Apple, Nike, Polo – these brands have accumulated customers so loyal they’ll actually pay them to advertise their brand. Fan-sumers buy t-shirts with logos on them, follow them all over social media, and even put “free” stickers with that same logo onto their cars, laptops, skateboards, and more. So, how do you harness that energy and apply it to your brand?
4 tips on improving brand loyalty
Customer loyalty starts with a great product – that much should be obvious. But beyond that, it’s all about your relationship with your customers. How you treat them has a direct impact on their loyalty, especially when things go wrong. Here’s how to keep them on your team.
1. Knock their socks off. A 2011 survey conducted by American Express reported that 59% of Americans would discontinue doing business with a company in exchange for one offering a superior customer service experience – that’s just the stats. Considering the ease of access your customers have to your competition via the web, if you don’t dazzle them with service beyond the product, you’re probably not going earn their fandom. So, take exceptionally good care of your customers – make sure they know you’re on their side.
2. Keep your finger on the pulse. The Universe is a dynamic place, what drives and attracts your customer base is destine to change. Encourage customer feedback, respond to it, and let your customer base know you hear them. Just like any other relationship, when your customers recognize your listening talents, they’re going to know you care, and that translates directly into loyalty.
3. Be generous. Lagniappe is a Louisiana French expression meaning a little something extra. Whether it’s via liberal return policies, or promotional campaigns, when businesses overextend themselves to their customers, it makes them feel valued and loyal. We encourage our clients to send branded cakes to new and repeat customers as a token of appreciation and to keep their product top of mind. Birthday, holiday, and ‘thank you’ gifts are a welcome surprise that shows you view your customers as more than just dollar signs.
4. Deploy loyalty programs. In most cases your customers have other options. If all things are equal, offering a reward to repeat customers not only gives them an immediate reason to choose your product, it’s also a great way to show your gratitude for their patronage. Once again, this is the perfect opportunity to set your business apart – a number of our clients use our Cake of the Month Club to send their loyal customers an appreciation gift on a recurring schedule.
Remember the golden rule
Don’t forget: you’re a consumer too. That means you know how you like to be treated when you make a purchase. Therefore, if you’re not handling your customer relations in a way that would garner your own loyalty, it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to earn your customers’.
The bottom line is you have to love your customers as much as your product to stay competitive. You can’t expect them to shower you with praise on their social channels or tell all their friends about you if they don’t feel you’re any different from the next guy with the same product. So remember to think like a consumer and treat your customers just as well as if it was you in their shoes.