Customer loyalty is one of the most important aspects of your business. But when customers aren't talking to you about it or making another purchase, how do you really know how loyal they are? What if a lower price, great coupon, or fancy new feature entices them in another direction? Would you even know about it before the customer went astray?
I’m guessing your answer to those questions has you hopeful that they’d come to you before leaving for another provider, but you’re not 100% sure. Read on to find out the ways you can better understand customer loyalty, and in turn, create actionable solutions to enhance the loyalty level of your customer base.
Acquiring a new customer is at anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones, and increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25-95%. (Source)
Different Forms of Customer Loyalty
First things first, here are the different types of customer loyalty:
Attitudinal Loyalty: Happens when a customer has a general positive feeling toward your brand or company. They may even have an emotional connection with it. However, this can prove to be a lackluster form of loyalty in some cases, as many people may have an emotional connection with certain brands, but may never make a purchase from them. As a personal example, I love those Hunter brand rain boots, and I think they are probably the best of their kind available on the market today, but I just can’t get over the price tag, so I simply don’t buy them.
Behavioral Loyalty: This describes a regular user of your product and services, and while this may be combined with attitudinal loyalty, a customer with behavioral loyalty is simply a reoccurring client who finds value from your product or service on a consistent basis. A word of caution though: don’t assume this type of loyalty means happy customers who will never leave. Their loyalty could be simply due to a lack of viable alternatives, so the minute another option becomes available, they may go astray.
Financial Loyalty: This is the level of spending a customer is willing to dedicate to a certain company. As businesses, we should always be looking for ways we can up the levels of financial loyalty from our customers, but without forcing them to another provider. Typically, businesses fail at understanding how much a customer is actually willing to dedicate.
5 Tips to Help Improve Customer Loyalty
Now that you understand the types of loyalty customers have with product and service providers, here are some actionable ways you can enhance this type of loyalty for your customer base while still meeting their growing desire for options and choices.
1. Make Customer Service a Top Priority
Do your customers know that when they have an issue or concern with your brand that they can get it quickly resolved? Do they feel confident that everything will be promptly resolved when they report the issue on social media or when they engage in a chat with an online Customer Service Rep? Additionally, how are these customer support processes working? Are you testing them and getting feedback from customers about their support process? If not, post-customer support processes should be created and implemented to ensure the customer experience portion of your business is operating as your loyal customers would expect.
Customer Service has changed. Learn how to adapt to the digital customer right here.
2. Create Loyalty Rewards Programs
That financially loyal customer will care about your loyalty program, because it’s going to save them some money and provide some options for how they can save more. This can come in a variety of forms, such as:
- •Referral Discount: A classic favorite; they refer a customer, you repay them with a discount or additional benefit of some kind on their next purchase.
- •Frequent Purchaser: Encourage all your loyal customers to continue to purchase with an incentive at the end. Starbucks has been winning at this for years with their Stars Program when once you earn 125 stars you earn a free drink of choice.
3. Ask for Feedback (And Use It!)
We all have that friend that asks for advice but never takes it, right? Don’t be that friend when it comes to your customers. Send out surveys to your customers that are easy to complete to get a pulse of what they want from you. More than a few people saying the same thing should be a warning sign indicating a change is needed in that area. Take things a step further by creating a process for measuring net promoter scores to keep an ongoing pulse on your most loyal customers.
4. Offer Extra Conveniences
As previously mentioned, loyal customers still want to feel like they have choices, so providing them with those while remaining within your products or services can enhance the customer experience so much so that they won’t give their business to anyone else. For example, here in Michigan our largest grocery supplier in the area is Meijer. They have a great supply of food, the store is massive, and the prices are competitive. For myself, Meijer is my go-to spot for groceries. But like many Meijer-goers, I hate going into the store. It’s busy, overwhelming, and not to mention time-sucking. Thankfully, Meijer recognized that irritations and created a curbside pick-up option for me, where I can order online and come to a drive-through window to get my groceries. Doing so keeps the pricing competitive and creates convenience. However, I don’t love having to unload all the groceries and schedule a special time to go pick them up. So now, Meijer met me yet again with a convenience, as they partnered with Shipt to provide grocery delivery service. It’s a little pricey, but worth the convenience in my opinion. So, I now have a plethora of options of how to get my groceries while remaining 100% loyal to Meijer. Those smarties.
5. Show Appreciation
Don’t forget to thank your customers for doing business with you. Engage with them so they can see what the money they are giving to you is doing for your business, employees, and community. Hold a customer appreciation event, send out newsletters that highlight your organization’s philanthropic efforts, share helpful information or products with them that you think they might see value in. Doing so keeps your business at the forefront of their minds.