Customer and Brand Loyalty: 8 Ways to Create a Winning Combination
8 proven methods for creating a seamless relationship between your customer and brand loyalty, to help you convert your customers into life-long brand advocates.
If there's one thing we all know about customers, it's that they love a brand that extends generous discounts and offers (customer loyalty). However, that isn't all that a customer cares about when it comes to their their long-term commitment to a brand (brand loyalty). While customer loyalty is crucial in building the foundation for brand loyalty, an increase in customer loyalty does not always mean an equal increase in brand loyalty.
But, does that mean you need to have two distinct marketing approaches for both customer and brand loyalty. Well, not really!
In this article, we'll reveal 8 proven methods for creating a seamless relationship between your customer and brand loyalty efforts to help you convert your customers into life-long brand advocates.
8 proven methods to improve both customer and brand loyalty:
#1 Last mile personalisation
In today's digital age, almost every business is fighting the "pricing pressures" with their competitors disrupting the market with heavy discounts. A simple customer loyalty approach of "running offers" is not as convincing to a customer anymore, only because there's always a competitor giving them that and more.
So, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition while running a customer loyalty program?
It is through personalising your customer's experience with your brand.
An Epsilon research indicated that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences
Personalisation, simply put, is when a brand tailors each interaction with an individual customer's needs and interests according to their interests and needs. With personalisation, brands can focus on unique ways to target each customer, instead of a generalised solution based on data for a 'buyer group or segment'.
Earlier, personalisation was most a promotional activity, where business's would offer targeted offers, incentives etc., but customers today care about how personalised their end to end experience with a brand is. This means, for a customer to relate to, or connect to a brand overall, requires an attention to how personalised their entire experience with a brand is. Customers highly value a business that is paying attention to them and is making an effort to provide them with relevant and valuable information. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and ultimately increased brand loyalty.
Personalisation is not a one-time activity, instead it needs to be in coordination with the entire ecosystem of your business. This will ensure that there are multiple active and personalised touch points for a customer to stay connected to your business. If you are beginning to focus on personalising your customer's experience, a good way to start would be to simply include sending personalised email campaigns, text messages, or direct mail pieces that are tailored to the customer's purchase history, interests, or preferences.
#2 Run a solid loyalty program
Running an effective loyalty program is a great way to incentivise customers for doing business with you or are a part of your community. This can be done via a rewards which could include offering various benefits like discounts, free products or services, or exclusive perks.
Loyalty programs have time and again proved that a long-term relationship with a customer does not end at their transaction with the business. If done right, a loyalty program can help your customers feel a sense of exclusivity, regard and appreciation— in turn, ensuring that they stay ever-loyal to you.
If you are planning to launch a loyalty program you must learn to think from your customer's perspective and:
- Extend rewards/ incentives that they care for
- Keep the process and the rules of participation and redemption simple
- Keep re-iterating on the basis of data
#3 Build a community, not a customer base
Having a large user base of customers means almost nothing if they don't come back to you again and again. However, fostering your relationship with your customers could change the narrative completely. After all, the only thing that makes a customer commit to a brand is if they feel a sense of belonging.
Building a community of your customers does exactly that. Leveraging the power of connections, likes and similarities- you could help your customers identify with each other and therefore, your brand. Emotional psychology plays a huge part in a customer's decision to ignore your competition and stick to you - and you can influence that by adding them to a valued community that they resonate with.
Here are a few simple ways to effectively implement community building:
- Host events, exclusive gatherings or workshops on the basis of their interests.
- Run contests and leaderboards etc.
- Build a community where your like-minded customers and you are most active- example, social media.
- Think of ways that a customer can collaborate with your brand.
- Create customer groups for product feedback.
#4 Great customer service should be your top priority
Let's be real, if you are trying to build a lasting relationship with your customers, giving them an exceptional experience across touch-points becomes highly important. And guess what? Customer service is right at the centre of great customer and brand loyalty.
Remember the last time you thought of making a purchase from a brand but their customer support was not helpful enough/ not accessible? Yeah, we're sure you moved on from your decision of making that purchase. News is, all customers react the same way to an underdelivering/ bad customer service of a brand.
Customer service includes ALL aspects of your interaction with a customer. Be it on whatsapp, a phone call, e-mail, social media or even a casual face-to-face chat — the experience you deliver to a customer must be beyond what they expected, to ensure that they remember your brand with positivity. You know you are doing it right if when you show them that they are your utmost priority. This will make a lot of difference in how they perceive your brand and influence their likelihood to stick with you.
Some bonus tips for excelling customer service:
- Be efficient with your solutions
- Ensure all touch-points know the brand and the products confidently
- Offer personalised support
- Ensure your FAQs and policies are easy to understand (also they should be easy to find on your platform)
- Follow up with your customers as often as you can (especially if they have a complaint)
- Promises made should be met
#5 Launch a referral program
Even if you are running a loyalty program, various lucrative offers and — the multi-faceted that a your referral program can give your brand are like no other.The idea behind referral programs is pretty straightforward: offer incentives to customers who refer your brand to people in their network. When a customer recommends your brand to someone, it only means that they trust you.
Referral programs increase the effectiveness of overall marketing efforts by a whooping 54%. (Jankowski)
Referral programs are a great way to measure and work on their commitment with the brand. Few of the many things that a referral program can tell you about your relationship with your customers include:
- Are customers happy with the quality of your product/ service?
- Do they trust you enough to bring their network onboard with you?
- Which customers of the brand can be identified as prospective brand advocates?
- Are they consistently attracted to your brand?
Referral programs also are a great way to further acquire new customers, in a cost-effective way!
#6 Align feedback with product innovation
Product innovation is a key aspect of creating a loyal customer base. It involves staying ahead of the curve by continuously improving and updating your products to meet the changing needs and preferences of your customers. The idea behind product innovation is to ensure that your products remain relevant and valuable to your customers, thereby encouraging them to continue using your brand.
For example, companies like Apple have become synonymous with product innovation, constantly releasing new and improved versions of their popular products like the iPhone and iPad. This keeps their customers interested and engaged with the brand, and also helps the company maintain its market dominance. Another example would be Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company that incorporates environmentally friendly materials and sustainable practices into its product design, resonating with customers who are passionate about environmental issues.
By incorporating product innovation into your brand strategy, you demonstrate to your customers that you are always working to improve their experience with your brand, which can help build a strong, loyal customer base.
#7 Be authentic and transparent
Everything we have discussed so far has emphasised on building trust and credibility with your customers, which is why, this is a close obvious.
Customers interact with various brands on a daily basis. However, the brands that leave a mark in a customer's memory are those which stay true to their values, promises and their fundamental principles. When a brand is authentic in every aspect of its operations, customers form a deep connection with it.
Authenticity is key if you want your customers to perceive your brand as trustworthy, genuine and credible. This results in consistently high retention and a long-term relationship with your customers.
If your brand practices openness and honesty about the overall operations, values and most importantly, the mission- you will definitely establish a positive brand image for your customers. For example, if a brand consistently provides detailed information about their production process, ethical standards etc., its customers feel a lot more confident about what they are getting into.
Greater trust= greater loyalty!
#8 Customers are special, appreciate them!
Sometimes, small gestures go a long way. Keep giving your customers reasons to feel good about their association with you. Even simple gestures like writing a 'thank you note' or wishing them on their birthdays might just make a customer's day. In turn, you build a relationship that is beyond just communicating updates.
Appreciating customers also let's them know that you're thinking of them. It makes them feel like an important part of the brand's journey and let's them know that they are your priority.
We are sure that with these 8 powerful tactics, your brand will be equipped to create an effective strategy for building brand advocacy.