What’s the secret to building customer loyalty? According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, many companies focus on making loyalty a strategic priority, but fail to gain traction. The reason is simple. Their policies and processes don’t focus on making an emotional connection with their customers.
When you consider that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend a product to others and return to make another purchase – finding a way to delight customers on an emotional level can be as important as the product you sell.
Customer Loyalty to the Moon and Back
The most persuasive case study on the subject, of course, is Disney, which achieves an amazing 70% return rate in customer visits, according to the Disney Institute’s book on the subject. And it’s all due to Walt Disney’s original promise to create happiness through “magical” experiences.
Those magical results are not based on Disney’s access to magic carpets and the like, but start with the company’s Seven Services Guidelines:
- Make eye contact and smile
- Greet and welcome every guest
- Seek out guest contact
- Provide immediate service recovery
- Always display appropriate body language
- Create dreams and preserve the “magical guest experience”
- Thank each and every guest
When Tone Trumps Procedure
According to the Disney Institute, there are four keys to delighting customers:
- Safety: Always first.
- Courtesy: Going above and beyond to exceed guest expectations.
- Show: Ensuring the area is show-ready for customers at all times.
- Efficiency: Performing the customer service role efficiently so the guest can get the most out of the experience.
The tone of their answer is also important especially when trying to figure out what the guest is really trying to ask. When guests ask “When will the three o’clock parade start?” the answer is never a tired or sarcastic “at three o’clock.” When a guest asks a question like this, they generally want to know when the parade will pass by their current location. So Disney staff offer proactive advice on when to expect the parade and where to stand to get the best view.
To create a magical experience for customers, it’s also important to stay current with customer-pleasing technology. For Disney, this means using MagicBands that allow guests to gain access to everything from their hotel rooms to rides and attractions.
But companies can never rely on technology alone. “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic,” former Walt Disney World® EVP Lee Cockerell said.
A magical customer experience doesn’t have to be limited to the “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Your team can be the reason customers are raving about your company to their friends and family, as long as you’re willing to make customer loyalty and experience a priority.
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