Customer Loyalty - a 2 way Street


By

Sumanta Dutta
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Garia, Kolkata
 


"If we don't take care of our customers some else will"-Mr. Nicholas Utton, chief Marketing Officer of Master Card International.

To take care of our customer, organization needs to have a full understanding of their wants, needs and desire. Gaining and sustaining customer loyalty today is considered as an ultimate goal of all marketing activities.

"It is the practice of finding, attracting and retaining your customers who regularly purchase from you." A question often strike the mind that whether customer loyalty always ensure customer satisfaction? Or whether they are synonymous in nature?

Basically customer loyalty is not customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the basic entry point of good business practices. Sabine Adams pointed out that when a loyal customer behaviors are positively reinforced it can create a continuing loop of action and generate reward in terms of satisfaction. There are only three ways to grow by inspiring the customers to stay loyal.

1) Increase the number of present customer base;
2) Persuade the current customers to buy in large volumes;
3) To encourage the current customers to buy more often.

Hence, the above business philosophy adopted by any business concern with a sharp focus on current customer base, because a large customers is often generated through referrals made by the current customers. This requires a dedicated effort to focus on present customer base as well as need to develop effective relationship marketing programs. Such efforts towards building a customer loyalty will certainly pay off in the long run.

A generalized ways through which organization can build an effective customer loyalty programs includes -

1) Communicate:

It is the promise that organization made to the customer to deliver. It creates a psychological perspective in the mind of the customers.

2) Customer Service:

Ensure that the product and service delivery are consistently at all times.

3) Employee Royalty:

It is a top-down approach. If the organization shows loyalty towards their employee, they will feel good about their jobs and pass the loyalty along to the customers.

4) Employee Training:

Train the employee in the manner the organization wants to interact with customers. Empower employees to make decision that benefit the customer.

5) Customer Incentives:

Give customers a reason to keep faith in organization. Various promotional roles are helpful in this regard.

6) Product Awareness:

Use market basket analysis to target offers and identify new product opportunities. Deliver the product as and when demanded by the customer on a regular basis.

7) Reliability:

It creates trust. If something goes wrong it is necessary to let the customer know immediately and compensate for their inconvenience.

8) Flexibility:

Be able to anticipate future customer needs and create flexible and adaptable organizational structures to these changing customer needs before they occur.

9) People centric:

It is the people that are recognized over technology. It is irrational to substitute it with mechanized system to deal with psychological problem related with customers.

10) Recognition:

Through various promotional activities it bring the customers near to the product offering

Future of Customer Loyalty

It is the "Loyalty based management" is here to stay. [A.V.Vedpuriswar, Dean ICFAI University].It is the facts relating to customers. It is based on motivation, behiviour, humanistic values and principles. From the view point of Padmanabhan a strategically managed "customer based relationship" programmes provide long term enduring values. As a result-

a) Customers are less inclined to move away from existing organization
b) Recommend the organization favorably
c) Helpful in implementing strategic change by monitoring customer needs based model
 


Sumanta Dutta
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Garia, Kolkata
 

Source: E-mail March 21, 2007

       

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