Great customer experiences can win customer loyalty. That’s why dealerships install restaurants, movie theatres and Starbucks. But while that customer experience is integral to keeping the customer’s business and loyalty, it doesn’t take much to shatter that loyalty and see that once loyal customer desert to a competitor.
Why? Because deep down, people don’t like surprises. Sure, we like them when they are gifts from friends, or spontaneous parties we weren’t aware of. But when a customer visits a business they like and are familiar with, they expect the same service that made them a fan in the beginning. And if they don’t get it, they may start rethinking their loyalty.
Take Hyatt as an example. Most big hotel chains acquire smaller non-branded hotels so as to extend the chain’s reach. Hyatt is no different EXCEPT with its Hyatt Place brand. The Hyatt Place chain was specifically designed to introduce consistency and confidence to its guests and potential guests. While other chains endure complaints from customers that their stay did not live up to the standards that were expected, Hyatt has created a chain that provides the exact same amenities and room layouts at every single location. This gives travelers (especially business travelers) confidence that they will get exactly what they expect and want.
Why is this important?
Because people do business with companies they know and like. The missing component in customer loyalty is that trust. It is the hardest component to earn. But it can be earned through consistency.
Customers come to your dealership for the first time on a gamble. Regardless of what others have experienced, ultimately the customer really only cares about their experience.
In today’s competitive market it’s not enough to provide a great customer experience UNLESS you do it every single time for every customer.
Of course, the longer the relationship continues, the more forgiving the customer will be. However, the same logic applies to how betrayed that loyal customer may feel should they experience too many bad experiences after patronizing – and advocating – your dealership for a long time. Then they can become more vocal and damaging than any first-time or short-term customer could ever be.
While a focus on likeability and brand are important, trust is the main ingredient in any loyalty potion. And to earn that, all three ingredients must be present each and every time your customer drinks – they like you, know you and their experience is consistent. Lose any one of those and you may find that your love potion no longer works and you lose a customer.
Author: Michael Gorun
Michael Gorun is founder of Performance Loyalty Group, a technology-based owner retention and loyalty company. He has more than 25 years in operational service management positions for Ford, Nissan and General Motors. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.