By John S. Pitts
What does customer loyalty mean to your business? In a recent study of more than 250 businesses, the Peppers and Rogers Group found that 81 percent of companies with strong competencies for delivering continuous and positive consumer experiences not only gained loyal customer bases, but also significantly outperformed their competitors. While it seems logical that many businesses would strive to provide these types of loyalty warranting experiences, many don’t. This is especially true in the technology industry, which according to Forrester’s 2011 Customer Experience Index, has one of the lowest customer service ratings.
How detrimental can a reputation for poor customer service be? Here are a few facts:
Businesses should expect one dissatisfied customer to tell between nine and 15 people about their poor experience and 13 percent to tell more than 20.
More than 86 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a poor experience. 
It takes more than 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience.
It is five times more costly to bring on a new client than to retain a current client.
With that said how can businesses provide positive experiences and achieve loyalty?
Communicate – and no, this isn’t just about clicking send. Pick up the phone, update customers and make them feel a part of the overall experience. By looping customers in, businesses foster a team experience and ensure project progress is always being made.
Team up – collaborate with customers, celebrate the successes and work through the challenges – together.
Go above and beyond – pay attention to the little things. Whether it’s an after-hours email or phone call on the weekend, make sure customers are taken care of – always.
Measure retention – always be cognizant of your businesses’ retention rate. It will not only give a report card on the businesses’ customer service, it will also give insight into the overall health of the business.
Slow down, listen – there is a famous saying that states if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Slow down, listen to the customer’s needs and be sure those needs are fully understood.
Take time, make time – ensure customers know time will always be made for them. Whether it’s an email, phone call or in-person meeting. Make the time to support the customers that support the business.
Understand clients’ needs – not every client is the same. By understanding and delivering services to satisfy each client’s unique needs, businesses are able to set themselves apart and provide services that aren’t available anywhere else.
While it can be challenging to gauge the needs of every customer at any given time, by implementing the above steps, businesses can feel confident that they are doing their part to make sure their customers feel like part of a team that communicates, goes above and beyond, and ultimately provides consistent positive experiences that warrant fierce customer loyalty.
John S. Pitts is the founder and president of Tekcetera, Inc., a comprehensive and cost-effective hardware, software and support technology services company that delivers peace of mind that businesses’ technology will work, every time. To learn more, call John directly at (714) 922-4250 or visit www.tekcetera.com.
 “Improving American’s Financial Security: The Importance of a CFPB Director.” White House Report. 4 Dec. 2011. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/cfpb_-_master_final_120411.pdf
 “Customer Experience Impact Report.” Harris Interactive. 1 Dec. 2010. http://www.rightnow.com/files/analyst-reports/RightNow-Customer-Experience-Impact-North-America-Report.pdf
 Newell-Legner, Ruby. “Understanding Customers.” 27 April 2011.
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