Nearly two-fifths of consumers feel less loyal to brands and companies than they did a year ago and 32% of Americans claim they are more product-disloyal today than they were five years ago. Against this backdrop, brands are discovering ways to prevent consumers from departing. Beyond price and discounts, we’ll outline five strategies that can help you keep your customers loyal.
More from PostFunnel on Customer Loyalty:
Switch To Hyper-Personalization
56% say they feel more loyal to brands who show a deep understanding of their preferences. To respond to consumers’ desires, focus on upgrading from personalization to hyper-personalization. This paradigm shift will help deliver contextually relevant experiences to consumers in real time. Below are a few things to keep in mind when building a hyper-personalization strategy:
Build A Comprehensive Customer Profile: Collect data from multiple sources, including third parties, to create a single customer profile. Follow up with data enrichment to ensure your information is accurate and continuously updated, empowering you to make more informed decisions.
Segmentation: To create one-to-one communication, use tactics such as intent analysis and purchase propensity in your segmentation strategy. This will help you understand consumers’ motivations and shopping habits on a granular level.
Artificial Intelligence: An Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system delivers real-time, personalized experiences to consumers at scale. When deploying AI initiatives, select a platform that uses natural language processing (NLP) to deliver quick recommendations and algorithmically test every experience. Before investing, be sure you have enough first‐ and third‐party data to get the most out of the system.
For effective hyper-personalization, maintain transparency about how you collect and use customer data. Test and deploy customer experiences This could be allowing consumers to shop in-store without the help of sale associates (see Nike), or offering omnichannel delivery or instant self-checkout.
Invest in Innovation
There’s a reason Apple keeps customers hooked on their products. 17% of consumers are likely to repeat shop with innovative retailers. If you’re looking to set new standards with innovation, keep these tips in mind:
Give Your R&D Budget a Boost: Leading retailers direct a considerable amount of their budget to R&D. Innovation has been Amazon’s watchword as the company’s R&D spend rose from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $22.6 billion in 2017. To justify an R&D increase appeal to your CFO, align the portfolio of projects with corporate financial objectives and projected improvements to the business strategy. Devise clear goals and create metrics to forecast the ROI of your projects.
Fail Fast: Innovations tend to emerge from a series of successful and unsuccessful experiments. Manage every experiment as a portfolio and adopt a fail fast strategy. This will allow you to try new concepts and move on quickly if your ideas don’t work out. 49% of top retailers are working to adopt a “fail fast” philosophy to further innovation. To facilitate agile development, nurture a culture that encourages unconventional thinking and companywide collaboration.
Consider Value Drivers: Center your innovation around designing an experience that creates value for consumers. Allow consumers to test your product before launch and ensure your development team implements upgrades based on the needs of consumers.
Offer Customer-Centric Delivery
An excellent delivery experience can help you stand out and win big with customers. 61% of consumers say a positive delivery experience incentivizes them to shop with an e-tailer again. Improve your delivery experience and drive loyalty by embracing the following:
Flexibility: Cater your delivery plans to accommodate consumers’ fast-changing needs. 80% of consumers are likely to be loyal to brands that offer a range of flexible delivery options. Allow consumers to re-route their orders, change their delivery preferences after orders have been dispatched, or choose a particular day to collect their orders. Follow Amazon’s lead and allow shoppers to choose when their order will arrive.
Two-Hour Delivery: 55% of consumers say that a two-hour delivery option would increase their loyalty. Speed up last mile delivery by using an automated micro-fulfillment center in urban areas, and work with fulfillment companies to enhance your delivery capabilities. Looking for a step up? Experiment with crowd delivery. Walmart launched its own version, Spark Delivery, where independent drivers pick orders up from Walmart stores and warehouses and deliver them to customers.
Communication: For 80% of consumers, proactive updates on deliveries enticed them to make repeat purchases. Keep consumers in the loop by enabling them to track deliveries in real time, and let them know what time their packages will arrive. Inform them of any delays along the way to limit inconveniences or unwanted surprises.
The last mile delivery experience is key to building customer loyalty. Invest in warehouse automation robots and micro-fulfillment centers, and partner with shared delivery platform to deliver a customer-centric delivery experience.
Make an Emotional Connection
Consumers are surrounded by choices. Make choosing your brand an easy decision by fostering an emotional bond with shoppers. Emotionally connected customers have 306% higher lifetime value and stay with a brand for an average of five years. While winning the heart of consumers isn’t easy, these tips can help you form a connection:
Focus On the Right Emotions: Not all emotions drive customer loyalty. To find the right emotion that prompts consumers to make a purchase, use techniques such as direct reporting, facial coding, or speech analysis. Make sure the emotions you use are authentic and highlight the emotional and functional benefits of your brand in your campaigns.
Be Purpose-Driven: 77% feel a strong emotional connection and are thus more loyal to purpose-driven companies. When activating your brand purpose, involve customers and employees to identify shared values and areas where your company can truly make a difference. Align your brand purpose with your beliefs and values and use your brand purpose to guide all your actions.
Before using emotion in your marketing, consider whether your audience requires an emotional appeal and target emotionally connected consumers.
Improve Your Customer Service
Customer service continues to play an important role in a business’s success, as 95% of consumers say customer service determines their loyalty to a brand. It appears, however, that brands aren’t delivering on their promises to customers: 61% of consumers have switched brands due to poor customer service. If you’re losing business on account of your service, overhaul your policy with the following tips:
Hire Knowledgeable Staff: 46% of consumers will abandon a brand if its employees are not knowledgeable about the products. Give customer service reps access to customer profiles and purchase history to help them to resolve issues in a single interaction. Use intelligent routing to connect consumers to the right agent based on their interests, preferences, and needs.
Offer Self-Service Support: Supplement human customer support with self-service portals that give consumers access to account details, answers to questions, and enables them to report problems. You can also feature support forums or a knowledge base to help solve any questions they may have.
Adopt an Omnichannel Approach Since consumers interact with brands on multiple channels, it’s more than reasonable to have an omnichannel customer service plan. To nail this strategy, identify the channels consumers prefer and create a presence on them, ensuring seamless integration between channels. Monitor each platform in real-time so reps can quickly resolve queries. A cloud contact center will connect the various channel support systems and smooth out inter-channel navigation for consumers.
No Silver Bullet
Customer loyalty is fragile, and brands need a dynamic approach to retain customers. While there are various strategies you can use to prevent consumers from defecting, there’s no silver bullet for customer loyalty. Research the greatest retention drivers and disloyalty levers that entice consumers to try something new, and use those insights to create a stronger loyalty base.