Finding new customers is hard. Losing them, well, that’s easy. Which is why nearly 60% of U.S. marketers plan to expand their focus on customer retention and loyalty in the year ahead.
Brands that don’t engage customers in the right way, at the right moment, in the right context are quickly replaced by competitors who can. And marketers who fail to personalize brand experiences not only jeopardize brand loyalty, they risk losing brand revenues: Each year, $41 billion is lost by U.S. companies following a bad customer experience.
Delivering Rewarding Experiences, Not Just Rewards
Customer experience is overtaking product and price as a brand’s key differentiator. This is why successful retailers are expanding their retention and loyalty strategies beyond traditional programs and delivering emotional value. They are taking note of a customer’s browsing history, past purchases, even the local weather, to learn how to make her life better at critical moments — that’s how you build brand loyalty.
Of course, fostering loyalty and retention is a much more complicated undertaking than even a couple of years ago. While direct marketing has traditionally been the go-to tactic for engaging customers on a more personal level, today, much of the consumer experience happens outside of the inbox, on brand websites, mobile apps and social media. Now technologies exist that allow marketers to leverage their vast stores of first-party data, both offline and online, to recognize and engage with customers in real-time across human, physical and digital touchpoints.
Driving Brand Loyalty – and ROI
To win the hearts and wallets of today’s consumers, marketers will look way beyond the first transaction. They will focus their efforts on creating emotional connections that lead to long-lasting, loyal relationships. Here are three ways how.
1. Craft engagements that reflect the relationship.
Understand how customer needs and expectations differ based on depth of relationship (i.e., new customer, loyalty member, brand advocate). Customize interactions accordingly.
2.Wow customers with relevancy.
Recognize where customers are in their buyer journey, so you can offer more relevant and timely content, rather than one-size-fits-all messages.
3. Make loyalty worth it.
If customers take the time to sign up, log in and give their personal data, they expect more than transactional perks. Use a continuous identity solution to recognize and engage casual, frequent and lapsed customers with differentiated programs.
Originally published December 29, 2016