Once You Have Customer Loyalty, What Do You Do With It?
By Tricina Elliker
It used to be that all you needed was an ad campaign to build a strong customer base. Not anymore. These days, building customer loyalty is complex enough to inspire a glut of information on earning customer loyalty. The long and short of it is that repeat customers cost less, they buy more, and frequently these same loyal customers become brand advocates who take it upon themselves to tell others about your brand — All just because they appreciate what you do.
Each of these are worthwhile reasons to invest in customer loyalty. But that’s not all customer loyalty can do for you. What happens once you’ve managed to earn that loyalty ?
Let your loyal customers lead the way
The truth is that customers want long term relationships with their favorite brands. If they can find brands they truly trust to produce valuable products and provide a good buying experience, that’s one less thing to worry about. They can move on with their lives and concentrate on the important parts of life.
And though they’re often treated as fickle, customers will forgive a lot — They just won’t forgive everything. Brands that openly display a lack of interest in their customer’s experience will have a hard time finding and keeping loyal customers. So every time you engage your customers, you need to be considering what you’re asking of them and how they’re experiencing the interaction from the introduction of a purchase to the support you offer for the life of that purchase.
Every point of interaction is an opportunity for you to delight and help them, even after you’ve got their money. Too many brands see their relationship with customers as a one-way sales relationship, when consumers see their relationship with brands differently — Consumers want brands to care about what happens after the sale, to continue to take customer feedback seriously and consider the customer’s experience.
As it turns out, that’s both how to gain and build on customer loyalty. Once you’ve shown your customers they should trust you, then your product can really begin to flourish.
Customer loyalty is just the beginning
To gain customer trust is the most valuable reward you can earn as a brand. But what do you do with that loyalty once you have it? If you’re most companies, the answer is: Fail to make the most of it. Many brands neglect to consider all the ways they can work with their customers to create better products, services, and processes once they’ve already developed a relationship.
Once you’ve earned your customers’ trust, you have the opportunity to build on it and offer your customers ways to get more out of your products and services.
Take the car insurance industry. New tech is allowing us to turn our phones into instant documentation tools. When we get into a car accident, many of us already immediately reach for our phones to document it. What if these customers already trusted their insurance brand when they got in the accident? What if they knew their brand would be responsible with whatever information they shared? How would that affect the way they engaged with your company?
Customers who’ve become loyal from past positive experiences will eagerly do the work to take photos or video of an accident to speed up processing their claim, and they’ll happily allow you to check their location if it makes it easier or faster to get a tow truck out to them.
Note, car insurance brands who started offering discounts to safe drivers willing to put a speed-and-brake tracking device in their car to prove it, have found customers indeed will hand over access to their driving data. The more you prove your trustworthiness, the more data and other forms of useful feedback your customers will feel comfortable giving you, enabling better product development in the future.
Furthermore, trust goes both ways. What if your support teams could offer a live video interaction where the customer plays a part in their resolution process simply by pointing at where a sound is coming from on their vacuum or coffee machine? Thinking ahead how to meet your customer’s needs is exactly the type of service they invested in for the long term. Remember customers are loyal to a brand over time because they found the product has worked sufficiently enough for them in the past and because the company has placed effort into establishing channels of support that are reliable and speed up the process of solving their customer issues.
If you are keeping up with your customer reviews, you will find a gold mine of direct honest feedback from your customers and learn that customers are willing to stick to your product until you stop listening to them.
For a quicker solution, your customers are very willing to open up their lives to trust in their favorite brand. If you’ve done the work to develop a loyal customer base, you can use that loyalty to deepen that relationship by working with your customers to delight them in unexpected ways.
And as your customers open up to you, you can build on that trust to give them even better experiences, nurturing your relationship with current brand loyalists and showing potential customers just how deeply you’re thinking about their needs.
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