There are many definitions for customer loyalty, but essentially it is an attitude customers have which sees them favour a brand or product over all others. It’s built up when customers have consistently positive experiences with the brand or product; this could be because of service, quality, convenience or even simply familiarity and comfort.
There are several reasons why achieving customer loyalty should be the goal of every business, but essentially it boils down to two things: loyal customers cost less, and spend more.
Why should you want loyal customers?
Loyal customers are more likely to be forgiving when your company makes mistakes; non-loyal customers will often use a mistake or negative experience as a reason not to return to your company in the future and instead shop elsewhere. Loyal customers are willing to work through the mistake, or forgive the mistake as an outlier.
Loyal customers are more likely than others to purchase products or services which they had not intended to, as well as try out new products or services, because they expect it to be of a certain standard. This brings in excellent cash flow to a business.
Customer endorsement is actually the strongest form of marketing, as people trust the recommendation of their peers over advertising and marketing methods. Customer endorsement is particularly important now that people have access to thousands of people via social media networks; one influencer can easily encourage hundreds of their followers to try a product or service at the tap of a button.
Loyal customers do not need expensive advertising campaigns, promotions or discounts to encourage purchasing. They are willing to pay higher prices, purchase additional products and spend more frequently, making the ROI extremely high and the cost to maintain loyal customers extremely low.
How can you achieve customer loyalty?
Achieving complete customer loyalty is difficult in the 21st century as consumers have access to multiple options, with information that allows them to seek out better deals or more suitable options.
That said, it is possible to do so; putting customer satisfaction at the forefront of any business strategy is the best way of increasing positive interactions and experiences which build customer loyalty.
Customer service is at the core of providing outstanding customer experiences which can ensure a customer wants to keep coming back. As well as ensuring customer service on the bottom level is of a high standard, customer care teams and processes need to be in place so that if anything goes wrong, any issues can be swiftly solved. Training your employees to a high level should help to prevent customer dissatisfaction.
Different customers like to shop and engage with brands in different ways; this needs to be reflected by using multiple channels and platforms to suit individual needs. It is not enough for these channels to coexist; instead they need to work simultaneously, so that transactions and interactions can be left off and picked up at the same place across different platforms.
Reward programmes, particularly those which are personalised using customer data, incentivises customers to engage with a brand, whether that engagement is a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or liking a social media page. By encouraging customers to engage in behaviours and then rewarding them for this, you provide positive emotional experiences.
Customers have individual needs whose requirements may not be met by rigid policies. By allowing employees to be flexible with solutions they can offer, customers feel they are getting the best possible care and are personally cared for by your brand.
The best customer service comes when it is proactive; instead of waiting for a problem to fix, giving customers what they want before they ask for it. Get feedback to find out common questions customers have, then create content and information which answers these.