21 Customer Experience Touches that Add Up to Long-Term Loyalty
By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | July 05, 2015
We all want loyal customers. They save us money on advertising costs and agency fees because they are likely to come back to us directly to rebook. They are more likely to tell others about us and send us referral business. They make our staff feel good, because there can be a relationship that develops and regular customers are more likely to leave big tips. So how do you get that kind of loyalty?
The key is delivering consistently excellent, and sometimes surprising, customer experiences.
Let's break that down.
For a few years there was an experience that happened to me over and over. I'd be walking down the street on a warm summer day when a car would pull up beside me. A desperate parent would pop his or her head out the window and ask, "Where's the nearest McDonalds? My kids are hungry." I'd explain that the nearest one was far away, but that there was a much better local hamburger joint nearby.
"Nope," they'd insist. "It's got to be McDonalds. They won't eat anywhere else."
McDonald's food wasn't great, even then, but part of what drew families to it so powerfully was the consistency. They knew exactly what they'd be getting. The kids knew to expect a Happy Meal with a tacky plastic toy. The parents knew they could count on getting food their kids would eat without complaint. And, in those days, everyone knew it would be fast, clean and have friendly staff. Part of the reason McDonald's has suffered in recent years is that the consistency is gone. You can't count on that cheerful smile and cleanliness any more.
The same holds true for hotel experiences. People book at chain hotels partially because they know what to expect. Say the words "Four Seasons", and a certain level of comfort and luxury comes to mind. Say "Super 8" and a different value proposition comes to mind. Either way, you know what to expect.
Humans are creatures of habit, and consistency gives us comfort.