In a highly competitive market full of options where customers continuously look for the latest and greatest products and solutions, it’s easy to believe brand loyalty might be dead. But focus on customer experience improvements, and your brand might just find itself with repeat customers.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty refers to the tendency of consumers to choose one brand over another for an extended amount of time. It’s demonstrated by the continued purchases from a company despite changes in price and buying convenience. Loyal customers are less likely to be swayed by factors like these as well as by marketing tactics from competing brands. Brand loyalty statistics show that 60% of loyal customers go out of their way to buy from brands they trust.
Fig. 1. Number of purchases needed to make a customer brand loyal
Brand loyalty is attained when a product or service meets the expectations of the customer on a personal level. And to achieve that, businesses must delve deeper than providing excellent product quality or exemplary service.
Customer experience and brand loyalty are all about evoking emotions. According to Motista, customers who have built an emotional connection with a brand have 300% higher lifetime value and stay for an average of 5 years.
Loyal customers can also turn into brand ambassadors who can spread awareness through referrals. Since they want to share the positive and satisfying experience of interacting with your brand, they endorse your business to their friends and families. This provides you with free advertising from simply converting one ordinary customer into a loyal patron.
Fig. 2. The things loyal customers are willing to do for a brand
The rewards for attaining loyal customers are huge and long-term. The most successful brands compete to capture the hearts of their customers’ long term and not just short term to earn a few extra dollars.
Improving Customer Experience and Brand Loyalty
Here are the most effective ways to improve customer experience and attain brand loyalty for your business:
1. Respond on time.
The digital customer experience is more important than ever, as consumers keep tabs on how fast your brand responds to their queries on social media or via email. With today’s technology, they expect to receive comprehensive answers in the shortest time possible.
2. Maintain consistency.
Consumers are drawn to brands that provide convenient shopping experiences and innovative products and services, but consistency still tops everything on the list.
Consistency is the foundation of trust. Customers will only rely on a brand that delivers them the same experience every time they engage it.
Google, Amazon, AT&T, Dunkin’, and Domino’s remain the most trusted brands in their respective industries. They’re able to consistently provide the same product and service quality in any situation at any time, giving them a solid foothold in the market.
3. Follow the trends.
Stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in your industry. Monitor the emergence of new technologies that you can incorporate to improve customer experience delivery.
A company should always observe changes in market behavior. Although brand loyalty isn’t easily lost, it can still dissipate if not properly supervised. When you ignore consumer trends, you let go of potential profits and the chance to understand your customers’ expectations.
The cult-like followings received by Starbucks, Amazon, Nike, and Apple are the best brand loyalty examples that come to mind. They know what their customers want and provide it with consistency and quality.
On the contrary, there are corporate giants who used to dominate the market but failed to maintain their market landscape due to their lack of following consumer trends. Companies like Kodak and Nokia flooded retail stores with their products in the past. However, their failure to innovate and cope with changing market trends makes them prime examples of how brand loyalty fades even with well-established companies.
4. Always provide excellent service.
Most people dread contacting customer service to ask for a refund or report an issue with a product or service. It’s common to be kept on hold for many minutes and asked by the brand representative to extensively explain the concern. Sometimes, situations like this end in failure, with an unhappy customer who did not receive their expected refund or clarification of the situation at hand.
Dilemmas like this can be the defining moment on whether you’ll gain or lose a loyal customer in the process. When faced with a predicament, it’s best for businesses to apologize and quickly find a solution for the customer.
Fig. 3. What consumers expect from retailers
To further improve customer experience and turn any situation to your favor, consider offering a credit voucher or discount card for the customer’s next purchase as an apology for the hassle experienced.
In addition, be sure to train employees to be assets to your team, handling customer situations in a friendly, professional and graceful manner to most effectively build a loyal customer base.
5. Listen to feedback.
Some companies ask for feedback, but rarely use them to improve their brand. Instead, they just offer feedback forms so customers can voice their concerns.
The only sure way to improve customer experience is to listen to and act on what consumers have to say. They’re the ones who use your products and services, so they know best how your brand is performing.
When a concern is raised, respond quickly and assure them you are working on a solution. Give customers a timeline on when they can expect to receive a solution.
According to brand loyalty statistics, it will take several bad experiences before 66% of the customers leave a brand altogether. The remaining 33% said that the gradual decrease in receiving a satisfying experience interacting with the brand is the reason they look for another.
Although these figures show the resiliency of loyal customers to bad service, their negative experiences shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ensure you monitor what they have to say about your offers and take action to address any outstanding issues they may have. You should strive to keep them on board before it’s too late to reel them back in.
6. Measure your performance.
You can’t improve something you can’t measure, which is why metrics have to be put in place to continuously gauge performance.
It can be challenging to measure something as intangible as trust and loyalty. Experts say that you should narrow down the factors in assessing brand performance by focusing on commitment and engagement, value and quality, consumer trust, customer satisfaction, and status of repeat purchase.
The best ways to measure brand loyalty and customer experience are by looking at your business from a consumer’s perspective. This can be made possible with the help of the mystery shopping and customer feedback services agencies like SeeLevel HX provide. Our market research process can help analyze what you’re doing right and where you can improve to ensure you’re moving toward increased brand loyalty.
For a business to be successful, one of the key ingredients is to have a solid customer base. It’s easier to move forward and expand your operations when there are loyal customers who will be with you through thick and thin. Attaining brand loyalty is a big hurdle but not an impossible task.
Achieving brand loyalty is a journey. It’s the result of the accumulation of emotions felt in receiving great products, positive customer experiences, exceptional services, trustworthy recommendations, and consistent satisfaction. When you’re able to provide all these to your customers consistently, you’ll be rewarded with their long-term trust.
If you want to improve customer experience and achieve enhanced brand loyalty, contact us. Using our mystery shopping services and market research expertise, we can help identify what your customers really want and need and formulate methods you can use to capture their trust and loyalty.