How can a company produce zero-defect products, boast dramatic cycle-time reductions, be certified for consistent, reliable performance…and still lose valuable customers?
Doesn’t the systematic effort to reduce waste, improve yields and streamline processes lead to better service, higher profits and serve to improve customer loyalty?
The answer is “not necessarily.” Here’s why:
Quality Assurance (QA) efforts such as ISO Certification, Six Sigma Quality Control and 10X Cycle-Time Reduction can lead to greater consistency, lower costs and higher speed. But these programs alone will not keep your finger on the ever-changing pulse of your customers’ interests, hopes, needs, fears and feelings. They are not enough to improve customer loyalty.
QA leads to greater predictability and higher standards. That’s important!
But customers are human. And humans are intrigued by creativity, appreciation, personal touch, extra-mile efforts and surprise. That’s important, too, especially when you want to improve customer loyalty.
To win with customers in today’s competitive world, you need both.
You’ve got to work on both continuously. You’ve got to be on time, and turned on. You’ve got to be accurate, and passionate. You’ve got to meet standards, and exceed expectations. You’ve got to please your customer, and sometimes tease your customer to improve customer loyalty.
Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Loyalty
You must always improve your systems, methods, standards and procedures. But you must also cultivate the human qualities of intimacy, connection, caring, personality and style to improve customer loyalty. Yes, squeeze those defects out the door, but keep the window open! Let your humanity come shining in.
Action Steps To Improve Customer Loyalty
Review the active improvement efforts at your organization. You should have ongoing QA programs featuring hard statistics, real experiments and rigorous workflow mapping. At the same time, you must have “soft skills” programs to improve listening, personal communication, cultural respect, ethics, responsibility, recovery, service mindset and customer delight. Make sure you have a healthy mix of both for the success of your business, your employees and your customers.
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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.
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