HOW TO BUILDING CUSTOMER TRUST AND LOYALTY
Both selling and influencing suffer from the similar misconception that success requires you to aggressively or cleverly push a product or idea. This misunderstanding leads to
inappropriate behaviors. For example, people can become evasive, “pushy,” and aggressive, or overly talkative and agreeable. Selling and influencing depends on getting behavior right, by moderating
openness and assertiveness with warmth and competence. Combined with a great product or brand, this goes a long way to
building customer loyalty.
Harley-Davidson overcame a turbulent past by building customer loyalty—one of its most enduring assets. It was one of America’sforemost motorbike manufacturers but, by the 1980s, sales fell
dramatically following tough competition from affordable, highquality Japanese machines. Harley-Davidson improved quality using the production techniques of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
The next challenge was to win back, and maintain, market share (it now enjoys a customer loyalty rate of 90 percent).Knowledge of customers’ needs and appealing to customers’ emotions helped Harley-Davidson to build trust and bond with customers. Their managers meet customers regularly at rallies,
where new models are demonstrated. Advertising reinforces the brand image, to promote customer loyalty. The Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) is a membership club that entrenches customer
loyalty, with two-thirds of customers renewing membership.
Significantly, Harley-Davidson ensures customers receive benefits they value. The result is that customers trust Harley-Davidson; this trust is used to develop stronger bonds and greater profits in a virtuous circle., former chair, commented, “perhaps the most significant program was—and continues to be—the Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) . . .Dealers regained confidence that Harley
could and would be a dependable partner . . . [And] capturing the ideas of our people—all the people at Harley—was critical to our
• Deliver customers a consistent (and ideally a “branded”)
experience each time they deal with your business.
• Be clear about the value proposition—what you are offering
• Provide incentives for new customers to return and reorder.
• Reward loyalty for established customers.
• Be competitive—what seems like a good deal to you may not
match your competitors.
• Make the customer’s experience as easy and enjoyable as
• Reassure customers with a reliable service and product offer.
• Continuously improve the process, based on customer
• Deliver reliability by working with partners and investing in
Scenario planning enables organizations to rehearse the future, to walk the battlefield before battle commences so that they are better prepared. Scenarios are not about predicting future events.
Their value lies in helping businesses understand the forces that are shaping the future. They challenge our assumptions.
In the 1960s, Pierre Wack, Royal Dutch/Shell’s head of group planning, asked executives to imagine tomorrow. This promoted sophisticated and responsive strategic thinking about the current
situation, by enabling them to detect and understand changes. Pierre Wack wanted to know whether there were other factors in the supply of oil, besides technical availability,
that might be uncertainin the future. He listed stakeholders and questioned the position of governments in oil-producing countries: would they continue increasing production year on year? By exploring the possible
changes to government policy, it became apparent that these governments were unlikely to remain amenable to Shell’s activities. Many oil-producing countries did not need an increase in income.
They had the upper hand, and the overwhelming logic for the oilproducing countries was to reduce supply, increase prices, and conserve their reserves. When the 1973 Arab–Israeli War limited the supply of oil, prices rose fi vefold. Fortunately for Shell, Wack’s scenario work meant Shell was better prepared than its competitors to adapt to the new situation—saving billions of dollars, it climbed from seventh to