Leader Volume 10, Number 1
Changes to Keep Customers Loyal
Ms. Hathaway helps organizations manage change. She can be reached at 1-800-339-0973 or www.thechangeagent.com.
today are undergoing massive changes: reorganizations,
re-engineering, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, software and
hardware changes, new management…and the list could go on and
on. We are living in an age of incredible change and instability.
changing workplace demands a new level of adaptability on the part
of its workers. Old ways of doing things don’t necessarily work.
Consider the simple, yet profound, impact that E-commerce has on
business today -- it took the radio 38 years before it reached the
“critical mass” of 50 million users. The computer took 16
years to reach 50 million users and the television took 13 years
to reach critical mass. The Internet? It has taken 4 years for the
Internet to reach 50 million users. If your business is trying to
stand still, you will inevitably be overcome by your competition.
finds that E-commerce is significantly impacting industry
restructuring. In the logistics, consumer product manufacturing,
transportation, government services, and automotive industries,
E-commerce will impact marketing, selling, and customer service.
In home services, telecom, health care, retail grocery, book
selling, office supplies, cards and gifts, retail dry goods, and
recreation and leisure industries, E-commerce will impact the
structure of product offerings and how the services/products will
be delivered. In the entertainment, banking, travel, advertising,
electric utilities, publishing, gaming, and stock trading
industries, Gartner predicts that E-commerce will restructure the
often comes internal chaos and resistance. As a result, the
customer may experience confusion and disruption in service and/or
product delivery. The customer focus
is on “How will this change(s) affect me? WIIFM (What’s in
it for me?)” and “Why
are they making these changes?” The customer’s overriding
concern is, “Will this simplify or complicate my life?” They
will make decisions based on how well your organization answers
some customer service strategies to keep your customer coming back. It is important to recognize
that customer satisfaction is not
enough in today’s competitive market. We need to create customer
When you are
going through change:
1) Help your
customers understand the “why” behind the changes. Be clear as
to “What’s in it for me?” for the customer. Share the
benefits to the customer as to why you are making the changes.
2) Make sure you
are coordinating and collaborating with other departments within
your company. Be wary of overlaps and the potential competition
that may develop due to organizational changes. It is very
frustrating when two or more different departments all call the
customer. The customer very quickly concludes that you really
don’t know what you are doing.
feedback on the change(s). Consider conducting focus groups or
surveys of customers to gain their input on potential changes.
Invite your key customers to be part of the change process. Ask
your customers, “How can we better serve your needs?” If you
ask for feedback, listen and be willing to consider the
4) Be proactive
in your communication, but recognize that many customers don’t
read your marketing literature. Therefore, increase the various
types of external communications you develop. Use newsletters,
advertisements, and your website to inform of change.
How are you
broadening your customers’ understanding and perspective about
your change(s)? Customers don’t want to switch to another
service/product provider unless they must. Make it easy for your
customer to do business with you. Be the best in providing a
system of procedures and policies and way of doing business that
was designed with the customer in mind and
be the very best at providing a style of personal delivery that
your competitors cannot match. Capture the heart of your customer
by being clear as to how your changes benefit them. Then you can
capture their loyalty.