Article

The Top Of The CSI Pyramid

February 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Mauricio Espinosa - Also by this author

So, you think you know customer retention? But, do you know you need much more than just satisfaction and loyalty to achieve retention? Welcome to the final part in a three-part series on the CSI Pyramid. In previous articles, I’ve illustrated that customer satisfaction is a beginning, not an end. I introduced you to the methodology of building on the bottom three tiers of the CSI pyramid—Satisfaction, Pleasant and Retention. Now, in part three, we take the pyramid to the top—Loyalty and Fidelity.

Most of your Hispanic-market customers may fall in the “Pleasant” level of the CSI Pyramid, but they’re looking for more. The Hispanic market is a significant driving force behind the CSI Pyramid. This market wants to be loyal. To be loyal is to be faithful to something or someone, whether it is to the government, a business, a spouse, a leader, etc.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Why would a customer be loyal to your business? Is it your product(s) or, perhaps, your people?

Loyal customers are nothing new; in fact, we see them all the time. Loyalty programs are in mass abundance. Everywhere you go there are rewards cards, point cards, frequent flyer programs and more. I have a card for the drug store, the shoe store, the grocery store and then some. How many do you have? Perhaps you have a similar program in place in your service and fixed operations departments for repair orders or accessories.

You have to have the previous building blocks of the CSI Pryamid – Satisfaction, Pleasant and Retention – in place before you arrive at the Loyalty tier of the pyramid.


After you’ve made sure that those three steps are working and running smoothly, ask yourself, “How do we motivate our customers to keep doing business with us?” The answer to that question was mentioned earlier – loyalty programs. We partake in customer loyalty programs because they seem appropriate, and businesses everywhere are using them. For example, I love my frequent flier miles. For 2008, I acquired platinum status once again. I was able to get tickets for my parents from Queretaro, Mexico, have taken great trips and still have miles to spare. So, am I loyal to the airline, their people and their service, or am I loyal to the miles? The miles! But, I’ll change the instant I get something better.

So, am I loyal? Not to the airline, only to the miles.  This type of loyalty is only an illusion.  To reach true loyalty we should take a lesson from the Hispanic market. Typically, Hispanics tend to be more loyal to their people because that is a large part of their culture. According to Wikipedia, “Loyalty evolved as devotion for one's family, gene-group and friends. Loyalty comes most naturally amongst small groups or tribes where the prospect of the whole casting out the individual seems like the ultimate, unthinkable rejection.”

You should be thinking of your community as the “small group or tribe” and your business as an individual in that group/tribe; you don’t want to be cast out of that group. The way to create devotion to your business comes from within. It is not just a training program. It should be the very philosophy of your business; the soul that your employees transmit to all visitors, clients, vendors and anyone else that comes to your business.

But we’re not done yet; there cannot be fidelity without loyalty. Once again, from Wikipedia: “Fidelity is a notion that at its most abstract level implies a truthful connection to a source or sources.”

Once you have mastered the stage of loyalty, you have to take a close look at your most important customer—your people. The road to fidelity is found through them. You want your customers to have a “truthful connection” with your employees, as to create fidelity.

There is a certain corporate chain restaurant with a few locations scattered about the Kansas City area, one of which is fairly close in proximity to the G20 headquarters. I think it’s fair to say that most of our staff frequents this restaurant for more than its proximity or food. In fact, I bet that it’s the people, their attitude and their devotion that lures our staff back there. I know their faces, I know their names, I know they’ll be there and I know they will take great care of me each time I visit. One person in particular is a server whose attitude is crystal clear when you listen closely to the wording in her statements. I have an example from my most recent visit. After putting in the orders from our group, she stopped by our table and stated, “Just so you all know, we are raising our prices soon”.

Did you catch it? It’s a sense of ownership. She said ‘we’ not ‘they’; she said ‘our’ versus ‘their’. There is a world of difference in that. Her sense of ownership allows us as customers to make a connection with her as a representative of the restaurant.

When all of your employees fully commit to what they do as their own business, really feel that your place of business is not just ‘work’, and make that connection between their personal possessions and the results of their everyday activities, efforts and challenges, fidelity takes over.

I’m afraid you can’t have just one employee or manager motivated in order to achieve this level—Fidelity. It takes a process and an everyday endeavor on your part. The process of gaining customer fidelity is absolutely worth the effort. To see, feel and enjoy the experience of this powerful philosophy is business at its best.

Once you’ve achieved success with the CSI Pyramid, you will see how it creates a stable growth chart in your business. What a great way to start 2008. I wish you merry and blessed holidays this season. Hasta la proxima.

Vol 4, Issue 12

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