There is a really good lessons to be learned here about customer loyalty.

This is the story of Coventry Football Club

Whilst I appreciate that football stories won’t fit with everyone, it’s a good business customer service lesson.

Eventually after 503 days, Coventry City Football Club finally returned home to the Ricoh Arena last weekend to a stadium packed with 28,000 hugely exited football fans, which is a massive difference to the position they found themselves this time last year whilst exiled to play at nearby Northampton.

For those who don’t know, the board of directors of Coventry Football club had a falling out with the owners of the Ricoh stadium and the team were forced to play their games in Northampton.

12 months ago, (whilst playing at the Northampton ground) the average attendance for a Coventry game was around 1000 people (with an extra 3000 watching on a bank that overlooked the Northampton grounds, as they refused to pay!) – which was around 8000 fans down from the average attendance when the club were playing at the Ricoh stadium.

There’s a 28,000 strong lesson to be learned here.

As business owners, you see there’s nothing more loyal than a customer who’s a football fan. If you think about it – they stand in the pouring rain, the driving wind, they pack on to coaches at stupid o’clock in order to get to away games – they’re loyal, yes, but even the most dedicated customer will put away their wallet and walk away if they’re not being looked after.

And that’s exactly what happened to Coventry Football club.

When they packed up and moved to Northampton, the directors assumed that the attendance at the games would remain the same, that the fans would remain just as loyal. However, the fans bit back, dug their heels in and stopped coming to games (and spending – more importantly). Eventually, the bosses hands were forced to save their club, make the deal and head on home back to the Ricoh arena.

There will be lots of your customers who are your biggest fans, your biggest advocates, but when was the last time that you made them feel appreciated? Reminded them how special they are to you and how much you value them?

It’s really very simple – a post card, a little gift, a gesture, a visit to ask how they are doing – simple little things.

I know it’s hard, and I also know that you’re not like Coventry City, but my point is that there will be many opportunities for you to go the extra mile and do something extra that only requires thought but will make a huge difference to one or two or three customers.

I’ve got my guys spotting those opportunities. Hope you have too.

Oh by the way, the loyal fans were rewarded by a magnificent 1-0 win!

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