Fostering brand loyalty for success in any size business. This is a critical factor in customer retention and future sales.
Buiding emotional connection
Bringing customers back provides the most profitable sales even when discounting. They return to you time and again over a lifetime often bringing with them family
You are building a loyal following that will be difficult to remove.
Online sales also make this connection even more important because you most often get first go at the customer.
Therefore you should manage to retain them because of the loyalty factor built over the period.
The like and trust factor play heavily in this because you have always managed to satisfy their needs. Price becomes a secondry issue over availablility and delivery.
The COVID lockdown has altered our shopping habits so the ability to satisfy our customer base has become even more important.
Maintaining their buying habits in difficult times requires further attention to emotional connection
Your Loyalty plan becomes a necessity
If you don't have a loyalty plan look at the cards in your wallet on on your phone. Consider who maintains these operations in a consisten flow of information and offers and are the biggest sellers in your area.
Customers love payback and when the loyalty plan is suitably structured to the customers needs they will continue to return.
However they do require several things to make them work
|Value offers||Loyal buyers need recognition|
|Consistency||regular reminders over all media|
|Till recognition||Have you got a card?|
|Value||Extra value added|
|Unique presentation||Your branding to head the offer|
Your loyalty plan slots in with all the other values you need to maintain that emotional need.
Loyalty programmes work.
Working with social issues
In recent times this has become a major draw card for those that participate.
Remember the plastic bag recall and the change in habits it bought to shopping
All sorts of business were forced into deleting plastic bags for the packaging of purchases. This was prompted by one store adopting the policy and forcing all the others to follow simply because the customers were told that plastic would damage the environment.
Drinking straws are the new plastic bags
Your customers will move if you don't adopt the environmental strategies forced upon you.
It matters not whether you believe or disbelieve it matters that the mainstream want to save the world and this is there little opportunity.
Now it is recycled containers providing opportunities for the entrepreneur among you.
I was recently involved where a local drink Outlet and Bar offered all its empty containers to raise money for a local issue. The ten cent return on thousands of containers provided a reasonable donation to the cause but importantly drew people to the business.
A great marketing and welfare offer where everyone was a winner.
Social issues are extremely strong.
Delight them don't just satisfy the issue
The days of bad service and terrible after sales support are gone. Well if not they are certainly past there due by date.
Arguing over an exchange is a thing of the past. Accept the problem and solve the issue in the best possible way.
I was recently involved in a customer service tragedy. One of our largest Telephone carries changed customer service from a Voice function to using SMS messaging. The messaging was a dismal failure with time delays and misunderstandings. It was so bad using that carrier in the future was not a consideration. The absolute loss of credibility must have caused so much damage that it will be hard to recover. The opposition off course played to the tune with a better grade of service offering.
The customer is always right.
Trust and service over price wins everytime
It is interesting that trust and service win over price and many will shake their heads in disbelief at this statement.
The early adaptors in this strategy, in our modern times, have consistently proven that performance wins.
Steve Jobs created value and delivery at a premium price.
The Apple products still remain the dearest in the market however have never lost sales because of it. Other have tried to imitate the funnel or even blatantly price against it without success.
Nike are the most expensive sports shoes available and hold number one position despite being attacked by so many others. They don't change the quality, price or performance however the branding delivers trust
This has been imitated by Nespresso and several others that have grabbed the first market position and retain it with a perception of superiority.
Another example is the new car market. Hyundai entered as a cheap car and failed to gain market acceptance due to an image of low cost production and support.
They took the image by the horns and increased the warrant period from three years to five with fixed price servicing. The car was the same however a new trust factor was built in and sales increased dramatically.
Others had to follow and the band now stretches to 10 year warranty on the Mitsubishi. I believe this has taken it too far and a sense of disbelief will hinder the offer. Other companies apply terms and conditions that make all this difficult destroying the trust. In the meantime Hyundai has gained a far better market share with trust and value that has gathered a following. They are now a quality offering not a cheap Korean imitation.
Quality will always beat price.
Consistent contact bonds the relationship
If you have a value offering it must be communicated with consistency using multi channel marketing to stay top of mind with the consumers.
It is no good “Winking in the dark” if you have a product tell them and tell them often.
We are experiencing a time of' in your face marketing. Don't be shy about this use every channel available to portray your message often.
The squeaky wheel always gets the oil.
Finally we wrap this up by summarising what has been said.
The new silent salesman is Brand loyalty. Ignore it at your peril. Stay with the trends and maintain awesome customer service at all times.
Fostering brand loyalty for success in any size business by Peter Hanley
Peak spending came with Covid so maintain contact at all times.