Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Secret to getting loyal customers

Is there a secret formula to make your customers stay loyal to you? Is there a secret place where all the loyal customers hang out?

One of our readers and commentators, Kare submitted the following to me recently and I thought it appropriate to share.

One thing we all want as consultants is customer loyalty. How do we get that? One way is by providing excellent customer service, so that said customer never has any desire to go elsewhere. And one of the most important ways to provide that all-important customer service is by listening to the customer and to what her needs and wishes are.

I was reminded of that this week. About a year ago, I conducted a spa class. While filling out the profile card, one of the guests looked at the section where it asked for "preferred method of contact." A strange look crossed her face, and she looked up at me. We know each other socially as well as through MK, so her words were something like this, "You can call or email me any time you just want to talk, but please don't ever call me about this!" I assured her that if she marked on the form "Customer will initiate contact," I would honor her wishes. She bought over $50 of product that day, and I did call her to deliver her order (no, I don't have full inventory). But after that, I did as she requested and did not call again. I had her permission to send her The Look each quarter, so that was my only "business contact" with her.

What happened might not be what you would expect. She has continued to get in touch with me to order when she runs low on product. And last week, at a social engagement, she introduced me to her sister. "This is my Mary Kay rep that I was telling you about!" she said enthusiastically. The sister gave me a resigned smile and said, "Would you believe I held a Mary Kay party recently, trying to help out a friend of mine, and my own sister would not place an order?! She told me she already had a consultant, and she would only buy from you!"

I was thrilled to be the recipient of such staunch loyalty. But I truly believe that the fact that I listened to her when she requested not to be phoned or emailed is a large part of what inspired that loyalty. I'm not naive; I know it very easily could have gone the other way, and I could have never heard from her again after that party. But I believe I did the right thing by honoring her wishes, and I believe that she appreciates that. Had I ignored her, I might have lost her business completely.

Kare


Well said Kare, and thanks for sharing. I would like to point out here, that the "secret" is NOT about whether or not Kare called her customer/acquaintance, it is that she listened to what was asked of her. Some people like you to call them because they will forget that skin care exists if someone is not reminding them. Others know exactly what they want/need, when they want/need it, and want it to be on their terms. As mkhonesty will attest, knowing what your customer wants/needs is crucial and will vary on a case to case basis.

Remember that you are all invited to send your thoughts/ideas/stories to balancedmarykay@gmail.com

4 comments:

  1. Listen to your customers... whoever would have thought that works?!?

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  2. The secret to getting loyal customers is to give them what they want!! Leave them alone when they dont want, same for recruiting.

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  3. In my profession I always try to recruit likely candidates but, unfortunately, there are no suitable specimens in my part of the UK :(

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  4. speaking the real truthJune 11, 2008 at 7:17 AM

    Kare is right. But we need to listen to our customers across the board. When we understand their wants and needs, we can better meet those wants and needs. If we constantly try to push products on our clients that they are not interested in, they realize that we are not listening and that we do not care what they want. Become a master at knowing your clients. Know what they want and need, when is a good time to reach them, when and how they want their product delivered, etc. It will pay off. When you know what they like, each time that there are new products, you will know what they might like and what they will not, and that goes a long way with them.

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