Customers aren’t as loyal as they once were, which can be damaging for brands. Shoppers have a wider range of companies to choose from which compete on low prices and product selection. Is it possible for modern brands to encourage their customers to not go elsewhere and be loyal?
How important is customer loyalty?
Customer loyalty is one of the most crucial factors in profitability according to one report by Bain. It is a large indication that the company is meeting the needs of their market and is providing a sought-after service. There are a few easy ways to get a feel for how your customers may feel. One way to do this is via surveys such as Qualtrics, asking about their experience. Surveys can help you gauge which customers may come back to your service or site again.
The Bain & Co. study titled “The Value of Online Customer Loyalty” showed that the average online clothing shopper wasn’t making profit for the retailer until they had shopped at the website on an average of four times. In other words, a customer staying with a business for 12 months to allow the company to break even. Statistics demonstrate how important it is to hold onto a customer, a shopper’s tenth purchase was found to be almost 80% larger than the first.
A positive relationship with the brand is built when the customer has been with a business for some time and has many repeated purchases. These customers begin to trust this business too and this leads to customers recommending the service to others. This can then lead to new business from those who have learned about the brand’s positive reputation through word-of-mouth.
Cross-selling opportunities build up a bigger loyal customer base. For example, if a customer trusts a business as somewhere to buy a new dress from, if they were in search of new shoes, it’s likely that they’d go to the same place — knowing the quality of service to expect.
It is important to keep in mind, as a business you can look to increase the price of products if your customer base know they will be provided with a good service. One study also found that 86% of customers are happy to pay up to 25% more for something if they were to be given a good experience.
Reducing customer friction points
Businesses must work on reducing friction points to maintain brand loyalty. These are points where the customer resists the sale even though they may have had the intention of purchasing. This could be down to confusion, aggravation or tiredness. A company must work on reducing these instances in order to keep customers on their side and generate sales.
According to the CRM Barometer, the following was discovered about customer service:
- 85% of UK customers would leave a brand because of a poor customer experience.
- 52% of customers said that handling problems quickly with no queue is what they define to be ‘outstanding’ customer experience.
- 36% said that having customer service available across many channels was important.
- 22% said receiving relevant communication at the right time and through the right channel was something they value.
All of the above hint to the impatience of customers in the digital age. And, in many ways, technology has made the sales process easier. From giving the customer instantaneous access to customer service channels, to the ability to see a full product range with the click of a few buttons. How else can companies reduce friction points through technology?
One major way that companies do this is through one-click-buying. This usually involves a customer inputting their payment and delivery information one time only and the website remembering this — enabling customers to simply make a purchase with the press of a ‘buy now’ button.
In-store, through a website, or through social media channels are some of the many ways a customer can purchases products. This is important for increasing how comfortable a customer is with a brand as it allows them shop in a way that best suits them — hopefully giving them a positive purchasing experience with few friction points.
Brands should also reduce purchasing uncertainty through representative images of products. This allows the customer to learn more about the product or service and find out if this is for them. A form of this technique is also used through influencer marketing, where individuals wear the products so that people can see what they look like on ‘normal’ people rather than just on the models on the website.
Having an easy-to-use site also reduces instances of customer friction. This is achieved through simple navigation, mobile-friendly platforms and fast-loading pages.
Another way to maintain customer loyalty is through offering a personalised service. According to the DMA’s Customer Engagement 2017 report, 72% of customers would like loyalty offers to be more related to them and their needs.
Through gathering customer data through insights, a brand can build up a good picture of its demographic. Through this, a company should be tailoring offers and communications to truly target that audience. Not only does this make the customer feel valued, it also brings to their attention products and services that they may be genuinely interested in. Communications like these are more likely to result in a sale.
As we can see, maintaining customers is as important as ever. Although people are less likely to stick with one brand, there are things that companies can do to improve the likelihood that a customer will stay loyal. From taking time to reduce friction points, to introducing tailored services, a business must understand its customer’s needs to stand out from the rest.
This content piece was in collaboration with QUIZ, fashion retailer of womenswear such as party dresses