31 Aug

LoyaltyPlus guide to retaining lifelong customers

Despite worldwide economic pressure and the impact being felt across many industries, there are ways for businesses to not only sustain operations, but actually capitalise on customer loyalty – and do so for the long term. Leading independent customer relationship management company LoyaltyPlus has compiled a guide for any sized businesses on ways to bolster service and maintain customer loyalty.

LoyaltyPlus has over 25 years’ experience in the development and application of cutting-edge programmes and partnerships – and its leadership in helping businesses ensure their customers remain loyal to their brands while optimising all touch-points and customer experiences.

While experts acknowledge that loyalty is not a black-and-white concept – there are many grey areas that define the flexible, fleeting nature of loyalty – they do agree that there are many benefits to customer loyalty, including repeat business/trade, as well as investment in a consistent ‘brand champion’, a constant ‘advert’ for the business, so to speak.

The basic premise that many businesses should follow is that customer loyalty – or the positive state of relationship between a business/brand and its customer – is to be achieved and nurtured, and a lot less effort is required than attempting to attract and retain a new customer.

According to an online blog written by Amanda Gaid, “customers with an emotionally charged relationship to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value than those who don’t”.

She points out specific statistics, including:

  • Fifty percent of customers said they’ve left a brand they were loyal to because a competitor was a better fit for their needs.
  • Thirty-three percent of customers will consider switching brands after just one poor experience.

With the increasing need to retain and nurture loyal customers, businesses are looking for expedient and cost-effective ways to achieve results.

LoyaltyPlus says with the advent of social media and increase in broadband connectivity, there are now more channels than ever before to engage the customer. However a business chooses to interact, though, there are specific tips that should always be considered.

First on the list is reward. It is crucial that customers must benefit from one reward or another, identifiable as linked to a programme. It is equally important to use customer products and use their services – this is a proven method to build loyalty.

Along with the basic tenants of professional business operations, including being accessible, credible and doing what is committed to, other key ways include making sure it is easy and pleasurable to do business with you, under-promise and over-deliver, be a resource (no matter what a customer needs, do your best to accommodate them, and speak your customer’s language – identify with their focus, nature, business and market dynamics).

In short, as the American Management Association describes, to build loyalty requires that businesses give clients what they want, when they want it and in the way they want it.

“Never show indifference toward your customers. In a study on why people stopped dealing with a company, 68% said they left because of an attitude of indifference by the owner, manager or employees,” the association adds.

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