Loyal Customers Will Act as Ambassadors if Properly Utilized

Jax Hudur

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After the birth of my daughter, I decided to change cars, and since I could not find a better deal with my then-current dealer, I changed dealers and got the car I wanted. A week after the purchase, I received a phone call from the manager. At first, I did not know why he was calling, and he was not getting to the point; he kept on asking me about the car and how I found it, whether I was enjoying it or if there was anything he could do for me. This was a first! I never received a call from a dealer. So skeptically, I let the manager know that all was okay, then I asked him a question, “Why did you call me?” His reply woke me from the slumber. This manager told me that he does a follow up with his customers after a purchase is made to make sure that A: his customers are happy and B: to put their mind at ease that they have a partner who is there for them in case they are not satisfied, or to just generally see if there is something he could do for them. A car dealer thinking about their customers’ satisfaction. This was first for me. After the pleasant call, I also received an email from him a day later, thanking me for the conversation. Months later came the holidays, and I received a card from him wishing me well. Then it dawned on me; I was indeed satisfied. Too good to be true, right?

Loyalty

Fast forward to 2019. I made another purchase; this time, my purchase was not a car but a fountain pen. For those of you who are not aware, folks who use fountain pens have an insatiable fountain pen addiction which means every so often, a purchase is a must depending on your taste or, if you are a collector, buying what is missing from your collection. Most fountain pen enthusiasts have a to-buy list or a grail pen. The pen could either be a limited edition or regular. So, I purchased a fountain pen with a hefty price tag, but the pen was faulty. I emailed the shop I have been buying from them for years, but this was the first time I had a problem, and it took three days for them to get back to me, but instead of fixing the problem or exchanging it, they came with a whole load of excuses which ranged from using the wrong type of paper and ink. They even suggested that I didn’t know how to use a fountain pen. With that in mind, I sent them the receipts of 7 premium fountain pen purchases I had made with them over the years and a request for a refund coupled with the threats of exposing their ridiculous customer services on fountain pen forums. They refunded me the same day, and that was the end of it. The moral of the story is, I felt sad that a simple exchange or even fixing the problem would have made me happier than getting the refund, but I am glad I am no longer buying from them. Three of my family members made their purchases with the helpful car dealer, while many of my pen friends stopped shopping from that pen seller. So, what can businesses do to keep new customers and lock in their existing customers?

Trust

A healthy relationship is based on trust, and businesses must think long-term. Building trust takes time, and loyal customers will leave as soon as trust is broken. It is no brainer and common for people to lose confidence in a brand or a business that they have been with for a very long term when customer service is lacking. It is by far easier to retain existing customers as this has the double benefit of reducing expenses used on advertising to woo new customers but also adds value as satisfied existing customers will be your ambassadors. Businesses need loyal customers today more than ever, considering the COVID-19 factor and the challenges businesses are facing. Many had to shut down their doors already, so the next time a customer gets in touch, move heaven and earth for them, considering they are reasonable.

Surprise reciprocity

Sociologist Philip Kunz conducted research by sending out 600 handwritten Christmas cards along with a note and family photo to 600 strangers whose details he got from various directories. The responses he received were astounding; as many as 200 people responded to him. Researchers believe this is reciprocity at work as these strangers felt they had to reciprocate Kunz’s kind gesture towards them. This experiment of Kunz takes me back to the handwritten note and Christmas gift I have received from the car dealer manager as not only did I send back a handwritten card but also recommended them to anyone who would listen. How many customers responded like me?

Do you know your business?

How many businesses know what they are selling? It is a mixed bag, some do, and some do not. I have never walked into a phone shop and not be mesmerized by the ton of stuff they know; they know their products inside out and can answer questions on pretty much everything about the phone. I have received some of the best recommendations too; I remember I wanted an upgrade, but the salesman just point blank told me that I would be happier with the phone I already had than buying a new one because the new one was just my old phone repackaged into a new body. It saved me tons of money, and the next time I went, and the same guy recommended a phone, I did not hesitate even one bit. People who know what they are selling make you feel confident and can rely upon their recommendations.

Communicate well

Communicating well is to business what exercise is the health. Hardly do I ever talk about business without mentioning communication. The pen seller I mentioned earlier could have retained a loyal customer who has been with them over the years if only they communicated well. From their records, they could see that I buy my pens, notebooks, and inks from them. The questioning me and making me look like a culprit only for them to find a reason not to fix the problem was not only short-sighted but also made them lose mine and my friends trust in them, which meant they lost big. It did not stop here; the problem was also discussed in chat rooms. It later emerged that this is what they do.

Conclusion

Businesses need to realize that they can capitalize on already existing customers by not just treating them well but also making them feel part of the business.

The best performing businesses I have seen are the ones that also educate their customers. Take my pen hobby as an example; if you search on YouTube anything pens related, you will undoubtedly find a wealth of information on the subject because some business owners are also pen enthusiasts and are part of the pen hobby community, so when I buy from those sellers, I already know the pen has been tested and will write well and that I will have no issues whatsoever. If problems arise, they will have no problem with resolving the issue.

Businesses use money for marketing. Loyal customers treated well will act as ambassadors if properly utilized. Otherwise, they will still serve as ambassadors but against the company. Remember it is difficult to build trust but easy to break it. Respect, building trust, reciprocity, and understanding may just be all the ingredients you need to keep your existing customers satisfied and your new customers locked in.

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I write about history, politics, and true crime. Not to mention anything else that takes my fancy or is newsworthy.

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