Customer loyalty. It’s critical in every business and every industry. In the consulting service arena, it is often a “make or break” proposition for independent consultants, small firms, and even the large consulting houses.
What creates customer loyalty? Clearly, delivering promised results is an essential ingredient. But what are the essential qualities of the consultant who can nurture the kind of partnership with their client that leads to a steady stream of work, project after project. And, better yet, does their work lead to unsolicited referrals to other clients? What does the client look for when hiring a consultant, or more importantly, what does the client receive from a currently engaged consultant that makes them want to “hold on” to that consultant for the next project, and the next, and the next, etc.?
Is it the firm that the consultant belongs to? Is it the firm’s brand or reputation? Is it the firm’s client list or citations? Is it the firm’s website? Is it their range of service offerings? Is it the size or experience of their consulting staff? Is it the firm’s newsletter? Is it the price point? Is it their methodology? What is it about the firm?
Is it the consultant? If so, what were the qualities of the consultant that causes them to be brought back time and time again? Is it their integrity? It is their work ethic? Is it the “relationship factor”? Is it their intelligence? Is it their “knowing” attitude that borders on arrogance, or is it their humility? Is it how they handle the political environment? What is it about the consultant?
So what works for you? What is your formula for success? Are you willing to share it with others? What creates customer loyalty, and what destroys it?