• Building Loyalty

Companies are learning that good customer loyalty is a vital part of their business. It’s no longer enough to rely on new prospects; companies are recognising the importance of repeat business and customer advocacy.

Customer loyalty is an attitude and behaviour where customers favour one business brand over others. Usually, a company earns customer loyalty through satisfying the customer’s needs and expectations, whether it’s a service, product, or both. It can also be born out of a sense of familiarity with a brand’s image, and, more and more, a company’s corporate social responsibility.

Statistics reveal that 20% of existing customers generate 80% of a company’s profits. This is backed up by marketing data, which reveals that it is far more likely – 60-70% more, in fact, – to sell to existing customers.

That is customer loyalty at work.

A customer who has previously been satisfied by the quality of a product or impressed with the level of customer service is more comfortable with the brand in question and as a result is far more likely to purchase again. And recommend that brand to others: enter customer advocacy.

The world revolves around human needs, decisions and validation. Good customer service is no different. A good customer experience comes when both parties – customer and salesperson – feel like their efforts have been validated. As a result, the whole purpose of customer service is to reach that point of validation. A happy customer is likely to return and purchase again, thus becoming a loyal customer.

The best way to generate loyalty is to continue to deliver on customer expectations, thus fulfilling their choices.

Meeting Customer Expectations

Customers want the product or service they bought from a company to meet their expectations. They don’t want to feel like they’ve lost time, been tricked, or – worse of all – wasted their money. A customer who leaves feeling used is never coming back, and they will spread the word. People are far more likely to share negative feedback than they are to share compliments.

Promising someone the stars but only being able to give them a rock is not the best way to get return customers. If you promise 100%, then you have to deliver 110%; that’s just the way customer service works. People want to feel special – they want their decision to use your company validated – and as a result, managing customer expectations is one of the key skill-sets required in the customer service game.

Closing a Customer

Staff that remained friendly when a customer chose not to purchase:

94%

Luxury

89%

Mid-Luxury

85%

Mainstream

A good salesperson knows that closing a deal is about more than just making a single sale, it’s about closing a customer; turning a single sale into a happy, returning customer. Hopefully, a lifelong customer. Many salespeople often let these opportunities slip through their fingers. Losing interest the moment a customer decides not to make a purchase is a surefire way to lose them altogether. Catching a potential customer’s attention when it falters is one of the key elements of closing a deal, staying friendly when a customer changes their mind is vital to making sure that they return.

Globally, 11% of staff did not remain friendly when a customer chose not to purchase. That’s 11% of staff that have effectively implied that they are not interested in the customer’s wants or need and only in making a sale. Those customers will not be returning to the store.

How staff closes a deal impacts the customer’s loyalty – and of course their happiness with their purchase. This can be as simple as saying the right thing at the end of a purchase. For example, nearly 50% of staff invite a customer to come again. Unfortunately, 34% don’t say anything at all and simply let the customer leave! Only 18% walk a customer to the door, and only 13% compliment them on their purchase choices.

There is clearly a gap in meeting expectations, with 71% of customers wanting to be invited to return, 38% wanting their choice to be validated by a compliment, and 36% would love being walked to the door. Many shoppers, 33% in fact, would like to know who has helped them – they would enjoy it if staff introduced themselves – while 25% wouldn’t mind having a little general chat on the way to the door. Clearly, customers want to be treated like people; they want to be encouraged and validated and not just treated as a single-time shopper.

Saying Farewell

Just as making the first impression is vital, so is making a last impression. The last impression is what will stay with them; a customer is more likely to remember any business if their last memory of that company is a good one.

A farewell can be made in a variety of different ways and is very much a part of closing a deal and a customer. The way in which it is conducted plays an important role in a customer’s decision to return.

Shoppers in Amsterdam and Singapore speak of positive farewells and strong last impressions. Unfortunately, on a global scale, 25% of fashion industry customers do not experience this, with the least positive farewells occurring in Melbourne, Manila, and Shanghai. In the mainstream segment, only 7% of customers in Melbourne and Chicago received any farewell whatsoever.

Percentage of customer who receive a positive farewell:

88%

Luxury

78%

Mid-Luxury

60%

Mainstream

Top four ways in which staff farewell customers:

  • "Thank you for coming!"

  • "Bye."

  • "Looking forward to seeing you soon. / Come again!"

  • "Have a nice day/afternoon/evening!"

Making them come back…

A returning customer is proof of a business’ customer service success. It is the culmination of everything: the greeting, the service attitude, the closing, the positive farewell. Customer loyalty is the currency upon which companies can count on, it’s the driving force for ongoing business.

Further, shoppers cited the most important factors in a decision to come back to the store as product quality, quality of service, and price. Clearly, the overarching factor is the quality of service – a shopper is more likely to return to a store where they were treated well. It doesn’t hurt to have good product quality and to arm staff with good product knowledge.

The top three elements that impact a customer’s decision to return:

  1. Staff’s Product Knowledge
  2. Friendly Service
  3. Approachable Staff

Top 5 Biggest Frustrations for Fashion Industry Shoppers

62%

Unfriendly/Inattentive Staff

46%

Product out of stock/Size unavailable

42%

Pushy Staff

34%

Long Waiting Times

32%

Staff has Insufficient Product Knowledge

© AQ Service International 2016  | The Global Fashion Benchmark Report, all content thereof, research contained therein, and all data are copyright of AQ Services International. You may not reproduce or communicate any of the content, including all data, without the express permission of the copyright owner.