Customer Loyalty Lessons Born on the Bayou

Customer Loyalty Lessons Born on the Bayou

I was in Louisiana last week meeting with a prospective client. We spent the whole day together discussing the ins and outs of his business, his company’s sales and marketing efforts, and how I could help them drive some fantastic results.

He asked if I would be interested in a classic Louisiana Po’Boy Sandwich at a shanty old restaurant for lunch. He warned me that it wouldn’t be the most glamorous place, but the sandwich would be fantastic.

How could I say no?!

We drove through a residential area to an old house transformed into a restaurant with some signage slapped up on the exterior of the building. Inside, the place was bustling.

With a decor that looked like it hadn’t missed a beat since 1952, I found myself mesmerized by the sights, the smells, and the sounds of the place.

The counter attendant yelled out orders to the kitchen staff working the hot grill only two feet behind him (in a thick Cajun accent only a local could understand); another employee reached over the others passing the hot, messy sandwiches to hungry customers.

When you travel, the best places are almost always the ones where the locals eat. They’re the hardest to find and almost always the best (although the Internet has made it much easier for anyone to find them).

I thought about it on the flight home. It became evident to me that this is closely related to the importance of understanding your core story and how you want others to tell your story. A lot of marketers and business executives like to talk about the importance of knowing your “why.”

But just knowing your “why” is pretty useless unless you can translate that into business results. It’s far more important to understand WHAT you want OTHERS to be saying about you.

For a B2B company, it might be more about the referrals you get, and working to ensure your clients understand what makes you unique, and more importantly, how to talk to their peers about you.

For B2C companies, this is all about the power of word-of-mouth. Having a great sandwich is fine, but we could have had a Po’Boy from perhaps over 1000 other spots. The product was outstanding, but my prospect knew this place had the perfect mix of a fantastic product with a memorable customer experience.

The classic book related to this topic is Positioning – The Battle for The Mind. In it, the authors argued that nearly all great business successes revolved around how you are viewed and understood in the minds of your prospects, clients, customers, donors, (and even voters!).

It’s called a battle because there’s a ton of noise out there and loads of competition. The authors said that you would only be known and remembered for one or two key things. Either you could decide those things or the market would decide for you.

This book was written over 35 years ago, and unfortunately, many companies still leave this critical business decision up to others.

The failure to craft your own clear and dominant position in the marketplace leaves you quite vulnerable to others doing it for you. This is just another reason to argue for the power of consistency in marketing, even at the expense of quality.

Today’s Challenge: What are the one or two desirable things that you want your clients repeating about you to others?

What are you doing in your sales, marketing, and customer experience efforts to make that a reality?

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