The wealthy all have one simple trait in common: they are frugal. Now, we know this may seem like a bit of an oxymoron (a frugal rich person?) but there’s actually a very good reason for this. If you constantly splurge and spend all your money as soon as you get it, you won’t stay rich for long. Instead, the wealthy tend to live below their means, and to pinch and save every penny possible.
So many of us are tempted by the gratification of the now – we get our nice new cars on loans, buy that designer outfit on credit, and oftentimes we don’t have a financial buffer for when times get tough. If you want to get rich (and stay rich), you need to be patient. You need to save your money for the things you want, and have some kind of fall-back in case of troubles or emergencies.
The same concept can be applied to building customer loyalty. Emotional bank accounts work in the same ways as financial bank accounts, and all relationships have an emotional bank account. Personal relationships, romantic relationships and business relationships can either be credited or debited by the actions we take. The key to having long-term, loyal customers is to constantly credit their emotional bank accounts.
Here’s a snippet on exactly how to do that (or you can find the full version at the end of the blog!).
1. Long-Term Loyalty
Just like getting rich, acquiring those long-term, loyal customers takes patience, dedication and time. You need to constantly make deposits while at the same time taking very few withdrawals (if you can help it).
When it comes to relationships, every action we take can credit or debit the emotional bank account. When we cook a nice dinner for our partner and do the dishes, we credit our account. When we forget our anniversary, we debit it. The trick is to always have more credits than debits; relationships end with the accounts get to zero.
For decades, National Geographic dominated the print industry. It was able to foster a highly loyal customer base by consistently providing quality content. This high-quality reputation was NatGeo’s “credit” – their customers’ emotional bank accounts were consistently full because they were never disappointed. So, when National Geographic adapted to the changing times and moved to Instagram, its customers followed. Why? Because they knew that, no matter what, they would get quality content. This is thanks to NatGeo constantly crediting their customers, and rarely – if ever – debiting them.
2. How To Credit Your Customers
Now, you’re probably wondering how you can apply this to your own business. The fact is, each situation will be different. For National Geographic, delivering content of exceptional content was their way of crediting their customers’ emotional bank accounts. For a bakery, it may be having the fluffiest scones in the area, or for a dog walker it may be offering complimentary doggie play-time on each walk.
The next time you have a spare few minutes, brainstorm ways that you can credit your customers. For help visualising your customers’ needs and wants, check out our tips on creating Ideal Customer Avatars.
Doing this will help you to determine what your customers value. By delivering exactly this, you will never fail to credit their emotional bank accounts.
The key to building loyalty is appreciation. Think about the cafe where you get your coffee every morning; do the baristas there know you by name? Do they know your order as soon as you walk through the door? If this has ever happened to you, you’ll know the warm and fuzzy feeling it brings on. It’s nice to be appreciated, isn’t it?! And, even though there are dozens of cafes you can go to on the way to work, you would keep going back to this place, because they know you. Do this for your customers and they will reward you in the exact same way.
3. Make Credit Your Culture
You’re probably going to get sick of hearing this, but it’s true – every interaction we have is either a credit or a debit on an emotional bank account. Every interaction. Which means we must ensure we’re maximising each and every opportunity to credit our customers and provide them with the most positive experience possible.
Something we notice all the time is that businesses often miss this mark in the transaction phase of the buying process. Our customer is at the counter, they’re ready to pay, surely we don’t have to do anything else, right? Wrong. Even now there are chances to give them that last little bit of emotional credit; it’s not just about providing a great product or service, we have to show them that we genuinely care.
A lot of the time this is as simple as saying please, thank you and have a great day! This makes customers feel good, and gives them another couple of cents in their emotional bank account. Make it part of your culture to make every customer feel good. Give them nothing but positive interactions, and they will have nothing by positive perceptions.
Australian fashion retailer Beginning Boutique is one company who maximises every opportunity to make their customers feel good. With every package they send out, they include a thoughtful and personalised handwritten note, thanking their customer one final time. This touch, seemingly quite small, can have a big impact on an emotional bank account. It’s the little things that make all the difference!
4. Reward Loyalty
So, you’ve followed the first three steps and now you’re really starting to notice some regular, returning customers. Well done! But, how do you keep them loyal?
The key is recognition and appreciation. Many businesses, especially eateries, offer customers a discount or even free product on their birthdays. You can take this one step further by sending out personalised birthday cards, Christmas cards and the like. Have you noticed the same customer has been shopping with you for three years now? What if you offered them a 20% discount for their loyalty? It’s things like this that go a long way in keeping that emotional bank account healthy and credited.
You might be thinking, “that seems like a lot of time and effort, what do I get out of it?” – the point is, you don’t! At least not right away. You should give before you ever ask for anything in return. Giving is leverage; give for the nature of giving, make it genuine, heartfelt and caring, and customers will reward you with their loyalty.
5. How To Handle Debits
We’ve spent a lot of time in this blog talking about the ways in which you can credit your customers, but what if the dreaded debit happens? As much as we can strive to credit and credit our customers and nothing else, sometimes things go wrong.
Sometimes our product simply won’t be the quality that was promised, or an order will get lost in the mail, or maybe we will send them the wrong parcel entirely! The fact is, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong (thanks Murphy’s Law!).
The ability to handle debits relies on trust. If a customer has had nothing but positive experiences with you, there should be no reason for their bank account to go into a deficit. The trick is, though, to react to and repair mistakes as they happen. Never brush them under the rug – just because their account isn’t at zero yet, you never want to risk the chances of another debit ruining that relationship entirely.
Having a dedicated and caring customer support team is vital for this. If a customer has an issue, dealing with you should never be a frustrating experience. Quite the opposite, this is just another opportunity to credit those emotional bank accounts! Do not treat these occurrences as a hassle, instead use them as a chance to provide more value for your customers. Turn those negatives into positives 🙂
We hope this article has been useful for you! Did we credit your emotional bank account? 😉
BYB Show – Emotional Bank Account
Branding Your Business – Emotional Bank Account..Music – Stars Below Us by spinningmerkaba (c) (http://dig.ccmixter.org/film)Edited by Flavia Lane Fry
Posted by JLD Relations on Tuesday, 21 March 2017
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