Customer loyalty is and always has been an abstract term.
As someone who runs marketing at a startup focused on helping businesses build first-class loyalty programs, I know that those interpersonal relationships you establish can often be the key differentiator between success and failure. With that in mind, here are five strategies to create and sustain extreme loyalty with your customers.
Offer Your Customers Value
While this may not be a novel strategy, it simply must be included in every list about loyalty. No exceptions.
If you do not offer concise and consistent value to your customers, they will never be loyal to you. It’s as simple as that. The value could be product and service related, or it could be just a great feeling customers receive when interacting with your brand. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't immediately explain in one sentence what unique value your business offers its customers, don't bother getting out of bed in the morning.
Use The Element Of Surprise
Let's set aside the economies of scale for just one minute.
This week, try getting intimate with 20 of your customers. Learn about their routine at your business and find out about all the small ways you can make their experience a little bit more delightful. Armed with this knowledge, all that's left to do is systematically over-deliver on what your customers expect, adding an exciting element of surprise to their experiences. Going the extra mile will resonate with your customers, proving that the personal investment they’ve made in your business gets acknowledged--and rewarded!
Be Personal In Scale
Now that you know how to get intimate with customers, let's try to scale it up. Which points of interaction do you have with them that could be made more personal, more human?
Remember that while you offer products or services to a multitude of people, your customers are having unique, individual experiences and will judge you by it. "It's OK that this business didn't treat me like a real person. It has a lot of other customers to serve," said no customer ever.
What if you and your staff came in an hour early and wrote a thousand handwritten thank-you notes to your customers? That’s a tangible solution that could have long-lasting effects on your loyal customer base.
You know what's better than getting a good offer? Getting the right offer at the right time.
There are many ways in which you communicate with your customers: in person, through email, online, on mobile. Are you keeping track of who's getting which offer? Do you know what you are doing right when an offer is redeemed or doing wrong when it is ignored?
Use simple data to clump your customers into groups, and make sure you're tailoring your communication to each group according to what you've learned about their preferences. Groups can be based on timing (e.g. lunch crowd vs. dinner crowd), shopping habits, demographics—practically any grouping that gives you ways you can diversify and tweak your messaging. Remember: you're looking for impact, not eyeballs.
Go Mobile Already
Stop resisting the transition to mobile. Find a way to live on your customers' phones. They might download your app if it makes sense—it usually doesn't—or they'll get to see you on aggregator or UGC apps.
As long as you exist where they're looking, you'll be in good shape. Now start working on improving your mobile content. Are you making sure your customers always choose you? Are you making it easy for them to stumble upon you when it counts? Use your mobile presence to remind your customers of who you are and what made them like you in the first place.
Executing on these five strategies will put you on the fast track to cultivating a loyalty infrastructure that’s built to last. Instead of turning your head to the latest and greatest, keep your focus on marketing solutions that are proven to be effective. Never doubt the efficacy of interpersonal relationships; keep that top of mind, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can grow your loyal customer base.