"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinette, Claire Brand, and Vicki Lenz, authors of Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life (McGraw-Hill, 2000).
"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinette, Claire Brand, and Vicki Lenz, authors of Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life (McGraw-Hill, 2000). With that in mind, here's a quick test of your loyalty IQ:
1. Client retention is the same thing as client loyalty.
2. The outcome of a visit determines a client's evaluation of the experience.
3. The goal of most transactions is to meet client expectations 100 percent.
1. False. Client retention is not the same as client loyalty. If you own the only practice in town, you'll retain clients. But suppose other practices, perhaps lower-cost ones, open in your area? Will your clients remain loyal? Loyalty implies a choice—an important distinction.
2. False. Clients use two criteria to evaluate their experience: process and outcome. Both must match the client's expectations for the visit to be seen as positive. If your treatment resolves a pet's problem but the receptionist is rude, the client's overall evaluation will be negative. If you provide five-star service but fall short in the client's mind on the quality of care, it'll be seen as a bad experience. The caring is as important as the care itself.
3. True. But if you aim only to meet clients' expectations, you may be setting the bar too low. "Core service doesn't generate loyalty," says Stephanie Busty, a training specialist at New York City's Beth Israel Hospital. "We want to exceed clients' expectations. We want to knock their socks off." ("To Compete, Hospitals Get Hoteliers' Service Lessons," The New York Times, July 24, 1995.)
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a speaker based in Roslyn, N.Y.