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Four Strategies To Obtain Unwavering Brand Loyalty

So you want unwavering brand loyalty? Of course you do! This is what every brand is vying for.

Unwavering brand loyalty is a complicated beast. However, there are several strategies we’ve uncovered when it comes to obtaining stark-raving customers.

Let’s unpack what’s needed and slay the beast!

Customer Expectations Are Rising

To start, think about your expectations as a customer. There are many factors that keep your experience favorable with your go-to brands.

  • Your latest experience compared with your previous experience
  • Market conditions
  • Competitors
  • Your personal situation

This isn’t an exhaustive list but more an exercise in showing you how much work there is to do when it comes to meeting customer expectations.

It’s crucial for brands to keep up with expectations in innovative and unique ways.

We’ve seen a direct correlation between delivering superior customer service (or what we call Customer Care) and brand loyalty. In fact, according to Salesforce data, 67% of consumers say their standards for good brand experiences are higher than ever.

salesforce-customer-experience-graph

[Image Source]

Finally, there are four strategies you can embrace that will drive brand loyalty, such as

  • Messaging
  • Customer Care; providing proactive and predictive support
  • Reviews & customer feedback
  • Focus on heightened customer expectations

Let’s go deeper into these strategies.

Messaging & Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty and messaging comes down to one thing: targeting. You could also call this “segmenting” your audience.

Most importantly, targeting and segmenting allow you to send specific messaging to customers based on where they are in the customer journey.

Conversely, by sending the same message to each one of your vastly different customers, you aren’t honoring where they are in the customer journey. How many times have you seen brands post the SAME message across all of their digital channels?

It’s lazy. And it’s not doing them, or you, any favors!

To start delivering better messaging, you need to offer your customers

  • Relevant messages
  • Messaging through relevant channels
  • Strategic timing of messaging; it goes out at relevant times
  • Some level of personalization

Above all, the BIGGEST opportunity with messaging and brand loyalty comes from an onmichannel approach. “Omnichannel” means brands interact with their customers across multiple channels, like their website, emails, and social channels.

Furthermore, looking at omnichannel marketing statistics, it seems customers aren’t just more loyal, they typically spend more on average than customers who only engage with one channel for messaging.

A recent study by Omnisend said this about segmentation:

Targeted campaigns yield a much higher ROI: in comparing segmented with non-segmented campaigns, we found that segmented campaigns not only provided a 34.7% higher open rate, but they offered 26.5% more orders than non-segmented campaigns.

Additionally, their study showed that brands with a focus on creating a more omnichannel experience earned a 90% higher customer retention rate over single-channel marketers.

single-channel-versus-omnichannel-omnisend-infographicLastly, if you’re trying to capture brand loyalty through messaging, you’re going to have to nail down which channels garner the best results.

Customer Care & Brand Loyalty

We have talked extensively about Customer Care and its importance in today’s digital climate.

Your number one goal should be giving your audience an experience they won’t find anywhere else. If you can achieve this, you can keep them coming back.

One area where you can easily do this is with the level of Customer Care you provide. Customer Service, or Care, plays a vital role in whether or not a customer …

  • Returns
  • Gives you trust and loyalty
  • Becomes a brand advocate

Meanwhile, much of this conversation is happening on social media channels. And, the way you interact with potential and actual customers on social channels involves serious strategic planning.

When everything you “say” (type) is entirely public-facing, you need to be at your best. Potential customers and potential brand-advocates alike can see how you interact with your community. The two worst things you can do as brand are …

  1. Be rude to your customers on social media
  2. Not respond to mentions (good or bad) on social media

Likewise, don’t overlook positive comments or mentions! We see a lot of brands solely focus on the “bad” stuff. When a customer isn’t asking a specific question, but just mentioning your product or showing love, acknowledge them.

For example, if someone says, “I love this!” on a product post, ask them what they love about it or if they have one of their own. Keep the conversation going and show that you’re always listening. Um. And that you CARE. I thought that was obvious, but just in case.

Additionally, you can increase conversions with Customer Care.

Building trust and brand loyalty can be achieved with Customer Care through transparency and responsiveness. It’s truly that simple.

Reviews & Customer Feedback

Another place you can earn brand loyalty is by throughly understanding your customer. And what better way to do that than through customer feedback? It’s shocking how many brands don’t do this.

For instance, if you don’t send a note asking how a new customer likes their new product or service, I’d ask: WHY NOT? Unfortunately, from experience, I know the answer.

Fear of what the feedback may reveal.

But, as they say, everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. Including brand loyalty.

The PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.

There are a zillion and one ways to track your customers’ experience. I’d start by ensuring you’re actively seeking out customer feedback and asking for reviews. Secondly, customer frustration leads to customer churn.

The challenge with churn is that, in most cases, customers don’t tell you they’re unhappy. YOU HAVE TO ASK. 

You also have to know what customers want. And most, when surveyed about service, want three things.

  1. Speed
  2. Convenience
  3. Knowledgeable & friendly customer service

In short, if you aim to collect feedback — omnichannel feedback — on those three things, you should start to build a pathway to brand trust and loyalty. And all just by listening to your customers!

Strengthening Customer Expectations

Certainly, doing what you say you’re going to do is important. Your brand promise is everything.

In addition, think about ways you can improve both your customer experience and customer expectations at the same time. We’ve talked about three ways to do that above. But, if you’re ready to go above and beyond, DO IT!

One big way to improve brand loyalty with customer experiences and expectations is through a loyalty program. There are a myriad of  loyalty programs. However, your ultimate goal here should be to make your loyal customers feel privileged with personalized and/or customized brand offers.

Suggestions for your brand loyalty program:

  • Make it EASY to use.
  • Have a PURPOSE.
  • MARKET your Loyalty Program. (duh)
  • Use customer feedback to MIX IT UP. (Unwavering brand loyalty comes from empathy and an emotional connection, so new rewards could involve donating to a good cause, or offering an exclusive experience)

Subsequently, right now, emotions are HIGH. So it’s also important to think about managing customer expectations when times are tough.

If you know your community is into social justice, a reward in your loyalty program may center around Black Lives Matter. Or perhaps your people are big pet people. Offer a donation to an animal rights charity, or offer an exclusive experience by getting an artist to create a painting based on a photo. (I had this done for my husband and he LOVED it!)

To sum up, the ideas around being more customer centric are literally endless. It’s up to you to inspire your customer’s wallets, hearts, and minds and induce unwavering brand loyalty.

Can you do it? Absolutely. Will you do it? I think that truly depends on how much your brand CARES.

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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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