If you're wondering how to drive customer loyalty in the year ahead, we've got just the thing for you. In this guide, we take a look at some of the most effective strategies that help you connect with your customers on a deeper level. While these strategies are not designed to take over any current digital marketing campaigns you may have in place, they will certainly help you reach your customers more effectively.
Ready to find out how to take your customer loyalty efforts to the next level? Let's take a look at the most effective strategies to watch this year.
How to Drive Customer Loyalty
Some of the simple yet powerful ways that you can drive customer loyalty (improving conversion rates and driving higher value sales in the process) include the following:
- Invest in a loyalty program. This can take the form of a smart mobile app or a points system. Whatever works best for your needs, loyalty programmes have a number of unique benefits, from customer retention to increased customer engagement, easier relationship building, and brand loyalty.
- Don't lose track of special occasions. Don't forget about birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates. You could send an old-fashioned card to mark special occasions, or get creative and use the opportunity to create highly personalised email marketing campaigns to reach customers at the deepest level.
- Focus on integrity first, and the rest, afterwards. Many brands are so focused on the bells and whistles that they forget what matters first. Integrity is something you cannot buy, fake or gloss over in any way. Businesses that show a high level of integrity are considered to inspire a high level of trust. That means putting your customers' needs above your own needs, building customer loyalty the right way, from the ground up.
- Keep pain points and friction to a minimum. There is no way to avoid pain points or friction completely. You will always need to deal with difficult customers, tight spenders, conservative buyers, first-time shoppers and various other customers. The fewer pain points there are in your processes, the more chance you will have of conversion and loyalty. Trust seals and other strategies can all help to reduce friction.
- Take the time and effort to create a self-service channel. An FAQ section of knowledge-base is a great way to create a self-service channel. This helps to answer typical questions, improving the customer experience and avoiding the same questions being asked over and over again. USSD is another simple and cost-effective mobile channel to offer customer self-care experience. With the dial of a simple short code it allows companies to offer quick, simple and interactive access to enterprise services such as account balance checks, customer service, flight schedules, booking status, order status, and much more, from any mobile device. It also adds value to customers, which in turn helps drive loyalty.
- Focus on education and not just selling. As tempting as it is to forget, education should always come first. When you are constantly focused on selling, you run the risk of turning off customers. When you provide genuine value, on the other hand, one-time customers are far more likely to return. This is the best way to engage with your customers – especially if you aim to listen to their feedback and concerns and make changes based on that feedback.
- You don't have to break your budget to impress customers. You don't even have to spend a fortune to appeal to customers. Rather than wasting resources by giving out freebies all the time, focus on thoughtful, genuine gestures that offer real value. This can take the form of personalised messages, time-limited deals, birthday discounts and other small gestures.
- Don't ever take loyalty for granted. You may have a high rate of customer retention now, but don't assume it will always be that way. True customer loyalty takes constant effort. Make sure that you put just as much thought into your customer experience, retention and recognition strategies as you do your customer acquisition strategies.
- Keep service and emails personal wherever possible. Do not underestimate the value of personalised email, either. Creating personalised emails, content and offers is one of the most effective ways to drive engagement and customer loyalty. Even if you apply this by segmenting your lists by gender, location, spend or product interest, even a bit of personalisation goes a long way.
- Quality will always trump speed. While speed and quality is the holy grail, if you can only manage one of these, make it quality. Customers are far more likely to engage with brands they viewed as helpful, willing and friendly, over those that were fast but generic or non-helpful.
- Choosing the right digital marketing platform is essential. Ideally, you want a platform that offers omnichannel marketing across social, email, social, mobile and CRM. This is your best bet for reaching customers at every point. You can also determine the channels that are used by your customers most frequently. But aiming for a holistic, multichannel approach for your digital marketing is the best way to reach customers holistically.
- Get the entire team on board for optimal results. You cannot expect results if only a few departments in your company are embracing digital marketing tools. Ideally, you want to get everyone on board, so that you are able to provide the best possible level of customer service. Integrating departments and channels is a win-win for everyone – especially customers.
- Aim to be proactive rather than reactive. If you focus on being proactive rather than reactive, you will be better prepared to meet the needs and challenges of your customers. Rather than simply putting out fires, your team will need to think creatively to prevent those fires from igniting in the first place. This is done by identifying root causes of common issues so that you can act before they become bigger issues.
- Make it as easy as possible to get loyalty programmes started. How easy is it for people to join your loyalty programme? Do customers know where to find it, let alone how it works? Automatically signing customers up when they sign up at your site is one of the simplest ways to prevent barriers to entry loyalty systems.
- Create a VIP programme for top customers. Do you have a VIP programme in place? How easy it is for people to move up the levels? What do they get at VIP level? It's all very well to have a loyalty programme. People tend to respond better to programmes when they move up a system. You could consider bronze, silver and gold levels, as an example.
- Learn how to right wrongs, the right way. How are you approaching customer complaints? Dealing with complaints properly is key to increasing customer loyalty. When you handle complaints quickly, efficiently and ethically, in a way that is professional and appropriate, you can turn a bad situation into a good situation. How you handle complaints is key to how you build trust. Resolve problems in a way that drives trust, and you will be awarded a higher degree of customer loyalty.
We hope that these lessons help you get started with your customer loyalty strategies. For more help and tips on how a digital marketing platform from Grapevine can help you in your journey to increased customer loyalty, get in touch today.