No one can deny the importance of using the marketing strategies to attract new prospects as they are vital for the expansion of a business.
However, more important is sustenance in any field and for that nothing can beat the magnitude of customer advocacy and repeat business.
That is why companies are lately giving more stress on improving customer loyalty and are ready to adopt strategies that can drive customer loyalty.
Understanding Customer Loyalty & Its Emotional Connection
When customers favor your brand over the other, it indicates that they are loyal to your brand.
This behavior and attitude from the customer are generated when you succeed in making an emotional connection with them through quality customer experience and smart marketing approach.
Only a satisfied customer can remain loyal to your brand whether it is a product or service or both.
Familiarity with the brand can be one reason why people remain loyal and it is because your brand has managed to earn a good image in the eyes of the customers.
A company that fulfills all its corporate social responsibilities succeeds in gaining a soft corner in the heart of the customer thereby stimulating long years of association (loyalty).
Why Is Customer Loyalty So Important?
The marketing figures put forth by the Gartner Group suggest that 20% of existing customers produce around 80% of the profit for the company.
It means that even if a company does not succeed in attracting new customers, the existing customers can still ensure that the company reaches its target.
And a happy customer who continues to purchase your product also recommends it to others thereby automatically generating a flow of new buyers for your brand.
More often the purchasing decisions are driven by emotions.
The first-time purchase is always a practical decision.
However, when a particular business transaction is successful, it generates customer loyalty.
Happiness is the driving factor and hence every business house must ensure that they maintain this ‘level of satisfaction and happiness’ and stop the possibilities of deterioration in this relationship.
Here are a few emotions or states of mind and situations that play a key role in driving customer loyalty:
1. Gratitude And Appreciation
Both gratitude and appreciation go hand-in-hand.
Whenever customers feel grateful they become loyal to your brand.
Making the customers feel appreciated and important leads to a feeling of gratefulness which ultimately enhances their trust in your product.
2. Comfort Level
Although this directly does not make an emotional connection, it does influence a customer’s decision whether to buy your product again.
Whenever customers are comfortable with the brand image of your product they will positively think of buying it.
It is quite common for people to use a recognized brand knowing that it can be safer than the other unrecognized or unidentified ones in the market.
A customer is reluctant to come out of his comfort zone and try out something new.
And this does not hold true only for big businesses.
Nowadays, the smaller businesses having stronger impact and ties with the local community can outperform even the larger businesses in their particular area as these customers are more comfortable with their local/regional product.
3. Standing Out With Surprising Factor
Who does not like surprises?
If you want to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd then you can use the ‘surprise’ factor.
It is one way of being different and getting an edge in the stiff competition.
When customers expect you to come out with regular surprises, they will continue to purchase your product with the hope to get benefited by your surprise bonus or incentive one day or the other.
Importantly, it will also ensure that your brand messages never go stale.
4. A Sense Of Belonging
When people feel that they are a part of your business, they are less likely to swap your brand for the other one in the market.
Your marketing/customer support approach should be such that people feel as if they belong to your company or community.
Including them in the ideas or festivities is one of the greatest ways to increase customer loyalty and also to stand out from the competitors.
5. Mending The Imperfections
All the businesses try very hard to ensure that there are no imperfections in their product, marketing strategies, delivery or customer support service.
Despite working out the curves of your business, at times things do go wrong.
You will still have common issues such as a missed deadline or wrongly shipped order or any other thing leading to an unpleasant experience for the customer.
Although customers do want everything to go out smoothly for them, they can still understand such imperfections and continue to remain loyal to your brand if you respond to them, apologize or try to rectify the mistake.
Providing the customers immediate relief from their worries due to lapse on your part goes a long way in encouraging customer loyalty.
In any case the shipment is running late you can send an apologetic mail or make a personal phone call and provide a detailed explanation to the customers.
6. Easy Access
When customers have an easy access to your customer support desk they feel more confident about your product.
That is why you need to ensure that your customer service is easily approachable and responds immediately.
Having supportive, polite and expert front-line employees goes a long way in generating customer loyalty.
7. Personalized Customer Service
Whenever you call the customers by their names, it generates positive vibes.
The customers feel happy and are glad that you remember them and are encouraged to return.
The customer service agents can easily make use of the latest software to generate the personalized information/purchase history of the customers and communicate with them accordingly.
8. Make Your Customers Feel Welcomed
It is very difficult for the agents to keep the same vibrancy, enthusiasm, and joy every time they pick up a call or address a customer issue face-to-face.
But it certainly makes a lot of difference.
A welcome approach always encourages the customers to come back again with their queries and issues, and these can be many times related to their interest in their new product.
If the customers do not feel comfortable while conversing with your customer support team, they may drop the idea of buying your product again.
9. Thanking Customers
Whether it is an online or an offline transaction, ensure that your front-line team does not forget to thank the customers for each opportunity.
Some companies have made it a tradition to especially thank their customers with a bouquet or a box of sweets on their purchase.
It is a good strategy which can influence the decision of the customers when they are planning to buy another product.
When you make the customers feel valued, important, it appeals to their pride and they will never think of going to another company.
To get a better idea about how emotions can drive customer loyalty and how exactly a company can influence these emotions of the customers through perfect strategy using the call center software let us discuss a case study of an insurance and banking company.
The insurance and banking company in question has been in the business since last 3 years offering various medical, property, and life insurance plans as well as banking solutions and investment options.
The company was faring very well as they had a solid marketing team with experts implementing all the workable and most effective online and offline marketing strategies to attract new customers.
After completing three years, the company set up a new target for its agents and also decided to evaluate its plus and minus points.
The evaluation revealed following details:
1. The company was doing very well when it came to attracting new customers for their insurance and banking products.
2. As compared to the repeat customers, the new customers were contributing more to the overall growth of the company.
Rather the company had managed to sustain in the market only because the new customers kept on coming.
3. There was a huge decline in the number of repeat customers in the last few months.
4. Although the marketing side was quite aggressive and active, the service desk was in a mess with complaints, lapsed policies and accounts piling-up.
5. Almost all the new customers had come through the regular marketing efforts and none had come through recommendations in the past few months.
It was an alarming situation which revealed that if the company failed to retain its existing customers, it may not be able to sustain for long in the market.
The management decided to find out the reasons for a drop in the repeat customers and came to the conclusion that its poor customer service failed to generate customer loyalty.
To rise above this crisis the company first decided to boost the performance of its customer support team by investing in best call center software that provided added benefits such as inbuilt CRM, call recordings, access to customer history, and call drop details.
The company focused all its attention on improving the areas where it was failing.
Appreciating And Thanking Customers:
Although the marketing department was doing everything possible to attract new customers, it did not receive adequate support from the customer service team.
To ensure that the customers were happy with the service, the agents were asked to converse in a positive way with the customers, appreciate them and thank them politely so that they feel like coming again for the investment.
Apologizing And Correcting Mistakes:
There were many issues related to the delivery of the policies and banking documents from the company.
The customer support team failed to look into them in-time due to which there were many pending issues related to dispatch.
The service team of the company called all the customers troubled by such problems one-by-one and apologized to them.
The team also ensured that the mistakes were corrected immediately.
Making Easy Access Possible:
The agents were always available on the phone.
But new millennial customers prefer communicating through social platforms, live chats and emails.
To ensure instant availability and easy access to multiple platforms of communication, the company decided to implement latest call center solutions and integrated new tools such as chatbots in its working system.
Providing Personalized Experience:
The company trained its support staff to ensure that every agent attended each call with the high-voltage energy and enthusiasm so that the customers always felt welcomed whenever they called or approached the support service.
The agents were trained to use the customer purchase history and details so that they can provide a personalized experience to the customers irrespective of whether they communicated on the phone or through live chat.
Encouraging Sense Of Belonging:
The agents were asked to personally call all the customers and let them know about the new offers, schemes, update and involve them in the regular draws and schemes of the company.
The intention was to include the customers in the regular happenings and celebrations of the company.
Announcing Surprise Offers/Rewards:
The insurance and banking company announced a special offer which provided added- bonus to policies/banking investments when purchased during a particular term.
The company kept on changing term, dates, and rewards for these offers thereby maintaining the element of surprise and tempting the customers to keep on investing and checking for additional offers regularly.
With the help of call center software solutions and new approach from the customer support team, the company managed to influence the emotions of the customers, reduce the animosity and negative vibes about its working in the market and introduce a new wave of positive emotions.
The existing customers were happy with this new approach from the company and were quite eager to renew their policies and bank deposits.
Importantly, they also liked the way the customer care agents alerted them when their policies matured or there was a new bank deposit scheme with higher/renewed interest rates.
All these steps ensured that the customers felt emotionally attached to the company which is why they kept on returning back for more, thereby increasing the base of loyal customers for the company.