Client satisfaction is just the beginning. What leads to sustained growth and long-term success? Client loyalty.
One of the most common mistakes businesses make is that they focus on client satisfaction rather than client loyalty. So, what’s the difference? According to Susan E. DeFranzo, Marketing Manager at Snap Surveys, “Client satisfaction is a measurement of client attitudes toward products, services and brands. Client loyalty consists of loyalty behavior (i.e. customer retention), which is the act of customers making repeat purchases of current brands rather than choosing competitor brands.”
While it is easy for a business to be inundated with metrics, customer loyalty should be considered one of your most important metrics if not the most important. Customer loyalty is usually measured by a metric known as the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
NPS is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. Loyal clients will maintain services longer and be one of your best promoters, yet many small businesses make finding new clients their focus. So instead of focusing on keeping existing customers satisfied (and overall promoters of their business), they spend more and chase new customers as a way to improve the bottom line. A Harvard Business Review study shows that adding a new customer is 5 to 25 times costlier than retaining an existing client.
These studies prove that it takes less time and resources to keep an existing client than it does to seek out and acquire new clients. Still not convinced about the importance of client retention? Then maybe this will convince you: Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, the inventor of the Net Promoter Score, concluded that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25-95%. It just makes sense to always invest in keeping the customers you already have.
As an organization, your goal should always be to achieve customer satisfaction by meeting the client expectations set forth in your Mission, Vision and Value Statements. There are many methods to measure the effectiveness of this. For the last several years the organization for which I work, Home Helpers® Home Care, has required that each of our local offices participate in the Home Care Pulse Client Satisfaction Survey to measure their NPS.
These survey results have become a valuable tool to measure not only the likelihood of existing clients to remain, but also whether they become promoters and recommend the local agency they are working with to others. Besides promoters, the survey further categorizes participants into passives and detractors.
While we all appreciate promoters, we encourage our local agencies to pay close attention to what detractors want to see improved – without neglecting what the promoters like. Additionally, local offices are able to identify trends in satisfaction by viewing the unfiltered and unbiased responses from clients. The more you know about your clients, the better you can serve them and provide them with the very best customer experience. The NPS is a very important tool to gauge customer loyalty while offering suggestions on how to improve it.
Improving Client Loyalty
Focus on the client experience – One method to evaluate if local offices are meeting these expectations is the exercise of regularly reflecting on the client journey from start to finish. By putting yourself in the client’s shoes, you discover whether all team members are adopting and embracing a client-centric focused attitude. Keeping client service expectations high should be an ongoing focus and has to start at the top. Organizational leadership sets the tone and creates a winning culture.
At Home Helpers, our most successful owners understand that the focus on providing excellent care is what drives their success. As organization expert Jim Clemmert has said, “A company’s external customer service is only as strong as the company’s internal leadership, and the culture of commitment that this leadership creates.”
Year after year, our award winners work to not only meet expectations, but exceed them.
Empower Caregivers to deliver an incomparable customer experience – Caregivers have the most direct impact on improving customer loyalty. By sharing the mission and vision of your agency, you help your caregivers understand the organizational “why” and the driving force behind decisions and policies. Work to ensure that your caregivers feel that they are an important part of your agency and not on an island alone. This will promote loyalty. Loyal caregivers tend to have buy-in, are happier and improve the reputation of your agency. Additionally, they are likely to remain a caregiver longer and become one of your top referral sources as current clients share their enthusiasm for their work with family and friends.
Own Your Results – When you realize that someone from your organization has made a mistake, own it. Just admit you made the mistake and work to resolve it quickly. Clients appreciate when you take responsibility and work to get it corrected. Then ensure that the mistake isn’t repeated.
Exceptional Customer Service – As you can tell, this can’t be emphasized enough and it’s a game-changer for creating loyalty with existing clients.
You may be familiar with Ritz-Carlton’s world-renowned commitment to delivering the very best customer service. It starts with their employees and their pledge to meet what is known as the company’s Gold Standards. These Gold Standards are defined as the very foundation of the company’s values and philosophy by which they operate. The result, of course, is not only repeat customers, but lifetime regulars who will never stay at another hotel if there’s a Ritz nearby. Customers have plenty of other hotel options, but choose to return to the Ritz-Carlton again and again because of the experience they can expect to receive. This is loyalty.
In a saturated market, a key to success is to do a better job serving those who need your agency’s assistance than the competition. So, what are your Gold Standards that make your agency the Home Care Provider of choice in your community? I’ll let “king of sales” and author Jeffrey Gitomer sum things up by using his very applicable quote: “Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless!”