Here’s an idea. We have accounting departments, sales departments, human resource departments and more. Why not a customer loyalty department?
Loyalty can be measured and it can be monetized. Loyal customers buy more through repeat purchases and may also spend more per purchase. Not to mention the good will they provide when they positively tell your story to potential customers.
The sales and marketing departments may get customers in the door. So, why not have a loyalty department that will keep them coming back through the door?
Please note that the loyalty department isn’t the customer service department. It’s a team that is dedicated to creating programs and strategies that will get customers to come back the next time, every time. As a matter of fact, the customer service department might actually be under the control of the loyalty department.
Also note that the loyalty department isn’t part of marketing. It should be separate. Some would argue that this concept might be part of marketing. I respectfully disagree. Marketing is about the image and branding. Loyalty is specific to keeping the image and brand alive – after the customer has decided to do business with the company.
And, the loyalty department isn’t just about creating a customer loyalty program. As a matter of fact, you don’t need a customer loyalty program at all to have a loyalty department. However, if you do, it would surely fall under the responsibility of this department. Again, loyalty is about the strategies that get the customer to come back next time.
An over simplification of the most basic chain of events that happens in most businesses is that marketing makes the customer aware of the product. Then someone from sales may take over and get the customer to buy the product. The customer service kicks in as the product is being sold and delivered. The loyalty department has its hand in all of these steps, creating systems that enhance the customer experience, every step of the way.
Titles may not be all that important, but if you want to make it official, you can consider a title like VP of Loyalty or Chief Loyalty Officer. This is a leadership position that will have influence in many areas of the company. In addition to the departments mentioned above, the loyalty department may work with HR to help create employee loyalty programs.
Customer (and employee) loyalty shouldn’t be left to chance. It should be thought out and strategized. Create a loyalty department. Hire or promote someone into the leadership position that will help bring your customers back, again and again.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)