There is no simple answer for what keeps customers coming back to a brand, but there are tools and strategies businesses can use to create a solid customer experience that will lead to building loyalty. We already see a wave of customers expecting their experiences to be seamless across all platforms this year, therefore businesses need to have the building blocks in place to provide a 360 degree customer experience to create, shape and strengthen customer loyalty.
In our experience, we’ve seen these three strategies lead to customer loyalty success:
Give Your Customers What They Want
Brand loyalty begins with creating content that’s important to businesses’ 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 where he explains, “The volunteer program, refillable cold cups, and even the menu items themselves have all been driven by 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 the 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.
In a recent Mashable article from Samantha Murphy, Mark Walker, senior VP of Disney Interactive Entertainment explains “our content 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 mentioned “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 – content can’t be copied and pasted from one platform to the next, it needs to be personalized and kept consistent across web, phone, mobile app, email etc. Using a multichannel strategy provides a seamless customer experience, so that a customer could start a conversation with a company via email and then called the company to follow up and be able 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.
The Data Is There – Use It!
The information a company collects about its customers whether its location or likes and dislikes shouldn’t be wasted. This is valuable customer data 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 and makes 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.”
The customer data also allows companies to proactively reach out to customers to offer them services, suggests products or reminders that interest them, without being creepy. As businesses use the historical data to predict what customers like and don’t like based on previous purchases, they provide a friendlier, personalized experience for customers.
Businesses should keep these strategies in mind to effectively reach out to customers to get the results they want without going too far, 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.
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