Our Top 4 Factors that Lead to Customer Loyalty

factors that lead to customer loyalty

Meet the Jones’

There were the Jones’, who came in at least a dozen times before they ever made a purchase. And every time I saw them coming I would try to find something else that had to be done immediately so I could exit through the back door. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kevin has left the building. They were innocent enough, but my goodness they took up a ton of my time! Each visit lasted 30-45 minutes and they never walked out the door with a single item. You’ve had some Jones’ of your own I’m sure.

And then there were the Bakers. I met them once, they made a $7,476.00 purchase and they were gone, never to be seen again.

I met these two couples at about the same time in 2009. The only difference was that, although I never saw the Bakers again, I see the Jones’ several times per month and they hardly ever leave the store now without a good-sized purchase. The Jones’ have spent $9,342.00 and I’ve sold $12,324.00 of their consignment items at my consignment store. And they are coming in to purchase a $1,500.00 mattress next week.

Now if you were to rewind the tape to 2009 and peek inside the emotional place inside of me, you’d find that my heart soared when the Bakers purchased their bedroom suit. You would also see that that same heart would sink when I saw the Jones’ car pulling into our parking lot. What I’ve learned from this experience is that I see customers as single transactions and not as ongoing relationships which can produce much more over the long haul.
factors that lead to customer loyalty
Beyondphilosophy.com says that definitions of customer loyalty often fail to recognize that factors that lead to customer loyalty are emotionally driven. They say that customer loyalty is the result of repeated positive emotional experiences in an establishment.

Customer loyalty is the result of consistently positive emotional experience, physical attribute-based satisfaction and perceived value of an experience, which includes the product or services. –http://beyondphilosophy.com/customer-experience/customer-loyalty/

That’s what we’ve learned too. As a result of this lesson, our staff and I work as hard for customer loyalty as we do for that stellar one-time transaction. I could outline dozens of practices that I believe lead to customer loyalty, but I’ll spare you and give you what I believe to be our top four behaviors that turn that single-transaction customer into a long-term friend, and don’t forget, friends love to do business with friends.

Our Top 4 Factors that Lead to Customer Loyalty

Sometimes You Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

You may remember the television show “Cheers.”  It was a great storyline. But what made Cheers so great was the people. You probably even remember their names.  Let’s see, there was Carla, Norm, Cliff, Sam, and Diane. I’m sure you can name several others. And one things that made you want to remember their names was the culture of the place. It was even in their theme song, right? And you better believe that Norm didn’t frequent the place for the Beer, heck, he could buy a beer anywhere. No, he was there for the support of friends who knew his name.

In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie says, “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

I believe that your ability and your staffs commitment to call customers by name is the number one factor that leads to long-term relationships. And that leads to a whole bunch of purchases and consignments. Plus it’s just good for the soul!

A Person’s Name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie

“Can I Carry That To Your Car For You?”

I admit, I learned the importance of this from the Southern based grocery store, Publix.  Almost twenty years ago now I was attending college in Lakeland, Florida, the home base of Publix. I actually lived just down the road from Publix store #2. I was living 660 miles away from home and had depended on my mom to do things like grocery shopping, so you can imagine I was a little nervous about the whole life away from home thing.

I remember the first time I walked into that grocery store and completed my grocery purchase. The bagging clerk looked me straight in the eye and said, “Can I carry those to the car for you?” Right there at that moment I became a loyal Publix customer. I couldn’t count the number of times I returned to that store during my stay in Lakeland, but I can tell you that to this day my wife and I primarily do our grocery shopping at Publix. And every time I complete my transaction, the clerk looks at me and says, “Can I carry those to the car for you?” We have four children and I’ll give you one guess which is their favorite grocery store (oh, maybe that has something to do with the free cookie from the bakery they get each visit).  It’s no accident that Publix is one of the fastest growing grocery chains in the country.

I’ll also give you one guess what Team New Leaf says to our customers as soon as they complete their transaction.

“See You Next Time”

The power of suggestion is real!

At New Leaf, we try to use the power of suggestion to build loyalty. Here are three ways we do so.

  1. If we know that we have inventory coming in that matches the needs of a customer, we tell them. For example, if I have a customer looking for a leather sofa and love seat, I mention to them that we have a load of furniture coming in on Thursday and that we often get leather sofas. That plants a seed in their mind that they need to make sure and check back with us on Thursday.
  2. We make it a habit to tell as many customers as possible that we get inventory in the store every single day, particularly, if she does not find what she is looking for on her current visit. We also communicate that in our advertising pieces. “New Inventory Daily” is a magic phrase that will constantly remind our customers that they need to take their weekly stroll through your store.  I also tell our customers that the best way to shop our store is once a week, even if you only have a minute to run in and make a quick round through the store.
  3. My favorite exit greeting is “See You Next Time.”  Often people will stop in their tracks and look back at me as if to say, “Well I guess you will.” It has been one of those magic phrases for me that says to the customer, “we know you loved us and we can’t wait to see you again.”

People Love to Know You are Thinking About Them

People will support your shop if you try to support them.

We keep a wish list (click here to see it) near our point of sale for folks to write down what they are looking for. We created a simple excel table with our logo at the top and we collect the customer’s name, phone number and the item they are searching for. During slow times throughout the day, Team New Leaf takes a look at the wish list to see if we have anything to meet that need. We try to filter them out every 30 days or so or the list gets so long that it becomes irrelevant.

Beware that the wish list can become a liability to your business if you fail to use it. People may depend on you to call them if that leather sectional comes in and not be as diligent to keep an eye out. So, if you are going to use it, use it well. Our customers love to get that phone call from us and even if that leather sectional was the wrong color, they often find something else on their wish list visit.

During our first four years in business, we made “Thank You” calls to anyone in our store who spent $75 or more on one visit. It was tedious and time-consuming, but our customers absolutely loved it. It made them feel special. It was scripted to simply say, “This is _______ from New Leaf Galleries and we just wanted to call and say thank you for being such a great customer.” We no longer make those calls, but we do try to show gratitude when people make larger purchases. Other consignment store operators write thank you postcards for large sales.

Customer Loyalty: Bring On The Repeat Sales

Those smaller repeat sales make so much more difference in the long haul than the one-off larger purchases. But even better than that is the loyal customer who thinks of you first when the time comes for the big purchase. If you have treated them well and differentiated yourself from your competitors, you will see them swipe the card more frequently AND for the big sales.

Excuse me, I need to go make some thank you calls…

I’d love to know what factors lead to customer loyalty in your store!

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