In the face of rising inflation, geopolitical crises, and changing customer habits, business owners have a lot on their plates as they look towards 2023—not to mention keeping up with their competitors while still maintaining the quality of their work.
But shining bright within this Pandora’s box is the concept of brand loyalty. Customers, after all, are the lifeblood of a business. If you have brand-loyal customers, you can count on them to do business with you again and again in the future.
Businesses cannot always rely on rising trends and other temporary fads. Customers’ preferences frequently change and are unpredictable. What happens on typical days and idle periods? This is where your loyal clientele comes in.
Also, customer retention costs less than customer acquisition, resulting in a better return on investment.
What influences customer loyalty, and how can you shake up your business to improve it? To help you with that, here are five customer loyalty trends to consider for this year of the rabbit.
- Showing empathy and authenticity.
What do customers value the most during these times? Does your brand align with those values?
Customers are now careful of what and where they spend their money. They do research and look into a company’s morals to see what they stand for. Are they potentially paying for a company that is involved in heinous activities?
Posting on social media about your brand’s value is one thing. Creating programs and partnering with charities is another thing. The biggest value comes in demonstrating that you stand by your words. Perhaps your way is by creating cruelty-free products, giving fair wages to your employees, taking part in the reduction of carbon footprints, or using other methods.
Take the November 2018 Dolce and Gabbana ad as a lesson. As a way to promote an upcoming Shanghai runway extravaganza, they launched three videos that are outright racist. It depicts a Chinese woman struggling to eat pizza, spaghetti, and cannoli with a chopstick among other outrageous things.
Yes, the customers are aware that your bottom line is part of the reason for these actions and campaigns. However, they appreciate this kind of corporate support more than a morally reprehensible one. You don’t want a Dolce and Gabbana incident now, do you?
- Giving a unique loyalty program experience.
A never changing fact in the business industry is that customers expect more. They want every bang for their buck. Why would they bother joining a loyalty program just to get a tote bag?
What do customers want from a loyalty program? They want variety, or at least something new. Change up the rewards in your loyalty programs. In order to capture customers’ attention, develop benefits that they would actually need or want.
Consider discount tiers on subscriptions to loyalty cards, perhaps in keeping with the rising inflation. Prices are rising, therefore customers are more careful with their spending habits. Vouchers and discounts can keep them coming back, benefiting both the customer and the business.
- Giving quality customer service.
Part of the customer experience is customer service, both proactive and reactive. The quality of your customer service is indicative of your attention to customer care. That care can make customers disregard a higher price for a service or product in favor of a better experience. That satisfaction then helps you gain customer loyalty.
Customer service can even be your business’s selling point. When you lean into your theme, it becomes a spectacle. And people do love a good spectacle. Case in point, maid cafes and other themed establishments.
Another answer to the question of what customers want is personalization. They want to feel special and want special treatment.
Recognizing your loyal customers is a boost to their self-esteem and helps vindicate their continued loyalty. After all, why stop supporting if the brand sees your continued support?
This concept also aligns with customer service when utilizing omnichannel communication. Interactions become much faster and more effective by streamlining the information that is obtained from the customers through the various communication channels. The customers can also be given custom offers, increasing the possibility of future transactions.
- Loyalty Partnerships.
This is technically under the loyalty programs, but this deserves its own point. Instead of going it alone in your quest for loyalty program variety, consider collaborating with other businesses to offer fresh rewards and advantages.
One excellent example is how the Philadelphia 76ers partnered up with Chick-Fil-A for “Bricken A Chicken.” When an opponent misses two consecutive free throws during the second half of a home game, the fans win a number of free chicken nuggets. It boosts fan engagement during the games and also promotes Chick-fil-A’s products. win-win for both teams.
It always goes back to the customers at the end of the day. The marketing, the products, the services, and the experiences revolve around what the customer most likely needs.
Brand loyalty is integral to keeping a business running. Loyal customers return for another transaction, and their word of mouth is a key ingredient in customer acquisition. The tips above might be the saving grace that will keep your business afloat until the next year. Now, hop to it.