7 Proven Ways to Build Customer Loyalty
Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Picture this: You’re at the supermarket, looking for what pasta to buy, and you’re faced with a wall of different brands and packagings. What happens next is a story too known to be told. You start comparing the colors, sizes, prices and even gluten-index of every box -and waste 10 minutes before you leave with a package of rice.
Now, imagine another scenario: You already ate a specific pasta in the past, which you absolutely loved. When you arrive at the supermarket, you don’t think twice and go straight to the shelf and pick it up. This happened because you became loyal to this brand. And this is exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your own customers.
In simple terms, customer loyalty can be defined by the long-term preference of buying your product or service over other choices, based on a previously positive experience. At a deeper level, this positive experience can be built on fulfilled expectations, exceptional customer support, emotional satisfaction and overall value - or some mix of these various factors.
The value of customer loyalty for a business is huge, as it’s way less expensive to sell to an existing client rather than to convert a new one. Walt Disney used to illustrate the power of customer loyalty in one sentence:
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends."
With so many competitive brands out there, customers are faced with an abundance of options and information at their fingertips. Chances are, they are less likely to stick with one brand - this is why loyalty is so challenging these days. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the most effective ways to build customer loyalty, and turn your clients into your most outspoken ambassadors:
Personalize your customer service
An Accenture study found that 81% of consumers want brands to understand them better. It may seem obvious to you, but adding a customer’s first name to an email can be that one simple step to create a human connection with those that use your product or service. To strengthen this idea, here are some additional ways to personally capture your audience:
Educational recommendations: One of the greatest and most effective features of Netflix is its content recommendation algorithm. Not only does it leave you constantly wanting more, it also provides a curated list based on what you previously watched to help you choose your next movie. The same goes for your customers: You should always be one step ahead to impress them. So, be proactive and provide them (through targeted emails, social media and more) with educational recommendations based on their own preferences and needs - such as knowledge base articles and other how-to guides - in order to enhance their experience.
Interactive support: For instance, if your business has an online store, you may want to consider adding a live chat to your website in order to answer any burning questions from buyers before checkout. Part of loyalty is exceeding customer expectations and providing immediate support - you’ll be helping users out with their problems before they snowball into larger issues.
Show your real face: Just like a face-to-face interaction at work, you’ll want to show who you are when supporting your customers. In your help desk software, you’ll be able to upload an image avatar when communicating with your clients. The same goes for your social media accounts or blog avatar. While there is an abundance of interesting (to say the least) stock images, using an actual image of yourself will strengthen the human feel of the conversation.
Pro tip: Want to take it to the next step? Keep your clients on their feet by applying the secrets of storytelling to your customer interactions.
Measure, analyze, optimize, and repeat
If you’re serious about growth, you need to listen closely to the other (and major) half of your business: your clients. Customer feedback not only provides valuable insights into what works well and what needs improvement, but the simple act of asking for your clients’ opinion exhibits your willingness for change.
Measure: A good start is to review your companies customer service KPI’s (key performance indicators) to evaluate your support efforts. These important ingredients can be collected through organized surveys or questionnaires. One common way of measuring your customer satisfaction KPI is by sending a survey scaled 1 to 10 such as: “How likely would you recommend this brand to a friend?” or “How satisfied are you with the service we provide?” Another successful method is to send a short survey after a customer has finished a ticket or call.
Analyze: After you’ve received a nice sample size of surveys, it’s important to take time to organize and understand the data. Common trends can start from small actional items to drastic changes in your entire company workflow.
Optimize: While many companies do send surveys, most do not follow-up with respondents. If the data tells the truth, let your customers know by improving your retention strategies, for example. It’s crucial for companies to collect feedback from their customers, but even more so, gather and implement product changes based on it.