Unlike in marriage, customer love is rarely a commitment that will last “until death do us part.” You simply can’t take customer love for granted, but you can understand its cycle and set it to lather, rinse and repeat.
Have You Set the Customer Love Cycle to Lather, Rinse, Repeat?
Lather, rinse, repeat are the directions usually given when it’s time to clean something off and start over. When it comes to customer relationships, it’s far more likely that you will need to view customer love as a fleeting thing – and one that needs to be revitalized from time to time – instead of a long-term commitment, at least on the customer’s part.
Unlike in romantic relationships, customers aren’t going to cut you so much slack or give you the benefit of the doubt. One disappointment could be all it takes to lose their affection; worse, you might think everything is going well only to find that they left a “Dear John” letter for you and left without your even knowing anything was wrong.
Signs Customer Love Is Starting to Fade
But just like there are in romantic relationships, there are signals customers send that can tell you when they are losing interest in the relationship or starting to look around for something new. Understanding what type of signs preclude customer defections can help you frame the customer journey and give your brand the opportunity to rekindle the flame before they go. Here are some of the signs customers might send when they are losing interest in their relationship with your brand:
- Bored or uninterested in what you have to say
- Coming to visit less often or cutting their visits short and spending less
- Declining your invitations and ignoring your emails
- Embarrassed to tell their friends about you (especially if they used to send referrals your way)
- Constantly criticizing you (even if they’re accusing your brand of things it did not do, as if they are trying to manufacture a reason to leave)
- Talking to rivals right in front of you, such as price-checking or comparison shopping via mobile device
In most cases of customer defection, one or more of these signs were probably there; you would have noticed them had you been paying attention. As you start to think about some of the customers that left you for some other brand, especially the ones that hurt the most, you can probably remember when they started sending some of these customer turnover signals in your direction. Or maybe you did notice them; the question is, what did you do about it?
Customer churn will happen. Minimizing customer churn is what customer relationship management (or CRM) is all about (or at least it’s supposed to be!) Here are four things to remember as you learn better how to set the customer love cycle for your brand to lather, rinse and repeat, clearing the way so you can revitalize the relationship time and time again.
4 Keys to a Lather – Rinse – Repeat Customer Love Cycle
1. The Responsibility for Customer Love Falls on You
In romantic relationships, ideally both parties commit 100% to the relationship’s success. That’s not how customer relationships go, however. The responsibility for the health and well-being of the customer relationship and the rekindling and nurturing of customer love for your brand falls on you. The customer love directed your way is a direct reflection of how much they believe your brand cares about them; and like any reflection, it will never be stronger, better, or clearer than the original.
2. Enduring Customer Love Relies on Your Brand Changing Over Time
Think about a time when a customer fell in love with your brand. Chances are pretty good that 6 months or 2 years or 5 years or 10 years later that customer will have moved on. Why? Because customers change. They get older, their living situations change, their needs and hurts and wants change. For your brand to build long-lasting customer relationships, it must acknowledge and understand how clients themselves will change over time and have a plan for changing with them.
3. Faithful Customer Love Depends on Your Reliability and Continued Wooing
If a customer is losing interest in your brand or wants to try something new there is little you can do to stop them. They may even be looking for an excuse to leave and any little problem they experience could be the catalyst that triggers customer turnover.
Don’t give them one. The more attention you pay to continuously improving the customer experience, the less likely you are to give customers a reason to leave. Don’t get complacent!
4. It Might Only Take a Small Spark to Reignite Customer Love
Let’s say the worst happens and a customer leaves; that doesn’t have to be the end of the affair. When a rival fails to deliver the customer experience they thought they were leaving your brand for or they miss what they had with your business, it might only take a small spark – an email, social media post, postcard, special offer or some other small gestures on your part to let them know they are welcome to come back any time, no questions asked.
Elizabeth Kraus is the author of 365 Days of Marketing.
365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com in print or digital format. It contains marketing how-to, inspiration and content for every day of the year — including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to help you build a bigger role for your business in the lives of your clients, 365 days a year!