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Keeping Good Customers by Earning Customer Loyalty
By Steven Howard, Howard Marketing Services

To take care of your customers, you need to have a full understanding of their wants, needs, and desires.

I would also suggest that you need to have a corporate attitude that understands a person or an organization is not truly your customer until the second time they buy.

A goal of every organization is to increase its assets over time. These assets are typically defined in terms of revenue, customer accounts, properties, human resources, and capital.

But there are two hidden assets that every organization can develop and that are critical for marketing success in the 21st century. These often overlooked and under valued assets are the brands and customers.

I was in Melbourne in mid August last year attending a major meeting of the Australian and New Zealand banks that issue MasterCard credit cards and Maestro debit cards.

Mr. Nicholas Utton, Chief Marketing Officer of MasterCard International, had one key message for this audience of senior bankers concerning customers: "if we don't take care of our customers, someone else will."

That's worth repeating and reflecting on: "if we don't take care of our customers, someone else will."

And how true that is. Just think about all the choices and options available to customers today. Rare is the organization that finds itself without competitors. Even rarer is the customer that finds himself without options, choices, or substitute products for the solutions they seek.

To take care of your customers, you need to have a full understanding of their wants, needs, and desires. I would also suggest that you need to have a corporate attitude that understands a person or an organization is not truly your customer until the second time they buy.

That's right. I recommend you don't consider anyone a customer until the second time they buy from you. The first time they buy they are merely a trial user. Unless they achieve satisfaction from the purchase and the use of your product or service, they may be unlikely to repeat their business with you. Hence, taking care of the customer goes beyond the mere sales cycle and includes all post-purchase activities such as use, repair, servicing, customer service, warranties and trade-in or re-sale.

The best way to take care of your prospects and customers is to tailor or customise your products and service offering as much as you profitably can. Treat your customers as individuals with individual needs at all customer touch points and you


Steven Howard is Asia's leading marketing consultant and positioning specialist, with over 22 years experience. The author of two books and numerous articles, you may reach him at www.howard-marketing.com or steven@howard-marketing.com.

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