“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” ~ Chip Bell

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Most people do. If you were asked why it is your favorite restaurant, you might say it’s because of the food, the service or the prices. I’m willing to bet it would still be your favorite restaurant even if they raised their prices a few dollars.

There is something about that restaurant that just makes you feel good. When there is a special occasion, or friends come to town, that’s the restaurant you go to because you know you will have a great time. They are consistently terrific. They have made a personal or emotional connection with you. You look forward to doing business with them.

During my years in the Hospitality and Cruising industry, we had only one goal in mind. And that was to create such an exceptional experience that exceeded expectations, that our guests would book their next cruise with our company before the current cruise was over.  We knew if we could get them to leave a small, refundable deposit for their next cruise, there was a 98% chance they would take their next vacation with us. Again, we made a connection with them, and because of that, they won’t be doing business with our competitors.

Isn’t that the goal of every business? To create an exceptional experience that leaves the customer with such a wonderful feeling, that they would not think of going anywhere else, even if price was a concern. It doesn’t matter if you are the local flower shop, the auto dealership or a cruise line. People are willing to spend their hard-earned money with companies that make them feel good.

An American Express survey found 6 in 10 Americans would be willing to try a new brand or company for a better service experience, and 7 in 10 Americans said they would be willing to spend more money with companies they believe provided excellent customer service.

The number one key to Repeat Business and Customer Loyalty is to create an emotional or personal connection. You can do this by:

  • Creating memories.
  • Making it personal (remember names, favorite likes).
  • Learning something about your customers and their families (birthdays, kid’s names, hobbies, etc.).
  • Sharing a little about yourself (start by introducing yourself or including your photo in an email). Humans love dealing with other humans. Don’t forget to show a little personality along the way.
  • Complimenting them. Everyone likes a compliment.
  • Seriously, really listening. That means getting away from distractions like cell phones and computers.
  • Don’t always be selling.
  • Asking for feedback.
  • Helping them solve a problem without expecting something in return.
  • If there was a problem with a product or service, making it right the first time and giving a little extra for the inconvenience.
  • Doing what you say you are going to do! (such as “I’ll call you back tomorrow,” or “I’ll email you that information by Friday.”) And then doing it!
  • Thanking them for their business.
  • Staying in touch (newsletters, emails, social media, phone calls, hand written thank you notes).

The goal of every company, whether online, on the phone or on land, is to make sure your customers would not think about doing business with anyone but you, even if you are more expensive or located further away. Moreover, those customers, because they are now raving fans and brand ambassadors, are your best source for referrals and new customers. By creating that emotional or personal connection, you are well on your way to more repeat business and customer loyalty that will help grow your business to new heights.

It’s all about that human connection.

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