Customer Loyalty – YOUR BEST FRIEND

13 Sep

Why I’ve moved from a service provider I’ve been with for almost 20 years…

The fact that I chose to use the same service provider for more than 20 years, rather than be swayed into using others, by glitzy marketing campaigns / offers etc, makes me a businessman’s dream consumer.

After all – every good business knows that customer loyalty is the key to profitability. Quite Simply, It costs more;  sometimes a LOT more–to attract & commit a new customer than to keep a current one.

Without customer loyalty to your product/service or brand, customers leave. Then you can end up sacrificing your efforts just to re-cooping those losses, that’s without even beginning to get new business.

PLUS – Now it’s not just a chat with their mate in the supermarket “Ooh guess what – I left BRAND X after 20 years because they did Blah Blah Blah & Blah & now I’ve gone to BRAND Y & they have promised to do Blah Blah”. Oh no, Now all that anger at being dumped, (from what in effect feels like a divorce after a 20 year + marriage), can be sent to thousands of people in a matter of minutes!

SOCIAL MEDIA is a powerful force!!!!

So I am hoping to educate a few businesses on here today.

Your customers are placing not only their hard earned cash in your business when they CHOOSE to use your services or buy your goods, they are starting a journey, one they hope will give them a little respite from having to search every time they want a Plumber/IT Support person/Phone Service provider/Handbag/ Stationery supplier/The list is endless.

They are hoping you will recognize their faith in you & your goods. They may have had an unpleasant experience elsewhere & need reassurance that YOU are the right choice & this may take a bit of extra work on your part – BUT they will remain loyal to you. Believe me it’s not always about the last penny… Many of us want an easy life & are prepared to pay that little bit extra for the comfort that comes with knowing who you are dealing with & knowing they will value you for being loyal to them!

You can try to write their loyalty into contracts – which seems to be the way of “Big Business” right now, but my feeling is that smacks of entrapment from the start.*

*My contract had run out in 2002 – I still stayed through loyalty

Much better for small businesses is to build up a good relationship with a member of staff – Keep your turnover down, let the customers know you/your staff. Let them understand it is a small business & you are going to absolutely work your hardest to get thing’s right for them.

People develop a sense of loyalty to small businesses due simply to this.

I would also suggest finding out what your customers’ needs/wants are. It sounds simple but a “Loyalty scheme” offering items that your customer will never use can seem slap dash & in some cases offensive.

Find out what makes your customers tick.. ASK them why they are with you & start with those that have been with you a long time!

When you can, show your customers that if your business is succeeding, they are going to be benefitted also – Starting with those who were there from the start.

Treat your customers for their referrals – I can’t say it enough! Social media is buzzing every day (& night) with reviews; now through the world of social media, consumers are increasingly vocal about the services & products in their lives… It can be crucial to get this right!

Value the relationship as much (if not more) than that customer does in their time of need!  By this I mean think of how they feel when they call you /utilise your services / buy your goods. They have a need & you are going to be where they are investing… Value them all the time just as much as at that point! Some other company out there will be waving offers & promotions in their direction & you want them to be able to feel secure knowing that they are already valued & respected by their current supplier.

Also – always think – After the sale/service. Call/email/tweet to check everything’s OK, after all, YOU CARE about this customer more than just because they have a deep pocket!

A lot of this is trust.

My experience of late was with a Broadband service provider whom I have been a patron of for over 20 years, through all its changes of names & designs etc, I have been there. Happily paying my (some consider extortionate) monthly premium.

I’ve never defaulted on my agreement to pay them & indeed even when the contract ran out in 2002 & some bright spark at their end didn’t auto-renew it, I stayed with them.

However over the last 6 months the router (which is approx. 8 years old) has been acting up & no amount of calls to tech-chat (on an extortionate 0845 number) would sort it. So I was informed I needed a new router.

Fine – let’s get one sent!

My Service provider of 20 years (Who is advertising Free Router – Free support – Free Blah Blah Blah for new customers) Then states – Thank you “that will be £69.99 – Can I have your Debit card details”…

I actually laughed – The customer services agent didn’t!

Apparently, because I am an existing customer BUT with no contract I cannot have a router.

Only the New customers or Existing customers with a contract get that luxury.

Even though I had NO INTENTION of changing service providers (as from my 20 years with them) through 6 calls over 4 weeks I had no joy & had to finally cancel my account & go with a completely new provider.


This my friends is a case of a company getting too big for its own boots – Forgetting who was there when it first came to the UK & forgetting it was people like me who got their service off the ground (& hasten to add, recommended over 15 people to them over the last 2 decades).

So please look after your customers you don’t want to be doing an “AOL” do you?

(My new catch phrase for a company looking completely ridiculous by the way it interacts with loyal consumers).

Please visit my website if you are a small business & would like some idea’s on Social Media & how it can help you!

Or have a quick read – some tips & tricks

Fledgling Business

One Response to “Customer Loyalty – YOUR BEST FRIEND”

  1. Rocoja 04/12/2012 at 6:31 pm #

    For anyone who is following this, I have recieved (3 months after i was forced to leave my 20 year supplier) a letter from a debt collection agency.
    I of course called them & spoke to a lady, who unlike many of her peers, was genuine & helpful; she explained the Broadband provider above has passed my details to them saying I have defaulted on my “contract” & owe them £69.99 (funny, thats the exact cost they quoted of the new router, which I hasten to add turned up 1 week after I cancelled my services with them) & also there are now charges for the default… I directed her to this blog & of course went to my online services to download my last 12 months worth of accounts with them to send to her to prove I was billed monthly with no ongoing contract! suprise suprise, I have been Locked-out of my online accounts… I cannot access any of the bills.
    I have left it with the debt collection company to deal with the BB provider & I have called the BB provider to register my disgust – I will keep everyone posted.

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