Trust – more important than delight in building customer loyalty

I have been going to the same hairdresser – Abby – for the last 6 years. I have not entrusted anyone else to snip my hair over the last 72 months! So, you can safely say that I am a loyal customer.

In the world of customer service, the accepted thinking is that Abby is doing something that is “delighting me” as a customer.

The concept of customer delight is most commonly associated with “doing something different and/or better” for the customer. It is associated with continually “raising the bar”.

But I don’t think that it is delight that has been keeping me coming back, month after month, over the last 6 years. Abby has not attempted to “raise the bar” or do things different for me.

So, what is about Abby that has built my loyalty?

In a word, it’s trust.

I trust that Abby will give me a consistent customer experience. She gives me the same warm greeting, just as she has done for the last 6 years. She still gives me a cup of Chinese tea when I arrive, just as she has done for the last 6 years. She is still the same friendly hairdresser who does a great job, just as she has been for the last 6 years. I feel good going to Abby and she delivers the goods. I walk out a happy customer now, just as I have for the last 6 years.

I trust that Abby will give a consistently positive experience, at both a rational and emotional level.

I believe that we don’t necessarily have to keep raising the bar to build customer loyalty. I believe that perhaps the most valuable currency that drives customer loyalty is trust – trust that we will provide a consistently high customer experience that appeals to us at both a rational and emotional level. No disappointments. No excuses. Just plain and simple consistency.

What do you think? I’m interested!

I will explore this further in my next post. Until then…