Without customer loyalty, you’re not making the most of your business, but the pandemic and its attendant wave of restrictions put customer loyalty to the ultimate test. The most telling point is that consumer spending hit an unparalleled global low during the height of the pandemic, and this fact left businesses hanging on word-of-mouth recommendations and on those loyal customers who kept coming back for more – the gold standard when times are tough. As uncertainty about COVID-19, business capacity restrictions, and consumer behavior continue to loom, there are some confidence-boosting tactics you can employ to help ensure that you’re building brand loyalty and keeping customer satisfaction high – now and into the post-restriction future.
Around-the-Clock Holistic Customer Service
Customer service is not just about solving your customer’s problems as they arise (kind of like putting out fires). In fact, Omni channel customer service is customer service that fires on all cylinders. For example, if a potential customer is poking around on your website looking for answers to several questions (in an attempt to see if you’re a good fit for her needs) and is intrigued enough to come back later with a couple of questions for a support representative, it allows you to meet her where she’s at – up to speed with her interests as they relate to your business. In other words, your customer service department is no longer a static enterprise but is instead integral to the business of generating business.
With this holistic approach, you link all the following:
- Customer service
And instead of looking at each to fill its traditional role, it’s time to start looking at all of them in terms of what they can do for one another. For example, by allowing your customer service rep to send that earlier potential customer a sample product, you dovetail every facet of your operation, and you’re far more likely to gain both customers and customer loyalty.
Customers Love Loyalty Programs
If you’re not employing a customer loyalty or rewards program, you’re not maximizing your customer loyalty efforts. Whatever your business offers and whatever it is you do, carve out a customer loyalty niche and get to work with a hook. A prime example of a wildly successful loyalty program that keeps customers coming back for more is Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. Customers are known to hoard their Beauty Insider Points – waiting to grab the best freebie of all. Sephora offers mini versions of popular products along with larger branded gifts (none of which can be purchased) to insiders with the requisite number of points (all you have to do is sign up and earn points for every dollar you spend). It’s a simple concept, but it consistently ranks as one of the top business reward programs – right up there with Starbucks. All you need to know is that customers love these programs, which makes sinking some time, effort, and cash into one well worth the effort.
Stay in Touch
To build customer loyalty, you need to engage with your customers and potential customers – without being spammy. Engaging with your customers is all about reaching out in an authentic way, and ideas include:
- Getting busy on social media (where your customers live)
- Incorporating in-project messaging
- Offering online mini-courses (they don’t have to be super serious or intricate to be inviting)
- Generating a brand motif and keeping it flowing throughout your packaging
- Creating customer engagement conferences where you can woo them with your wit and charm in real-time
- Paying attention to all in-app customer feedback
- Maximizing your visual merchandising
You Don’t Say
You want your customers to love you, and you also want them to get the word out about their undying commitment. The bottom line is that referrals help your bottom line, and referral programs can be highly effective. Most consumers simply aren’t interested in selling anything to their friends and loved ones, but many are amenable to passing along a deal, and if that leads to a sale for you and a referral bonus for your customer, all the better. As your customer loyalty deepens, your ability to grow and develop a more sophisticated and far-reaching referral network improves dramatically. Customers who genuinely connect with what you offer are far more likely to generate valuable referrals that evolve into new customers with brand loyalty of their own.
Don’t be afraid to feature a customer or two in your content. It is one thing for your product or service to be showcased in a slick, curated environment, but it is quite another to see a normal guy or gal engaging with your products or services the same way you’re hoping your visitors are going to want to. When you shine a spotlight on your customers, you honor them, and this speaks volumes about your commitment to customer experience. There is also something to be said for the psychology of what is known as social proof, which boils down to – hey, if he’s doing it, maybe I should try it. Even encouraging customers to tag your products in posts about their personal experiences with them can generate the buzz and familiarity you’re going for.
Personalizing your online and in-store offerings is a value add that is difficult to beat. When Coke began featuring first names and family titles like mom, dad, and sister on its bottles, it made an impression, and they haven’t looked back (they continue to bring fresh batches out on a regular basis). What started in Australia became a global hit that continues to inspire childlike joy in customers, which is obviously paydirt. Play around with the idea of personalization, and don’t be shy – you may have a hit on your hands.
Our Digital Marketing Experts Are to Here to Help You through the Rough Times – and Beyond
The digital marketing gurus at The Web Guys understand that cultivating customer loyalty is your bread and butter, and we’re here for it. Don’t wait to reach out and contact us at (317) 805-4933 today to learn more about how we can help you maximize your efforts.