How To Win At Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty isn’t about a lifetime. It’s about the next time – every time! #custserv
— Shep Hyken (@Hyken) December 15, 2012
When I first read Shep’s tweet it reminded me of how hard customer loyalty is. Customers are fickle, have lots of options and easy access to information which often leads straight to a competitor.
But what really hit home was that in a single tweet, he also gave business owners one of the keys to building customer loyalty.
But figuring out how to drive customer loyalty means first understanding what loyalty is and what it is not.
Is loyalty a behavior or emotion? Behaviors can lead to false positives, and love may not lead to sales. Repeat purchases are certainly behavior that is desirable but just because someone is a repeat buyer does not mean they’re loyal. It may be a matter of convenience or lack of options.
If forced to pick a word that sums up what makes customer loyalty work, it’s “experience.” And I would define loyalty as the combination psychological, emotional and analytical factors through which your customers relate a positive experience to your business, and act accordingly.
How To Build Customer Loyalty
Loyalty creates a bond that takes time to build. It requires consistency, dedication and understanding of your customer. That bond can also be broken by a single negative experience. As Shep said
It’s not just lifetime, it’s every time.
How you view your customers will also impact your ability to build loyalty. Data is important for decision-making, but customers don’t become loyal to provide lifetime value (LTV) to your business. LTV is a good metric to know, but if you’re only looking at your customer through the data-lens you may miss out on the opportunity to keep them as a lifetime customer.
Experience isn’t just the latest business buzz word.
It’s why I go to Starbucks almost every morning and have the coffee bill to prove it.
It’s why people stand in line when a new Apple device comes out.
It’s why Lady Gaga has such enormous popularity, so think like a rock star, build a fan centric business and you will find loyalty.
In building loyalty, it’s also important to take a sincere interest in your customers by giving them a voice. If you take time to listen your customers they will tell you what makes them happy, and that engagement with you becomes a part of the experience reinforcing the very loyalty you are trying to gain.
It’s also important to set expectations and provide an experience consistent with those expectations. Consistency in expectations sends a subtle but powerful message that you are reliable.
If you have a good product, create a consistent, positive experience and connect with your customers you can win at the loyalty game.
At o2o, we spend a lot of time thinking about customer loyalty because we provide products which span the entire purchase funnel and strive to solve some of the hardest challenges within it. More importantly we’re guided by the core belief that, as a purveyor of business software, we’re only relevant to the business we serve if we’re relevant to their customers.
The further down the funnel we go, the harder things get, and the more valuable each customer becomes. Loyalty, however challenging, is a worthwhile endeavor. And with the right loyalty tools and processes you can free more of your time to focus on your customers.