25th September 2015

Building customer loyalty- What steps can you take?

Building customer loyalty- What steps can you take?

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So many organisations look to offer reward schemes, in order to keep their customers engaged with their brand and committed to reordering their products and services. These schemes, though sometimes effective, are becoming old and tired. Consumers are used to them and they no longer make the individual feel special and valued. Loyalty schemes need to be used in conjunction with other strategies. The key is getting consumers to feel an affinity with your brand and what it represents. Once this is established, offers and award schemes can act as desert, rather than the main course. Loyalty must be earned, before it can be bought through reward schemes.
This can be achieved through four key steps:

Match your brand to your customer’s values:

What you stand for and what your brand’s unique attributes are, must resonate with your consumer base. Brand attributes, must be omnipresent across all your channels and all areas of your site, products and bricks and mortar store. Wherever you are, your brand qualities must be there and clearly identifiable.

It is through your brand that you are able to project your personality and this is how your customers will begin to establish an emotional connection with you. Once an emotional connection is made, it is much harder for customers to expunge you from their minds.

Your clearly defined brand, must reflect the values of the customers you want to attract. If you are running an ethical clothing shop for example and your customers have an emotional connection with you, because they too share these values, you must ensure that in all the ways that you operate, you are as ethical as possible. Using recyclable packaging for example, is another way that you can extend your ethical approach to all areas of your business.

To create ‘earned’ loyalty, it’s important for organisations to make their brand position clear and aligned to their target market’s values.

Exceed Expectations

It sounds obvious, but you must ensure quality of your products and offerings. It is no good alluding to what you are and what you represent in your branding, if you do not deliver this in your products. It is vital that your customers are happy with your product, above and beyond how the expected to be, before you offer them loyalty award schemes.

There is nothing more infuriating than after a disappointing experience, being offered it again for half price. It comes off as arrogant and slack on the marketers behalf.

Offer a unique experience

You can further earn loyalty, if you offer an exceptional experience.

If you can meet a consumer’s wants and needs in a way that is consistent with their tastes and is convenient for them, they will hold you in high regard.

Go above and beyond

Finally, once the three previous steps have been carried out, you can look to buy loyalty on top of the loyalty you have just earned. This is where you start offering up incentives to encourage repeat purchases and re-visits.  The easier it is for your consumers to understand what you are offering them to thank them for their loyalty and the easier it is for them to redeem whatever points or money is on offer, the more welcomed and effective your scheme will be.

Building stronger customer loyalty does not have to be hard. Avoid diving in with schemes and incentives to buy loyalty and focus on earning it, through strong branding and quality of service. Once your customers are hooked on your products, then you can offer them incentives to buy more items, such as money off coupons, free shipping etc.

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