5 Tips to Help You Deepen Your Connection to Customers in 2024
As 2023 nears its end and we evaluate our accomplishments, we face another important task. Answering “How are we going to perform in 2024?”
This has relevance in every role we play. For me, those roles include, in alphabetical order: alumnus, board member, chairman, citizen, entrepreneur, father, friend, grandfather, husband, leader, member, partner, professional, etc. This question can be asked regarding all the organizations and groups to which we belong.
So, how do we get our heads around answering the question “How are WE going to perform in 2024 to maximize our success, happiness and fulfillment?” Particularly when the definition of “WE” (who are we?) is very complex?
Over the recent holiday season, I dedicated some time to trying to answer this question. Many in the business world would give financial answers: EBITDA, profitability, sales growth, cost reduction, etc. Answering those can be complicated.
After much study and deep thought, I uncovered a different and much simpler answer: Being loyal to your customers.
What Is Loyalty?
In general, I define loyalty as the quality, virtue, feeling or characteristic of being faithful, devoted and committed to something or someone. Loyalty is about friendship, family, togetherness, relationships, constancy, trustworthiness and devotion.
Loyalty is a two-way street. Loyalty is not given – it is earned.
Loyalty is a personal thing and a business thing.
I strongly recommend all of us spend 2024 focusing on both personal and business loyalty and growth.
Since this is a business blog, let me address loyalty from a business perspective. The most important business loyalty is CUSTOMER LOYALTY.
By customer loyalty, I don’t mean their loyalty to you. I mean your loyalty to them.
5 Ways You Can Be More Loyal to Your Customers
These tips can deepen your bond with your customers – from their perspective, not yours:
- Clearly communicate your uniqueness: What are your values? What is your vision and mission? How do these things align with your customers’ best interests?
- Understand your customer needs and expectations: Guarantee that every interaction between your company and your customers is positive, satisfying and professional for your customer. Make sure all customer communications are friendly, helpful, timely and complete.
- Ask for customer feedback: Asking your customers for feedback shows that you value their opinions, suggestions, ideas and insights. Ask customers for ideas on how to improve and innovate your products and services. Actively listen to your customers and respond to all inputs, inquiries, compliments and complaints.
- Demonstrate your loyalty to customers: Thank and reward your customers for their loyalty to you. Encourage your customers to share their opinions and experiences with others. Personalize your communications with your customers in accordance with their preferences, needs and behavior.
- Never grow complacent: Maintain awareness of the changing needs and expectations of your customers. Keep an eye on the offerings provided by your competition. On an ongoing basis, look for ways to improve your products and services.
First Things First: Be Loyal to Your Customer
My success has come from turning clients into friends, friends who trust me to do the right thing for them.
How? By being loyal to them. Developing that trust takes years, but the five steps above are a good start.
Leaders must know that the customer drives everything. Long-term success involves making customers happy enough to come back for more and tell other people.
The best review you can ever have is a current customer telling a friend, “They are fantastic people to do business with.”
That involves you being loyal to your customer first. If you are not loyal to them, why should they be loyal to you?
Jim Tompkins, Chairman of Tompkins Ventures, is an international authority on designing and implementing end-to-end supply chains. Over five decades, he has designed countless industrial facilities and supply chain solutions, enhancing the growth of numerous companies. He previously built Tompkins International from a backyard startup into an international consulting and implementation firm. Jim earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.