Customer Affinity – A Strategic Asset
“Invest in customer appreciation to create customer affinity”
In an increasingly dynamic competitive marketplace, durable, long lasting customer relationships are any company’s most prized asset. Affinity is that tight bond a customer has with a company and its brand. When a customer has affinity for your company, they’re in a long-term relationship with you.
When affinity is high, the cost to launch a new product or service goes down. When affinity is low, you have to spend more to overcome negatives and find new customers. Indeed, customer affinity should be viewed as an invaluable “off-balance sheet” asset because it mitigates the risk of customer attrition that will lead to a loss of profits.
What’s important to know is that every company—small or large—can create affinity, keep it, grow it or lose it.
However, customer affinity, like other assets, requires ongoing investment. When you create a bond with your customer, you transform that relationship from a mere “buyer of products/services” to a partner whose relationship is more durable and persistent. The positive impact of customer affinity on the value of your business makes investing to create it a strategic imperative.
A basic ingredient in the recipe for creating the bond that IS the heart of customer affinity is a simple, authentic expression of customer appreciation. This can be accomplished efficiently and effectively by delivering to your customer a tangible expression of your appreciation for the intangible relationship that you enjoy with your customer.
Surprise your customers with something they do not expect. It is not about the expense, it is about the way you show your appreciation. You only need to do it once and it’ll go a long way in letting them know that you value them as a customer. Do it regularly, perhaps annually, and you will create a bond that becomes a competitive barrier to entry by your competitors. A tangible expression of customer appreciation must have certain attributes:
- Quality in the materials reflects upon the value you ascribe to your relationship.
- Thoughtful design is what makes an expression of customer appreciation special.
- Create delight by providing your customers with something they don’t expect and which is personalized, like your unique relationship.
Investing in a customer appreciation memento will deliver an unparalleled return on investment — after all, the value to be realized from customer loyalty is immeasurable.