. It does not apply only to your conduct with others; it applies to your conduct with yourself as well.
The third mistake is the most common of them all. It is multi-tasking. What is wrong with multi-tasking now? It is the need of the hour. In this rat race, multi-tasking is the key to success. Yes, I know all these arguments. But I still stand by my words. And No, I am not crazy. Hear me out and decide for yourself.
You are chatting on facebook with your girlfriend/wife/friend, preparing a presentation on your laptop and watching your favorite series on television. Sounds familiar? Now your favorite character in the series dies suddenly. You are obviously very frustrated. Life seems so cruel, the whole mood has changed. The sweet conversation you were having with your girlfriend/wife/friend does not seem so sweet now, the clients for whom you were preparing the presentation does not seem so much important right now. Yes, this is just a momentary thing and in a minute or two or may be five, you will be back to reality.
But since you were multi-tasking, this momentary mourning of yours has reached your girlfriend/wife/friend and your presentation too. Now your clients or your girlfriend/wife/friend don’t know the tragedy you have been through, they are going to confuse your mourning with your incompetence or ill-behavior. Had you not been doing all these things at once, you could have saved your day.
See, this is why I say multi-tasking is a mistake. Your brain is not conditioned to work on many things at the same time and as a result it carries the emotions and thoughts from the one to the other. Even research has proven that men cannot multi-task and women can do it but to some extent only. Give your undivided attention to one thing at a time. You may get slow but you won’t create disasters. With undivided attention and focus, everything you do will be with the best of your abilities. After all, “slow and steady wins the race”. What is the point of running fast and breaking your leg just before reaching the finishing line?
Remember, confidence is a must but when you attach the word over to it, mishaps are bound to happen. Remain grounded; don’t let your success reach your head. Always be focused and pay attention to each and every detail. Read the signals of your mind and body, don’t punish them. Avoid fatigue, take rest whenever required. Don’t hurry, the world is not going to run away, but if you don’t stop, you might pass away (a. k. a heart attacks, strokes, hemorrhage, etc.). Don’t try to have too much on your platter. Pay attention to one thing at a time. You are a human, not a Windows P.C, you don’t need to multi-task.
Wishing you a Happywala New year with Peace and Abundance…