U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion memberships in loyalty programs, according to the COLLOQUY Loyalty Census. That means, on average, every person in the U.S. is a member of over 10 loyalty programs.
The challenge? To build customer loyalty, brands must remain relevant and create an emotional connection in order to retain their customers’ interest, otherwise they are a click away from being forgotten.
But the reward is worth it – according to the Harvard Business Review, emotionally-connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, as they buy more, are less price-sensitive, and more likely to recommend the brand.
Here are three ways to build customer loyalty and keep them coming back for more.
1. Build trust
Every interaction with a customer doesn’t have to end with a sale. There are different ways to incentivize behavior, whether it’s gamifying an experience, or providing advice on what to purchase. Don’t only focus on the process of earning the sale, and racking up points within a loyalty program — focus on the full experience. Look to solve a customer’s problems before they happen. Be there for them as more than just a coupon code.
When you do get the sale, the successful delivery of the item when the customer expects it is critical in building trust with your customer. Don’t overlook inventory, shipping, and forecasting. Get the right product to the right place at the right time. Your brand should also be easily reachable to discuss logistics, with reps available and armed with the knowledge to handle questions on all channels, including social media.
2. Anticipate customer needs
It’s no secret that personalized experiences are now standard among retail brands. Consumers want to feel like you know them. They want to feel special. They want to feel remembered and their needs anticipated, and are usually willing to spend more when they receive hyper-personalized experiences.
To achieve this, brands leverage data for both in-person, online, and mobile interactions to build a complete 360o view of the buyer – one that will help the business identify preferences and therefore anticipate needs.
But, there is a fine line between successfully anticipating a customer’s needs and crossing the line into a disjointed experience and distrust. The line can be different for each customer, and according to advice from CX experts, can require testing and keen attention to relevance.
3. Create frictionless experiences
Customers expect companies to be aware of their specific needs regardless of their preferred channel of interaction. They want to move in and out the customer lifecycle fluidly – while maintaining the context of their previous interactions. But, too often, businesses are focused on separate experiences: in store, online, and mobile. These distinctions lead to a disjointed consumer experiences with disconnected information.
Think of creative ways for your customers to earn and redeem loyalty points across various channels, like posting pictures on social media with specific brand hashtags, visiting stores, or trying sample products to earn points. Allow promotions and points to be available for redemption across channels so that customers can choose the method that works best for them.
To learn more about building customer loyalty, read 5 Ways to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With You.