Brand Loyalty and How to Win Over Customers
It’s all about creating deeper connections and making your customers feel special.
Customers are always looking for the next ‘new’ thing and the pandemic had a part to play in accelerating their need to discover new things. Supply chain disruptions forced consumers to look for alternative brands when their favourites became scarce. Or, they simply switched to more convenient options available to them. Amidst inflation, consumers have also switched to brands they deem to offer more value for money.
There are many factors that affect brand loyalty but gaining and nurturing a loyal customer base is possible with the right approach. The benefits are just too good to pass up — when a customer is loyal to a brand, 86% will recommend it to their family and friends, 66% are likely to leave a positive online review, and 46% will continue to be loyal even after a bad experience (source).
Winning over customers requires more than just a conventional loyalty stamp card. Here are some strategies to help you enhance your brand loyalty initiatives.
Connect on an emotional level
Customers prefer to have an emotional relationship with brands. It should not just be a transactional connection. And when brands connect with customers on an emotional level, it encourages the consumer to look beyond the rational, such as price and quality, and focus instead on how it makes them feel — happy and excited. Nurturing this deeper relationship can also help improve consumer retention.
The concept is the same as when you walk into a cafe and the barista remembers your regular order or food allergy and calls you by name. Perhaps, they have a cheat sheet behind the counter (or a fantastic customer relationship management) but the pleasant experience is enough to keep you coming back to this cafe.
The key lies in looking at the purchasing experience as a whole and not just at the point of sale. It begins from pre-purchase or the moment the customer comes into contact with the brand or product or when they step into the store and extends all the way to post-purchase incentives to keep customers engaged.
Offer personalised experiences
Customers want to feel special, so they gravitate towards brands that give them personalised experiences based on their purchasing history and preferences, which include both their likes and dislikes. Consumer data comes into play here and when done right, it can improve brand loyalty.
For example, have you ever received an email, ‘Still browsing for mystery novels? Here are a few more we think you might like.’ With personalised and helpful suggestions, brands can help consumers cut through the noise and zero in on their ideal purchase. Brands can further enhance this by offering curated incentives such as tiered rewards and unique promotions based on consumer preferences. From a company standpoint, personalised rewards can also be more cost-effective as it eliminates unnecessary freebies and giveaways.
Build your community
Times may have changed but nothing beats good, old, word-of-mouth marketing. Having a strong community of fans can be your strongest artillery as they are your brand’s biggest advocates and can help you in numerous ways.
For example, product sampling involving your brand’s biggest fans is an effective way to get customer feedback or break into new markets. Online, customers are more likely to leave honest reviews, share user-generated content, and if they are active on community forums, can help take a load off your customer service agents with peer-to-peer support. After all, potential customers would rather hear it from actual users who have tried and tested the product for themselves.
To engage with your community, find out which platforms they frequent and how they disseminate information, be it through online groups or posts, social networking apps, forums, etc. Have a few community managers who can help keep the conversation flowing with relevant topics — and don’t forget to incentivise your biggest fans with personalised campaigns, freebies or promotions!
Establish an omnichannel presence
Customers appreciate brands that have multiple touchpoints available to them. For example, they may purchase a product online and have the option to return or exchange it at a brick-and-mortar store. They may also have a consultation with an in-store advisor then purchase the product online and have it delivered to their doorstep. Some brands even allow customers to pre-order via their mobile app for pick-up at their chosen stores adding an additional layer of convenience.
The key is to create one unified, seamless experience for the consumer where they feel like they are interacting with the brand as a single entity. This also applies to having presence across different platforms such as online live chats, phone, messaging, web forms or social media. This is especially useful for customer service where the customers don’t have to repeat themselves by explaining what the issue is or feel that they are being passed on from one department to another. Ultimately, consumers will go for a channel they believe will give them the fastest response and provide the best resolution.
Customers come first
Having good customer service is tied to customer loyalty and it adds a lot of weight as to how the customer perceives the brand. The more positive their relationship is with the brand, the more likely they will stay loyal.
In a 2020 study conducted by customer service software company, Zendesk, about half of respondents polled across the globe indicated that they would switch to a competitor brand after just one bad experience — so keep your customers happy!