Our friends at Digital Marketer have a belief: marketing isn't about just building awareness, it's about creating raving fans.
These are people who love everything about your brand and are, above all else, loyal to it. They are the ones who would score a 15 on a scale of 1-10 on happiness and want to spread the word about you.
The goal of customer loyalty and happiness for marketers isn't just to stop churn and increase lifetime value, it's to create amazing experiences that produce brand advocates.
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In today's world, those experiences better be out of this world to get someone to dedicate real estate on their social media profiles to them -- but how confident about yours? Is your brand experience producing the happiness scores you need?
Why Customer Loyalty Matters
Whether you have a subscription, retainer-based product/service, or your product/service is project-based, your job is to ensure the experiences customers have with your company from start to finish are the best possible.
People don't turn to social media to tell everyone about their "OK" experiences, even if your product or service does the job as expected. In fact, they're much more likely to talk about their negative experiences and ONLY talking about positive ones if they're truly out of this world.
What experience do you want your customers to have when doing business with you? This is a very important question because it's the basis of any customer loyalty program you develop. What emotions do you want them to be feeling?
Here are 4 tactics to help you create kick-ass experiences and increase customer loyalty:
#1: Reward Customers For Their Business:
Loyal customers have chosen to do business with you. If it wasn't for their patronage, you wouldn't exist so a good customer happiness tactic is recognizing or rewarding them for this action. Here are a few ideas:
Anniversaries: If your customers are with you year after year, celebrate their anniversaries. Send them gift cards, gift baskets, or free/discounted services or products and thank them for their business.
Birthdays: Do you keep track of your customers' birthdays? (if you don't, you need to start asap). Nothing screams great customer experience like getting a personal birthday gift. Here are some tips on how to do this right.
#2: Celebrate Them From the Start
Even if your relationship has just started, you should thank your customers for choosing you over your competitors. Some ways of doing that include:
A welcome package or email: This should introduce them to the team or top leaders; anyone they'll be having regular contact with and also perhaps provide next steps.
A branded gift: A gift that is personalized or unique to your business and matches your brand and messaging; mailed with a hand-written card welcoming them to your business family.
When someone is just getting started with your brand, it's important to start off on the right foot and set expectations. This includes not only making the process a delightful experience but providing the tools they need to be successful with your product or service.
With this in mind, you may want to consider investing time and money in an onboarding process.
Here at IMPACT, we are working diligently on a 100-day onboarding process that will create an amazing experience for each and every new client that joins our family. It helps address common issues, avoid them, and overall, get new clients on the road to success.
Do the same, and your customers won't feel in the dark right after they decide to work with your company.
#3: Provide Consistent, Ongoing Support
Do your customers feel like they're being taken care of? Do you have a dedicated support person to answer every call and email? Do you have a dedicated support page on your website or an online chat feature?
There is nothing I appreciate more than the ability to talk to someone directly about a problem I'm having and have it be resolved at that moment.
We all live very busy lives; We don't have time to jump through hoops, spending hours googling issues to never find a solution.
Having someone ready and waiting to troubleshoot issues will help bypass the hiccups more quickly and keep customers from the frustration of working through a problem on their own.
#4: Embrace Your Customer's Voice
The best way to grow your business and increase customer loyalty is to listen to your customers.
What problems are they experiencing with your product or service?
Give them an easy way to express their frustrations and then actually do something about it. Tell them you value their opinions and you are making every effort to adjust your business model, processes, support, etc. to create a more enjoyable experience for them.
Surveys, digital suggestion boxes, forums, etc are all great ways to hear exactly from your customers. Don't avoid this because you're afraid of the negative backlash. If customers have a way to freely give constructive criticism that's heard and addressed, they won't feel the need to leave a bad review about your company out there on the old interwebs.
Creating customer loyalty and fabulous experiences is a lot of work.
It takes time and effort to first understand the emotions of your customers and figure out what experiences they are having right now, good or bad.
After that, you have to address how you handle those bad experiences and how to make the good ones even better.
As a customer or consumer, what are some of the best experiences you've ever had with a business that prompted you to share that with your social media connections? Tell us in the comments below.
As marketers or business owners, name a few customer loyalty programs you have in place that are truly remarkable. You might give our readers more ideas than some I've listed above, plus we LOVE hearing your feedback!