In business, there is always someone or some company that can do what you do faster, or cheaper, and sometimes even better. Your competitors are working to pull existing customers and potential new business from you every day. It’s just how this all works.
So how do you protect your revenue and make your brand more “bulletproof” to your competition? The answer is customer loyalty. When you create a customer service and a brand so impactful that your customers wouldn’t think of choosing anyone else, you retain customers. Look at Apple, or Under Armour, or any brand with a fiercely loyal following, and you’ll see patterns in what they do to keep their customers loyal. Below, you’ll find a list of three very powerful ones. For some brands, this will be a refresher course, and for some, this might be just the thing you need to hear to begin building a raving fan base.
1) Respond: On average, how much time goes by before your company responds to a customer? Immediately? A couple of hours? A day? Longer? According to a 2018 survey conducted by Hubspot, an “immediate” response to customers would be defined as 10 minutes or less. 90% of those survey customers rated an “immediate” response as very important if they had a customer service question. 82% of those customers thought it was just as important if they had a sales or marketing question.
We live in a digital age where there are countless ways a business can respond to customers in this preferred time frame. Do you have a live chat system in place? Do you have designated customer service advisers who respond to emails within 5 minutes of receiving them? Never underestimate just how much a fast response helps you achieve that customer connection you’re striving for.
2) Prove: Not all bad reviews are bad for business. Sure, you want to prove your dealership is a trustworthy business. Studies show that companies that only have positive reviews give a customer more red flags than if there was a not-so-positive review here and there. The trick is how you handle the bad reviews to prove your dedication to your customers by earning their trust and respect. If you get a one-star review, don’t ignore it or make excuses. Instead, review the facts, and address them with respect, or contact the reviewer directly and find out how you can make it up to them. This allows you to prove how your business is different, and you genuinely care about all customers. Potential customers can sniff out the crazy reviews from the legitimate ones.
3) Listen: A customer can tell whether you’re sincere in listening to them or are just putting on an act. Practice excellent listening skills by getting to know your customers on a real level. Discover what similarities you have with them, such as favorite sports teams, their taste in cars, family traditions, music, etc. Ask them questions to show you’re involved in the conversation and not just making small talk so you can get the sale. Matt Eventoff, the owner of Princeton Public Speaking, once stated, “there’s nothing more insulting than feeling that you’re being ignored in a conversation.”
However, your sincerity will genuinely show if you’re able to bring up these connections on a follow-up call or when you see them for their service. These customers will remember how they felt in the conversation with you, which is a major deciding factor if they’ll continue to do business with you or not. Make sure they can leave feeling like they were listened to and not insulted or just part of the process.
Just remember, top-performing businesses have the customer as the top priority, not sales. Whether you’re working wholesale, retail, or a bit of both, it’s people who make the buying decisions, and they want to buy from someone they trust.