Tag Archives: lifetime value

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loyal customers

Who Are Your Loyal Customers?

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The importance of both internal and external customers should never be taken for granted. Often people quickly connect with the atmosphere of working with external customers but miss the emotional connection internally. Who are the loyal customers and how do we know?

Internal Customer Loyalty

Every organization has a responsibility internally. People are serving other people, other departments, and in one way or another, the sales or production effort. There are customer connections. Internal service is so important because the internal culture is always reflected, in one way or another, in the external brand.

Loyalty in an organization is often measured through the employee turnover metric. Those who stay are loyal. Those who stay have a good internal customer relationship.

Seems logical, except that many believe that they are not staying by choice, they believe they stay because it is a requirement. Requirements to earn a living, feed a family, pay bills, and survive.

External Customer Loyalty

External customers may have a different agenda. It may be easier for them to exit a relationship. There may be many competitive choices and options. In some cases, but certainly not all, they may not feel so trapped. They feel more freedom to choose.

When their automobile is not reliable, they may choose a different brand. If their athletic footwear is uncomfortable or short lived, next time they’ll try a different brand.

It is true for nearly any consumer purchase. Business-to-business is sometimes a little messier, but still doable.

Loyal Customers

So what are the indicators of loyal customers? Certainly sticking around and repetitive purchases are a good indicator. Lifetime value is an important measurement or metric. What else may be important?

Have you considered that a customer who offers feedback, even the feedback that sounds critical or like a criticism is sign of customer loyalty? Maybe you haven’t thought of it this way, but with so many choices, why bother with feedback?

People who have choices, but choose to stay are loyal for some reason. Offering feedback, even feedback that is critical may be a sign that they want to stay, but they also want to help strengthen the reasons why they stay.

Often people with nothing to say, really don’t care, they don’t mind, they’ll just go.

Feedback or criticism is often viewed as a customer about to exit. Instead, it may be a good customer who wants to stay and help you build it.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer service excuses

Customer Service Excuses Are Useless

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Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong. While all the intentions are good and the effort solid, sometimes, a mistake will happen. Giving customer service excuses probably has some value, but not nearly as much as listening.

Many would probably quickly feel like excuses and listening can turn into a slippery slope. Indeed, they can, but doing absolutely nothing will not help the situation.

Lifetime Value

I’ve been using the same company for heating oil for 21 years. Last year, for the first time, they invited me enter a volume purchase agreement. When I commit to a number of gallons for the heating season, I get to lock in at a price per gallon, sounds a little risky, but properly negotiated, wise.

Last year I won, I got a great price per gallon and it really helped keep my expenses down. Fantastic, I loved my vendor—until I didn’t.

This year it took them four additional months to calculate my price per gallon, and the deal they offered, well, it wasn’t much of a deal. When I politely expressed my reservation and desire to refuse their offer it didn’t seem to matter.

Essentially, I was told that it was a corporate decision and there was nothing my local representative could do. My immediately reaction was, “I’ve been a customer for more than 20 years.” The response, “I can see that on your record, sorry.”

Let’s get this straight, for more than 20 years I paid probably on average, at least, without looking it up $3,000.00 per heating season. Across twenty years, that is $60,000, and I think I’m being very conservation in my estimate.

Customer Service Excuses

What is the point? My vendor had plenty of excuses. I spoke with them on the telephone several times. I expressed my desire to continue our relationship and was generous and kind about our shared commitment. They empathized about the situation.

My thought is that somewhere in “corporate” wherever that is, there is someone with an expensive calculator or a spreadsheet that has determined the price of contracts. Where they have failed, in my opinion, is to look closely at the lifetime value. Perhaps more importantly, I believe that they weren’t listening. Customer service excuses are often useless.

They did however call me after the terrible storm hit the Houston, Texas area. Their message was that they were looking out for me to beat rising prices, perhaps I would want to reconsider the contract. I negotiated a one-time delivery, at a reduced out-of-contract price. My local representative had the power to work with me to make that happen.

It’s a shame about the contract. I’m going to miss them.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service is unique appreciative

Why Customer Service Is Unique

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Do you know customer service? Many people believe that they have it mastered, that it is simple, and often that one size fits all. Have you considered why customer service is unique?

People make decisions every day, the business owner, the C Suite executive, the director, manager, or supervisor, even the front line employee. People, employees, those who represent the organization are making decisions about the customer.

Decisions Affect Outcomes

Decisions are made in the boardroom, on the plant floor, in the cubicle farm, at the coffee pot, and often while being face to face with the customer.

The decisions that you or anyone in the organization make will change how business is done. Decisions are made based on the organization culture. The values and beliefs that are carried forward form an understanding. Spoken, written, or symbolized it is in the behaviors of the team.

Have you considered how culture impacts the decisions made about the customer? How is your culture conditioning decisions? Consider this:

  • Products are sometimes made before you know the customer.
  • A customer always has the right of refusal of the offer.
  • Customized work can be costly if the customer doesn’t like what you deliver.
  • For customized or client based work you typically must find the customer first.
  • The order you’ve taken is a promise. The promise is to deliver what the customer believes they are about to receive.

Customer Service Is Unique

One size doesn’t fit all. One approach is not always the best. How your business positions the culture of customer service will have everything to do with the decisions employees make.

You can build a great product, fulfill orders, and work towards building a brand worthy of great admiration and respect. You can do it in more than one way.

When customer service is based on rules, policies, and procedures it is not a culture of customer service, it is a position of us against them.

Us against them may be a signal. A signal that you’ve forgotten about how your customer is unique, a signal of the beginning of the end.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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