There is no simple answer for what keeps customers coming back to a brand, but there are strategies and solutions businesses can use to create customer experiences that have a proven impact on loyalty. We are increasingly seeing the wave of customers expecting their experiences to be seamless across all channels, touchpoints and interactions to be bigger and bigger. In fact, according to a recent Accenture study, 89% of consumer use three or more digital channels when prospecting a company, and 65% find it frustrating when they are presented with inconsistent offers, experiences or treatment through different channels.
As a result, businesses need to have the building blocks in place to provide a consistent, seamless and personalized customer experiences that create, shape and strengthen customer loyalty. In our experience, we’ve seen these three strategies lead to customer loyalty success:
1. Give Your Customers What They Want
Brand loyalty begins with creating content that’s important to your customers. Companies need to listen to customer responses, whether its data collected through analytics or feedback on social media. Customers want what they want, not what businesses want them to want.
Dave Evans, VP of social strategy at Lithium, uses a great example of how Starbucks truly listens to its customers in an article from earlier this year where he explains, “The volunteer program, refillable cold cups, and even the menu items themselves have all been driven by the My Starbucks Idea. In the first two years following launch, Starbucks received about 80,000 customer ideas. It sent out notes to participants and Starbucks card holders when they’d implemented the 100th idea. Do the math: 100 ideas in just over two years is about one new, customer-driven idea showing up at retail every week.”
Including customers in the company’s business decision-making process is an excellent way to prove that the brand cares about customer input, and at the same time makes customers feel like they have a voice. This strategy provides customers with what they want from a brand and is a great way for the business to develop a trusting relationship to build customer loyalty.
2. Be Multi-Channel – Everywhere!
In a recent Mashable article, Mark Walker, senior VP of Disney Interactive Entertainment explains “our strategy is unique to each platform, but we think of it as one network that can work together to create a connected experience.” Walker also stated, “we develop content with the audience in mind first. We’re creating the ‘always on’ experience that allows fans to engage with Disney wherever they are.”
This applies to any company. Experiences can’t be copied and pasted from one channel or touchpoint to the next; it needs to be personalized and kept consistent across web, phone, mobile app, email, etc. Using a multi-channel strategy provides a seamless customer experience, so that a customer could start a conversation with a company via email, and then call the company to follow up and continue the conversation without having to explain their story again. Using analytics to make the data do the work allows the company to provide targeted, more tailored customer service and a faster experience for the customer by providing agents with a complete history of interactions and their current customer journey.
3. The Data Is There – Use It!
The information a company collects about its customers, whether its location or likes and dislikes, should not be wasted. This is valuable customer information that can help businesses make smarter decisions and provide a better customer experience. In a recent article, Om Malik, shares his thoughts on how companies can make better use of their data, making this important point: “The size of the data isn’t the issue; instead, it’s ‘what you do with the data’ that will be the key to the success in the emerging future economy.”
Customer data also allows companies to proactively reach out to customers to offer them services, suggest products, or send reminders. As businesses use the historical data to predict what customers like and don’t like based on previous purchases, they can provide a friendlier, personalized, and proactive experience for customers.
Businesses should keep these strategies in mind to effectively reach out to customers to get the results they want, while delivering service that puts the customers first. Identifying and acknowledging what the customer wants and needs, as well as providing a proactive experience increases customer happiness and trust in a brand, leading to a loyal customer.
To learn more, check out our white paper, titled Boosting Customer Loyalty and Bottom Line Results.