When assessing the loyalty of your customers, you need to assess in two different categories: (1) Loyalty of convenience and (2) true loyalty.
Loyalty of Convenience
Loyalty of convenience is along the lines of taking the same bus every day but not loving the bus company. You may hate the bus company, but you don't have another choice. It could also mean continuing to use the same internet provider even though you’re unhappy with the service because it’s too much hassle to switch. Or perhaps you frequent a store in the neighborhood because it’s the only practical option.
Given the opportunity, you and customers like you would gladly move to a competitor. You are disengaged. You are passive purchasers. This convenience loyalty results simply from habit.
On the other hand, true loyalty manifests differently. It’s rooted in emotion.
This kind of loyalty doesn’t want to know there’s a better deal somewhere else. You enjoy visiting the business — even going out of your way to do so. Discounts and reward points are nice, but that’s not why you have given your intense allegiance, which is the hallmark of real loyalty.
Customer service managers, store managers, sales directors, or any role concerned with customers returning over and over again can gauge whether their customers are loyal out of convenience or whether they are truly loyal. And this information can be used to turn passive purchasers into passionate promoters.
Turning Convenience Customers into True Loyalty Customers
Talk to them.
It’s that simple, yet critical. Customers can be love-starved. They have become accustomed to being greeted half-heartedly and being treated like a checklist item. Many may be disengaged, passive customers, and buying from you simply because it’s convenient. Conversely, these love-starved customers are shocked when they encounter a genuine, caring person. They want to be greeted by someone with a smile and real intent to help.
Ask these customers what brings them into the store. Offer to help them find the item they are looking for. Introduce yourself by name. During your interaction, make an effort to ask open-ended questions. This way you’ll avoid the dead-end of a “yes” or “no” answer. Open-ended questions foster a dialogue where the customer can sense your sincerity. They’ll know you’re not asking scripted questions or checking a box on your “good customer service” list. They’re going to like coming to your store and they’re going to tell their friends about it.
This open dialogue is one of your best opportunities to move a convenience/passive customer to a truly loyal one and create a passionate promoter for your organization, all by simply making a genuine human connection.
About the Author
Sandy Rogers leads FranklinCovey’s Loyalty Practice. He was previously Senior Vice President at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. During his 14 years there, Sandy managed the turnaround of the London, England operation and led the teams that developed Enterprise’s marketing strategy and system for improving customer service across all branches. Before Enterprise, Sandy worked in marketing at Apple Computer and at P&G. He is graduate of Duke and Harvard Business School.