Improving and measuring customer loyalty is crucial for every business in gaining visibility and profit – allowing businesses to not only retain loyal customers for the long-term, but capitalize on this to attract new customers.
But when Covid-19 restrictions began, the importance of customer loyalty became even more apparent. Consumer spending was at an all-time low globally, meaning word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat purchases became crucial for many businesses. 66% of consumers would keep buying from their preferred brand, even if that company is competing against a “more innovative” business, showing how powerful consumer loyalty can be.
In this article, we’ll explore 6 tactics you can use to boost your brand’s customer experience and build brand advocates that last once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
1. Offer Quality Omnichannel Customer Service 24/7
Omnichannel customer service refers to collecting information and data about individual consumers across various engagement channels, while in their complete lifecycle.
2/3 of customers get irritated if they find themselves having to continuously repeat themselves to different support representatives; omnichannel customer service helps to reduce this common pain point.
To understand how omnichannel systems work, imagine that you’re a service provider and a customer visits your website, goes through some plans, but exits without making a purchase. After some time, the customer revisits your website and then asks for a call from a support representative. Your sales rep approves the request and responds. The sales rep is able to give the customer the details they need to make a decision, all because the sales agent is aware of the plans that the prospect viewed on their initial visit to the website.
That’s how powerful omnichannel models are. They keep you by the side of the customer at all stages and channels of the buyer journey.
Did you know? Consistent branding across all channels can boost revenue by 33%.
To employ an omnichannel model you must link customer service, sales, and marketing together. Unite all the customer touchpoints into one centralized system and allow your employees to make decisions based on the information obtained to give the best customer experience.
BarkShop, a pet toy store, unites their online brand experience with the real world via pop-up stores:
BarkShop allows its customers’ dogs to try out its products before purchase. Then the customers are given an in-app list of their pet’s favorite items.
This is a great way to build goodwill and showcase the product, ahead of the customer needing to make a purchasing decision. Tactics like this are likely to help build brand advocates: people who are loyal to your brand and tell their network about it.
2. Launch Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Incentivizing your target audience to make repeat purchases is a great way to build brand loyalty.
To create an effective and successful consumer loyalty program you have to offer an incentive that no competitor is offering. Take customer behavior, expectations, market trends, and business size into consideration when building a loyalty program.
Adidas provides an amazing take on this. The brand’s loyalty program for Asia termed ‘3Stripes.co’ gives loyalty members a voucher worth $10 for every $100 spent, alongside other benefits.
Depending on your business type, you can craft a loyalty program that provides users with points and rewards at certain touchpoints or milestones. For example, it could be the case that every time they browse your online store they earn points, or they could earn points for making an in-store purchase.
If you sell physical products online, perhaps you can offer free shipping as an incentive. Or if you offer services, you could provide clients with a $5 discount voucher for their next purchase.
To promote the loyalty scheme, you can take advantage of email campaigns. This will help keep your target audience informed about specific deals and attract new loyalty members.
Loyalty programs can be a great way to encourage your audience to make more purchasing decisions. For example, if a loyalty member has 27 points but needs 40 to receive special benefits, you could send them an email saying, “Keep going – You just need 13 more points to claim your reward!”
Hotel Tonight’s loyalty email executes this excellently. Not only does it motivate the customer to make a purchase, but it identifies what action the customer must take in order to get their reward.
3. Focus on Customer Engagement Initiatives
If a business engages with its customers to its fullest potential, consumers are more likely to create a long-term relationship with the company. Customers that are consistently engaged hold a 23% higher share in the brand relationship, profitability, and revenue growth.
This means that the possibility of such clients referring your business to their friends and family is pretty good.
Initiatives that foster customer engagement may include phone calls or sending emails simply to ask if they are facing any issues or are getting on okay with your product.
SEMrush sends customers emails asking why they haven’t clicked on their newsletter for some time. The email subject states: “Are we still friends? Please say that we are!”
This shows the customer that the business cares enough to check in on them and take the first step to re-engage them.
Beyond that, they’re using emotional words that help to create a connection.
There are also other customer engagement initiatives that you can employ:
- You can include in-project messaging to boost engagement rates with optimized content. Every project you run as a business gives you access to customer data that you can use to send each customer personalized messages that will mean a lot more to them on an individual basis.
- Take advantage of social networks to promote your content and engage with customers personally. Most of your customers are on social media so why not reach them there? You can achieve tremendous engagement on social media by running giveaways, contests, etc. Basically, keep your customers busy with your social media content.
- Print a motif on the inside of your packaging supplies to remind customers to talk about their experience with your brand. User-generated content is extremely powerful as customers can see what other customers think about your business and product.
- Employ co-browsing to interact and view your client’s browser in real-time. This helps your sales executives to aid customers in completing a transaction or filling out a form.
- Develop online courses using an online course platform that has a community component so that your customers can interact with each other. This approach can build a bond not just between your customers but with your brand.
- Create customer engagement conferences or summits to interact with your customers in person. This way you can get to really engage with your customers, find out their wants person-to-person, and build rapport.
- Take advantage of in-app customer feedback and data assessment to identify their wants. You can learn a lot about each customer via in-app data. And with this knowledge, you’ll be able to create experiences perfect for behavior and desires.
- Leverage visual merchandising in your store for a better customer experience. By offering top-notch visual merchandising, your customers can interact adequately with satisfaction before purchasing the product.
4. Run a Referral Program
People are more likely to buy a service or product if their family and friends recommend it. By building a program that rewards your current customers for all successful referrals you can attract new clients and retain the current ones.
Just like with loyalty programs, you have to offer a reward that customers will actually benefit from.
For example, if you are in the cosmetic business, a great reward would be to give a free sample of a product to anyone who sends successful referrals your way. Or, service-area businesses may want to provide discount vouchers.
By providing incentives like this you encourage your current customers to consistently purchase from you as well as increase your customer base by adding new people to your business. Keep in mind that great referral programs don’t just offer something to existing customers but to the person they referred, as well. If you offer incentives only to the person referring, the other party may be less motivated to take advantage of the relationship.
Riff Raff & Co, the baby sleeping toy brand, provides a great example of such referral programs. The company offers the advocate (in this case parents with toddlers that refer other parents) a free sleeping toy after they get five of their friends to make a purchase and offers anyone who purchases with the link of the advocate free shipping worldwide.
5. Use Customers in Your Content
Featuring customers in your content is a great way to let them know how much you appreciate them. You could repost customer content on your social media accounts. Another great idea is to create blog posts that highlight what the customer achieved using your product.
This offers two major benefits:
- It increases customer loyalty by pleasing your customers.
- It works with the psychology of social proof for your services or products. Social proof means that people want to take action based on what other people do.
SodaStream showcases an excellent example of this principle. The home carbonation product manufacturer brand shared a review of one of their clients and informed other customers to tag them on social media when they upload pics using their product for an opportunity to win a reward. This didn’t just provide them with social proof but also gave them a lot of user-generated content.
Think about it, 89% of consumers read online reviews about local businesses before making a purchase decision. This happens because they want to know what other consumers think about your business or product, so if you can feature testimonials, comments, tweets, and reviews, then you can be a part of that segment of the customer’s journey.
The goal in using customers in your content is to ensure that prospects who are doing their research on your business before purchasing see customers that align with their needs and wants. This will help to assist them in the decision-making process.
6. Boost Customer Personalization
Personalization is an amazing way to boost customer loyalty. 66% of consumers believe that companies must be able to understand their needs and expectations.
To ensure effective personalization you may want to encourage your customers to have user profiles on your website. This enables you to easily track their purchase history and browsing behavior to personalize the experience.
With customers creating user profiles on your website you also have the opportunity to send them personalized emails and craft campaigns that are relevant to each customer.
If your services are offered in more than one country then ensure that you take into consideration the customer’s preferences and terms of language and location. By doing this, you can ensure that each customer gets the appropriate type of content at the right time. The customer also won’t have to choose their location whenever they visit your website.
Albeit online-only businesses, YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix are great examples of businesses that take personalization seriously, and brick-and-mortar stores can learn from these tech giants, too.
YouTube launched recommendation filters as topic bubbles situated at the top of your feed. The topics are based on browsing behavior or the current channel that the user is watching.
With personalized recommendations, customers will probably want to revisit your website because it offers them exactly what they want before they even search for it, which again encourages consumer loyalty.
Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign emphasizes this principle, too.
The brand came up with a way to personalize their product by changing their bottle’s regular branding to 150 of the most common names in a country.
The results were tremendous. Every time a customer bought a bottle and saw their name on it, it created a personalized experience. This campaign resulted in over 250 million sales for Coca-Cola.
Create Your Customer Loyalty Strategy Now
Enhancing customer loyalty isn’t always simple, but after the impact of Covid-19, it’s more important than ever.
You may find that in our current circumstance, you have to give your customer loyalty strategy an extra push.
Hopefully, the six consumer loyalty tactics I’ve shared with you today should assist you in retaining your current customers and amplifying word-of-mouth marketing to pull in new ones.