The fastest way to grow your business is to build a lovable brand. Why? Because when customers love your company they churn less and refer more.
But building a loveable business isn’t easy.
To be successful, you have to get every aspect of your customer experience right, from sales and marketing to customer service and product development.
And most importantly you have to build a customer-obsessed company culture.
So, where do you start?
Don’t worry, we have you covered. Stick to these 5 customer loyalty-building strategies and you’ll turn your customers into raving fans:
1. Continually Collect Feedback From All Stakeholders
The most beloved brands are the ones that listen to their customers, their employees, and everybody in between. That’s because the only way to know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong you have to consistently collect feedback.
This means checking in with your customers, your support reps (employees on the frontlines), and monitoring your online presence (social media, and review sites).
Put survey systems and tools in place, both automated and manual, at every touchpoint. Never miss an opportunity to ask for feedback.
And good, bad, or ugly, make sure you share that feedback your whole company, across teams and departments. The insights you gather are useless if you collect them in a vacuum.
2. Align Your Brand Identity With Your Customers’ Values
How well do your brand’s espoused values resonate with your customers? A study published in the Harvard Business Review concluded that 64% of customers were able to develop a stronger relationship with a brand when their personal values aligned with the values of the company.
What this means for you is that, to create a meaningful bond with your customers, you need to develop a strong value set that your target consumer identifies with.
Take a look at the car brand, Subaru.
For the first 40 years of its existence, Subaru wasn’t profitable. Only after they align their brand’s identity with their target consumers’ values did Subaru’s demand take off resulting in an 8 consecutive year record-breaking growth.
3. Set Customer Expectations So You Can Exceed Them
The old customer service adage “under-promise and over-deliver” still holds up, but before you can deliver the kind of customer service that wows customers, you have to first set yourself up for success by setting your customer expectations. Start with these three cornerstones:
- Be truthful in your marketing and honest during the sales process.
- Examine your customer journey so there aren’t’ any unpleasant surprises.
- Educate your customers during onboarding so they know what to expect.
Remember, when a customer is unhappy with your business, it’s because something didn’t happen the way your customer had expected. Set customer expectations upfront or you won’t have the opportunity to exceed them down the road.
4. Give Small Thoughtful Gifts At Random Times
People love free stuff, there’s no doubt about it. But what experienced brands know is that promotional materials and freebies have the power and potential to elevate brand awareness and expand its reach, and of course, integrate the brand into the everyday life of the customer.
Branded promo materials, no matter how trivial they may seem, can influence the customer’s behavior at any point in the customer life cycle. This is why established businesses readily give out promotional items both big and small, such as personalised pens to prospects, potential business partners, and even employees.
Remember, even in a business environment, it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts. So be thoughtful. Finding a reason to give a random gift can be used as a way of exceeding expectations and building your brand.
5. Show Your Customers Your Human Side
On a final note, keep in mind that the above strategies will only work if you execute them on the foundation of honesty and transparency. What’s the best way to do that? Show your customers that there are real people behind your business who care about doing a good job.
Your customers know the difference between fluff marketing and true authenticity. Show your customers that you’re human by admitting your mistakes and leveling with them when you cannot deliver on something they want.
Build customer loyalty by empathizing with your customers and showing them you care.
If your customers know they are in a relationship with a company that cares, you’ll not only gain their loyalty, you’ll earn their referral.
The best way to do that is not through automation or messaging or technology.
Just be human.
Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.