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Harley Hoopla: Building Customer Loyalty

July 24, 2013

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At the end of August, more than 300,000 Harley-Davidson® motorcycle owners from all over the world will descend on Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are coming together to celebrate the company’s 110th anniversary. So why all the hoopla? What has Harley done to build this immense base of loyal customers? Let’s take a look at five Harley strategies that you can apply to your business to build customer loyalty:Sell an ExperienceVisit the Harley-Davidson® website and you’ll see “Experience” as one of the buttons. Offer value to your customers that goes beyond the purchase. Provide resources to help your customers get the most out of your products or services. Harley® offers ride planners, educational materials, customer support, riding classes, tip sheets, and organized tours.Create An Emotional Connection with Your CustomersFocus on building relationships based on emotional connections with your customers. Find out how they “feel” about doing business with your company. Do they feel reassured, confident or inspired? Do they feel that it’s easy or difficult to access service? Successful businesses are sensitive to customer wants and needs. See yourself through your customers’ eyes and remember they need more from you than just basic service.Give Your Customers A Sense Of BelongingWhen you buy a Harley, you become a member of a family. Harley-Davidson® established the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) in 1983 in response to a desire by Harley riders for an organized way to share their passion and show their pride. Today, there are more than 750,000 members of H.O.G., and it’s continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Any organization can create a family atmosphere for its customers.Send Your Employees To The CustomersEmployees at Harley-Davidson® are encouraged to get to know the customers by working at a rally or riding in demo ride. This brings them closer to the customer and helps them to relate to customer needs. Most of the employees become Harley owners or riders. Your sales representatives can periodically invite “inside” employees from other departments to join them on client visits. This makes both the employees and the clients feel very special and helps to create strong relationships at all levels of the organization.Bring Your Customers Inside Your OrganizationOffer tours of your company. If you don’t have a physical location your customers can visit, you may want to give them a virtual tour of the company via a website. Include photos of your customer service team and customers using your products. Keep the site up-to-date with the latest news releases about the company. Invite key customers to your annual meeting and ask them to talk about the good and bad aspects of doing business with the company during the past year. Employees will find this more interesting than listening to someone from marketing say, “Here are the customer satisfaction survey results.”

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