FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Entrepreneurs were encouraged to cultivate customer loyalty through strategic approaches but to be reminded that customers have no obligation to small businesses. The riveting discussion took place at the JBDC’s Virtual Biz Zone webinar on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 as participants gained perspective on the theme: Building Customer Loyalty-Branding, Engagement and the Pursuit of Community. This was the first in the September series focusing on Distribution and Consumer Management.
Ms. Janine Fletcher-Taylor, Manager of the Marketing Services Unit with the JBDC was the presenter for the webinar and told participants that “The customer has no obligation to be loyal to you, however, given the experiences they have or whatever assurances they may experience while engaging your brand is what should generate natural loyalty.”
Ms. Fletcher-Taylor underscored that customers are people just like all of us and therefore have similar grievances and likes as we all would. Speaking to the participants, she said, “I have an exercise for you for the week. I want you to observe yourself going about your day and doing transactions, examine how you feel as a customer in these exchanges. What comes to mind when you decide to do a particular transaction? And then ask yourself if you are factoring in some of these considerations in your own business processes? ”
An important part of building customer loyalty has to do with planning and being strategic in how as a business you interact with customers. Ms. Fletcher-Taylor mentioned the importance of knowing your customer as a tool in generating loyalty. She said, “If you are not trying to actually understand the customer then you’re basically going to be shooting in the dark and making a lot of assumptions about reasons to be loyal to you.”
Ms. Taylor shared that in the initial stages of doing business, a lot is assumed about the customer and therefore it is important to make deliberate effort in learning about them and their preferences. She said “From the minute you do that first transaction with your customer, that is where the conversation needs to start. Are you asking questions to find out if your assumptions were correct? what was the customer’s experience? Would they buy again? Would they recommend it to someone else? These are standard conversations you should have with your customers, because we need to be getting to know them.”
Continuing on the idea of businesses knowing their customers, Ms. Fletcher-Taylor added that there are current variables that businesses must consider when aiming to create customer loyalty. She said, “Key concepts that should be top of mind as you seek to build customer loyalty are customer persona, and that being more than just demographics but more about psychology, behaviour, preferences and attitudes.” She went on to explain that understanding your customer’s journey to get to you is significant, as well as the idea of accidental or intentional customer service from your business and appreciating the power of the tribe.
Because small businesses are not entitled to the allegiance of the customers, entrepreneurs are encouraged to nurture healthy and useful relationships with their customers. Ms. Fletcher-Taylor gave practical insight into what matters in building customer loyalty. She proposed to participants that, “standard customer service will never grow old, people matter more than data, the power of a brand story and that digital makes a business accessible, even if they are not fully immersed in the digital space, they should be able to be found.”
In concluding, Ms. Fletcher-Taylor said “As you begin to generate loyalty to your brand it is important to remember that you must not take this loyalty for granted because it is not a permanent state of being.”
The second webinar in the series on Distribution and Consumer Management takes place on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 10:00am. It will tackle the Inventory Management Techniques for Small Businesses with Mr. Haron Spencer, Inventory Management Officer with the JBDC. Interested persons are encouraged to register at www.jbdc.net, the session will be hosted via the Zoom platform.