Customer loyalty is often regarded as an important metric, but brand loyalty is distinct and even more important for retention.
A customer who has brand loyalty won't jump ship the second a competitor's prices go lower than yours or their product selection gets bigger. Instead, the brand-loyal customer trusts your product quality, customer service and many other factors that make them willing to spend more to buy your brand, according to Retention Science. Unfortunately, brand loyalty is decreasing, with companies focusing on moment-to-moment marketing instead of offering customers an uplifting experience. While marketing in the moment is great for stakeholders, it's not so good for fostering brand loyalty.
Solutions Without Problems
Brands often have trouble offering a solution that solves a problem that isn't apparent to the customer. Instead, products are released simply to ‘check a box’ instead of offering an experience that improves the customer's quality of life. While you might get short-term sales on a problemless solution, over the long term you're going to encounter customer churn because you aren't offering benefits that fit into buyers' lives.
The key is that you, as a company, need to be loyal to your customers. While this role reversal may seem odd, figuring out how to improve retail sales may be as simple as putting the focus back on the customer experience instead of on revenue or ROI. So how do you prove your loyalty to your customers?
Understand What Customers Want and Need
Dedicate yourself to understanding what your audience wants and needs from your product. Are buyers trying to improve their quality of life in a specific way? How does your product make their lives better, and is there a way that it could do so even more? Use retail mobile data collection to determine whether your in-store exposure is attracting customer attention, providing good visibility for your products, and making it easy for customers to understand the benefits your product offers.
Another way of creating an experience customers will remain loyal to is through brand consistency. Your messages should have a consistent style and voice no matter which channel you engage your customers on. It's important to respond to customer comments, complaints and questions on social media and other channels to give them above-average service that stands out in your industry. Go beyond using social media to merely engage with customers -- you can also use it as a venue for circulating information so you control the message reaching customers, instead of relying on third parties to do it for you.
Naturally, your products and services must have a good reputation to begin generating brand loyalty, but your value proposition can't remain static. Customer needs change over time, sometimes drastically, especially alongside the addition of new technology. If your initial customers were 20-somethings, their needs will change and adjusting the brand to fit throughout their lives will be necessary. Their wants and fears also shift as they finish higher education, settle into careers and start families. Engage with your audience to understand where they are in their life journey, how their customer journey intersects with their quality of life, and what you can do to fit in.
It's not enough to tell customers that you want to offer the best experience and products. You have to walk the walk. Follow-through is the key to any communication you have with customers. Make sure your messaging is as clear as possible, so it doesn't lead to customer confusion. If you say you're going to do something, make good on that promise; don’t leave customers frustrated.
In a business world filled of companies seeking out the bottom line, brand loyalty is waning. Make a splash by focusing on brand loyalty rather than customer loyalty, so you create a passionate fan base that grows your business over the long term instead of satisfying short term revenue needs.