Friday, May 27, 2011

Customer Loyalty: Moving Beyond Just The Transaction

Each year I co-celebrate my birthday with a dear friend who I worked with many years ago at a trade association. She has a meeting planning business, and also sells promotional products to large trade assocations. She's a seasoned, savvy entrepreneur who's been in business for years. Over lunch, we chatted about our businesses and our projects. She mentioned that she doesn't market her business and has a very loyal client base, and she landed two new clients this year. What's the secret to her success? She gives her customers what they want and always goes the extra mile for them. She's worked with many of the same clients over the years and built a strong loyalty around her 'personal brand'.

As I drove home yesterday after our lunch, I thought about how she could easily NOT give her customers what they want. She plans time-consuming trade association conferences AND sells promotional products (and these aren't paltry orders either!) She doesn't have to special order a t-shirt for her client that desperately needs one for their new employee (at the last minute), and fight crazy traffic and parking to hand-deliver their t-shirt BUT she does.

Normally, I would gasp when a business owner tells me they don't actively market their company. However, her customer service speaks for itself as she's developed a strong rapport with her customers and has perfected what many companies have lost these days - excellent customer service.  She could easily be a transactional-based business based on the kinds of products she sells, but she knows where her bread and butter are - customer loyalty. In this competitive market where you can buy anything and everything online, she is the first person they call.

Don't treat your customers and clients like a 'transaction'. A transactional-based interaction is not a fun experience. I've been on the receiving end and it made me feel like a number in a sea of thousands. As a result, I never bought their product again or returned to that business. If you have loyal customers who choose your business over your competition, thank them for their business. Go that extra mile to personally hand-deliver their products. Add in an extra bonus with their services as a way to thank them for their continued business.

Without your customers and clients, you wouldn't be in business so remember to move beyond the transactional attitude towards customers. If you haven't thanked your customers/clients lately, send them a hand-written note or pick up the phone. A personal thank you speaks volumes.


  1. Great post; thanks, Therese!

    One of the best lessons I learned in my years at a marketing agency was the value of over-delivering. It's the kind of thing customers tend to remember when, say, budget cuts come around or your competitors start sniffing around.


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies