Where Does Client Loyalty Come From?

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Gail Doby Certified Coach & Director of Coaching at DSU

If you are focusing on and attracting your ideal clients they you naturally want to develop client loyalty which, in turn, can lead to a higher client lifetime value.

In a blog from Ross Beard on Client Heartbeat, a company offering a survey tool to measure customer satisfaction, he addressed 5 strategies to increase customer lifetime value.  We’ll address the other 4 in later articles but the one I want to focus on here is to “create brand loyalty.”  It is a key element in creating any successful business as most business experts agree that it is much less expensive to keep loyal clients than to go out and acquire new ones.  If you have clearly identified your ideal client, then you want those clients to become loyal clients — as once you have invested the time and money to develop the relationship, it is much less costly (in money AND time) to build a long term relationship than to constantly be out trying to find new clients.  And loyal ideal clients will likely refer other ideal clients, so you could have a built in referral system.

So start by asking yourself what causes you to be loyal to the specific brands you purchase time after time, even when there may be less expensive options available.  Do you patronize a particular hair stylist even if you have moved a distance away?  Do you purchase your coffee or tea from the same place every day?  Do you use (and recommend to others) certain design resources year after year?  As Peter Drucker states:  “The purpose of a business is to create a customer and grow that customer”.  As an article from Inc. states:  “It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em — your customers that is”!

So what is the reason behind our loyalty to specific brands or businesses?  Three major determining factors of brand loyalty are the quality of products, customer service and ‘shared values’, which together create a unique experience for both the client and for the company.

For example, a study by Clickfox revealed poor customer service (48%) and low brand quality (35%) are the biggest deterrents when it comes to brand loyalty.  And in other research, 64% of participants said shared values were the primary reason for continuing a relationship with their brand/company.

So now why not have a brainstorming session with your team to answer the following questions:  How does your firm creates a unique experience for your clients?  Why would they appreciate the quality of the products you offer/specify?  What makes your customer service unique?  What are the values you share with your clients?  What is it that makes you stand out from all the other interior design firms out there?  Then use the results of this session to create your mission statement so that it will clearly communicate your “brand’s” philosophy.

As you continually build your brand loyalty, keep in mind a quote by Shep Hyken:  “Satisfaction is a rating.  Loyalty is a brand.”

Gail Doby

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