Genuine customer loyalty is the Holy Grail of business development. Loyal customers will not only come back for more business, they will endorse you for free, make introductions to their friends, and protect you from your competition. When you can have a client preaching your company’s superiority, they transfer their credibility to your company and inspire others to buy-in. However, customer loyalty does not come cheap. People spend incalculable resources trying to convince their prospective clients to leave the competition and use their products or services. While advertising and marketing can lead to great business success, personal recommendations trump any other type of business development tactic. Loyal customers want your company to succeed and will help you cultivate additional loyal customers.

The big question is, how do you identify, develop, and retain loyal customers?

It might be simpler than you think. With the help of the University of Johannesburg and the Milpark Business School, a research study on developing customer loyalty was completed in 2008. It was discovered that the largest contributing factor for the number of loyal customers a company has, is directly related to the amount of employee enthusiasm. That’s right, when employees are enthusiastic about their jobs, companies, and products there is a significant increase in the amount of loyalty by their clients. It may seem logical, but how many companies actually invest in their employees’ enthusiasm?

The study goes on to state that “a strategy of customer loyalty and employee enthusiasm will result in above average financial performance. Customer loyalty and employee enthusiasm cannot be separated from each other and they are linked by leadership, the vision and core values of the organization. It is not possible to achieve customer loyalty and employee enthusiasm without the proper formulation and execution of a strategy. ”

What this is essentially saying is that you cannot have customer loyalty without employee enthusiasm and furthermore, it is impossible to achieve either of these things without a conscious effort to implement this strategy. Sure you can have an excited employee, but to have a culture of enthusiasm that will incite customer loyalty, you need executive engagement and endorsement. The article goes on to suggest that goal setting, motivation, and teamwork are all necessary components to success in customer loyalty. Companies need to create a culture of Enthusiasm if they desire a fundamental shift in the way they engage and retain their clients.

Southwest Airlines has some of the happiest and enthusiastic employees of any company. They attain this by encouraging their team to use humor and take initiative int their own endeavors. They are far from a luxury airliner. They have sacrificed first class seats and meals, for free luggage checking and smiling flight attendants. Happy flight attendants lead to happy customers, and happy customers become loyal fliers.

One would ask, how do they guarantee happy employees? Their employees are given the freedom to be themselves and to make their own decisions. The act of empowering your employees to do what they feel is best has gigantic benefits for morale. When a company’s employees have freedom and a vested interest in their work, they attend to their tasks with vigor and passion. In return, Southwest Airlines has cultivated a very loyal group of travelers. The blatant happiness that is apparent with any customer facing employee, builds a deep rapport with every person that flies with them. They utilize their enthusiasm to keep their clients happy and engaged.

Enthusiasm has the power to create passionate customers and increase financial performance. When a strategy of enthusiasm is nurtured by all levels of management, a company cannot help but incite customer loyalty.

Want to become a trusted advisor to your clients? Want true loyalty from your customers?

Make sure your employees are Enthusiastic!

Do you want to develop genuine customer loyalty? Are you ready to challenge the way your employees are engaged? Let us help you build your team’s enthusiasm and get the most out of your business development strategies!

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