#1 Posted: 1 Nov 2012 11:53
What would you say is the most important department within your organization? Perhaps the sales department? Or human resources? How about the customer loyalty department?
Wait a minute, what? You've never considered forming a customer loyalty department? It is an innovative idea, but one that makes sense. Loyal customers are an important asset for any business – they purchase more and they spread goodwill for your company, bringing in new customers as well.
The customer loyalty department would take over after the sales and marketing departments bring customers in the door. It would be focused on making sure they come back, again and again.
You may say, we already have a customer service department. Well, the loyalty department is different (although it may actually encompass customer service); it is dedicated to creating programs and strategies that will keep customers coming back.
Some may say that customer loyalty falls under the responsibilities of the marketing department, but there are important reasons that they should be handled individually. Marketing focuses on overall image and branding. Loyalty, however, is directed at keeping the brand vital for existing customers and ensuring they will continue to purchase your product or service.
If you have a customer loyalty program in place, the loyalty department would, of course, oversee the program. But there is more to customer loyalty than any one specific program. The loyalty team should utilize a variety of strategies aimed at one goal – getting the customer to come back time and again.
In the simplest terms, a company's business practice might be stated something like this: first, the marketing department promotes the product to customers, then a sales representative interacts with the customer, who makes a purchase. During the sale and delivery, customer service ensures the transaction goes smoothly and the customer is happy. Where would the loyalty department fit in? All throughout the process – with systems and strategies that enhance the customer experience, every step of the way.
Since loyalty is such an important consideration, as you create the department, why not give its manager a title? The Chief Loyalty Officer or Vice President of Loyalty will be an important leadership position with the potential to influence many areas of your business. Even thinking beyond customer loyalty, get the HR department involved and create programs for employee loyalty as well.
Do you want your customers to keep coming back? Then don't leave loyalty to chance. Take this opportunity to create a customer loyalty department, and make sure it has a strong leader. Give it the time and attention that it deserves and start enjoying the benefits of loyal customers.