Producers say customers are their number one priority.

They state their customers love them.

Producers assert that the ready-mix business in general is down, and that is the reason their own business is down.

It's time for a reality check.

CEOs are famous for giving lip service to customer service. Statistics bear out that typically few resources, whether human or financial, are invested in improving the customer experience.

After a glowing phone call, it is easy to make a sweeping statement that your customers love you. However, can you really apply that sentiment to your entire customer base? When was the last time you did a customer experience survey to find out what your customers really thought?

Most producers operate from assumptions. Unless you are managing your customer's experience based on customer experience feedback, you are missing reality. The purpose of customer feedback is to identify challenges that can be resolved and you will find out if they really do “love” you.

Business has been down now for several years, yet there are still profitable and growing producers. How can that be? How is it that some producers can maintain a higher load charge than their competitors and thrive in these trying times?

Could the answer be “loyalty?”

Loyalty is different than satisfaction. A customer can be perfectly satisfied with his fast food experience, yet there is no certainty he will return.

Loyalty is emotional. It is built from relationships. The question of the century is “Why would your customers be loyal to you?” Can you bridge the gap from transaction to interaction? Do you deliver the expected concrete experience or the desired experience? Is relationship building part of your culture or the exception in your culture? When was the last time you spent money to teach employees how to effectively interact with customers? When was the last time you thought about your new hire in terms of their relationship building capability? When was the last time you held employees accountable in some meaningful way for how they interacted with your customers?

Loyalty is not an accident. Customers will be loyal to you when you are loyal to them.

Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the Ready-Mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582, or e-mail joan@joanfox.com.