by Noah Fleming, author of “The Customer Loyalty Loop: The Science Behind Creating Great Experiences and Lasting Impressions“
Remember the terrible experience of renting a movie back in the day? My small town still has brick & mortar video stores and being in Canada; we still have severe winters! I’ve got to put my winter boots and coat on. I’ve got warm up the car, scrape the ice of the windshield, shovel the driveway, trudge to the video store, and walk around for twenty minutes before I find something worth bringing home. Then, when I’m done watching the movie, you had to repeat the process just to take the darn thing back. Then along came Netflix.
Your customers want a great experience, but more important than great, today’s customers want things to be easy. Things have certainly gotten easier in our digitally-connected society, and because of that may people have said, “Customer loyalty is dead! There’s no such thing as loyalty anymore.”
But I disagree. It’s not that customers don’t want to be loyal, it’s that many companies are still making things too difficult. Companies continue to annoy customers by insisting on making the customer experience anything but easy.
While I hate the word, “disruption” think of all of the ‘overused’ examples like Air B&B, or Uber, or Amazon, or Netflix. In almost every one of those examples, we don’t necessarily have new products or even new services. They simple took an existing customer experience – almost always a frustrating one – and made it easier. And because of that, these companies are thriving.
I call this the frictionless experience. There are four stages to the Customer Loyalty Loop that are explained in my new book. The second and third stage are all about creating a frictionless experience in your business.
Consider a unique example like Global Entry or TSA Precheck. They simply took a poor customer experience and made it easier. They’ve made airport travel experience, at the very least, tolerable again. They’ve reduced the friction, and they’re gaining legions of loyal followers because of that. As those lines continually get longer and slower, they’ll be forced to reduce friction further, or they’ll end up back where they started.
The New York Times recently published an article titled Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable. You could probably guess the companies who were on this list (if you guessed Comcast AT&T or Verizon, you win!) These companies use a “cost-per-contact” model to determine how long they’re willing to spend with a customer on a customer service call.
What we have here is just another example of how poor customer experiences make it almost impossible for customers to be loyal to these business. The wireless industry is notorious for not giving a damn, and you could ask any customer of one of those companies, and nearly all would be willing to leave at the drop of a dime.
Over 20,000 executives receive my weekly Tuesday Tidbit. You can subscribe here. Each week I give readers a specific challenge they can take back and use in their companies. Here’s one for you to try.
I want you to look at your overall customer experience from the point of the first contact until long after the sale is made. If you have to, write out everything that happens at each stage of the customer’s experience. Be honest and think about the friction at each stage.
Now it’s time to be honest with yourself. Are there areas of the experience that are so filled with friction that you’re abrading away your customer relationships or your ability to strengthen them? And are there areas where you could reduce the friction?
Customer loyalty is alive and well! It’s being enjoyed by thousands of businesses who understand that achieving it can be relatively simple. They’re reaping the rewards and growing because of it.
Any business has this opportunity. The first step is to stop making things so darn hard.
Noah Fleming is a globally recognized customer loyalty expert. He works with companies in a broad range of industries with revenues ranging from 5M to 2B per year to create dramatic results. He is the author of the new book, “The Customer Loyalty Loop“, and the Amazon #1 bestselling book in sales, marketing and customer service categories, “Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving“.