Top 5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty in 2020
1 - Create emotional engagement
Personalize communications and experiences by leveraging data. Data can provide deep insights that drive customer-centric engagement. When data allows you to know customers throughout their journeys and across channels, their experiences are more satisfying.
Surprise and delight customers by expressing your appreciation. Birthday and anniversary gifts, best-customer surprises, and complimentary tier upgrades are just a few ways to show customers your gratitude.
Facilitate connections through sharing and community. Finding strength in community is a recent marketing trend that’s impacting customer relationships. REI was one of the first brands to create a community of like-minded people and then deliver brand relevance to their needs.
Invite co-created and/or user-generated content and storytelling. When people outside of your company advocate for your brand, their credibility is exponentially higher when they speak on your behalf. The influencer community, in retail specifically, is a great example of this strategy.
2 - Offer a mix of value, utility & experiences
Today's consumers want value and a whole lot more from the brands they choose. Busy lives call for both value and high-utility benefits—think free shipping and mobile-order-and-pay.
Did you know that well-being is a current trend? For Gen Xers seeking well-being, utility benefits can help them gain control over a hectic time in their lives and achieve a greater work-life balance.
Increasing customer expectations—especially among younger generations—demand enhanced or unique experiences. In fact, according to Kantar, 70 percent of Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to choose a brand that offers new experiences.
3 - Make loyalty an enterprise commitment
With a growing awareness of what's possible thanks to data and technology, customers expect brands to recognize and reward them across touch points and channels. Marketing alone can no longer deliver loyalty. Instead, top leadership must embrace loyalty and carry it out across an organization, with or without a loyalty program. That said, loyalty programs often work best to deliver the best of the brand: recognizing and rewarding the most loyal customers, and providing a platform to pilot and enhance new and unique delivery methods.
4 - Create a partner ecosystem
Looking to solve a customer pain point or enhance the customer experience? Innovative brands are reaching beyond their walls to fully meet customer needs. Consider the partnership of Amazon and Kohl's or Delta Air Lines and Clear. While transactional partnerships have been the norm, consider cross-promotion or cocreation to maximize partnership impact.
5 - Leverage loyalty techniques beyond programs
Companies with loyalty programs reap significant business benefits, thanks to core loyalty techniques. These include customer identification, customer sign-up or opt-in invitations, and data collection—especially when used for personalization and targeting. Consider how these methods can be extended to customers outside of loyalty programs. Say, your brand offers a 20 percent one-time discount (a compelling value proposition) to any customer who shares an email address—doing so increases your marketing effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
Michelle Wildenauer serves as senior vice president of Strategic Services for The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis-based, data-driven loyalty, experience and customer-engagement agency that has been delivering personalization for its world-class clients for more than 30 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy company.