Gaining Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is not the same as customer satisfaction: Why is the difference important?

 

As long as your customers are happy, it doesn’t matter if you use customer satisfaction or loyalty, to explain how they feel about your company. But lately I have been able to observe how these terms are used interchangeably and where they really should not be, and I would like us to start here.

 

What does customer loyalty mean? The fidelity of the clients is the action of the client towards the brand/company; based on your global experience with the company’s products and services; the way they are treated by employees and all the other interactions they have had with the company. The satisfaction score of the clients of a company is normally based on the data collected in the surveys.

 

It is important to remember that customer loyalty can:

 

Be fleeting and inconstant

Today satisfied, tomorrow not. A customer reassesses their level of satisfaction with your company after each individual interaction they have. Your online experience may have been great, but a telephone conversation later may have been horrifying. This could change within a day.

 

Provide a fallacious sense of security to your company.

For example, cable television customers who have only one service provider at their disposal in their area can say that they are satisfied with their service because they have not had any problems. However, they could change providers in a minute if a competitor arrives in their city with a lower price or with more and better features.

 

The loyalty of the clients … their definition

Customer loyalty refers to the probability that a customer will buy your products or services from your company whenever it is required and in addition, they become very loyal brand ambassadors.

 

It must be included as one of the metrics of your company, recording the amounts that an existing customer has purchased, during what period of time, the actual cost paid for each item, the specific types of products purchased, the potential future value and more.

 

Surely there are many companies that are very fond of Facebook “likes”. I hope you are clear about what these are not a measure of customer loyalty.

 

I do not doubt that, these digital actions please us and make our day happy; but remember that, even if that client likes your company, there is no guarantee that they will buy it again in the future.

 

Customer satisfaction surveys

Customer satisfaction is often measured by sending surveys, but we still know that months can pass, before new data is collected.

 

A quarterly survey distributed in January could return a very high rating on customer satisfaction. But a drop in customer service quality in February could not be revealed until the next customer survey in April. This could result in a large number of customers who will be leaving to competitors in February and March and you and your team would stay, wondering what went wrong?

 

With this, I do not mean that the surveys of customer satisfaction are useless, or more missing. The survey and due to the dynamism of the current market, and the personal interactions of the clients with your company can be very insightful and changing.

 

In order to achieve an effect in the results collected, the analysis of the same should be immediately after the customer’s interaction with your technical support staff, customer service representative or another employee.

 

So then the customer satisfaction surveys can give you a real, current, fresh, efficient and immediate view of the management of the areas of your business and staff; to know if they are working correctly and detect what are the opportunities for improvement. The key benefit of the surveys is that positive changes in business operations can be made more quickly.

 

Customer loyalty is of paramount importance for the profitability of your company. Why? Here are some reasons:

  • Revenue growth is greater

Loyal customers who have been with your company for some time will not only be willing to buy more, they also tend to be less price sensitive. Which means they are more willing to pay the full price because they understand the additional value they receive from your company.

 

  • Reduction of acquisition costs

We are all aware that acquiring new customers is more expensive than maintaining existing customers.

If we manage to sell more to existing customers, you will be able to increase your income and decrease your acquisition and inventory costs.

 

  • The increase in customer references

Not only will satisfied customers be more likely to recommend their friends and family immediately; They are also more likely to become advocates for your business (such as word of mouth marketing), which influence much larger circles of potential customers on social networks.

 

  • Reduction of operating costs

Long-term customers tend to understand the ins and outs of your business and your products.

Unlike the new customers, who can take the phone or chat with your online team to ask for help with any questions they have. Long-term customers tend to require fewer demands in customer service, technical support, and billing departments.

 

  • Refined buyer’s personality

From the loyalty of the client, you can observe the buying habits of your individual clients where it will be easier to combine customer loyalty data and create a profile of those that are more profitable for your business.

 

This data can be used by your marketing team to develop marketing programs that are highly focused and distributed to new perspectives. Based on customer loyalty data, they are statistically more likely to become your customers.

 

The last word

It is important for the success of your business that you understand some of the main differences between satisfaction and customer loyalty. Both have their place and their benefits.

 

Customer satisfaction can provide a high-level view of the health of your business at certain points of contact. And if it is used strategically, it can give you more frequent ideas in specific areas of the business that are doing well, and others that could be improved.

 

Customer loyalty, you can measure it through customer loyalty data, including purchase numbers and real income. They are essential to know where your business is today and where it will be in the future.

 

Ways to boost customer loyalty

Customers want to use self-service channels, instead of the phone. Despite the fact that many customer service executives still think that their customers prefer to ask a question or solve a problem over the phone.

 

60% of the volume through telephone, come from customers who could not get a response from the website.

 

Many customers prefer not to talk to a representative on the phone and it bothers them to have to do it if the self-service channel cannot help them.

 

Four steps to boost customer loyalty

There are four basic steps, which can help you with your self-service clients and reduce the amount of effort you need to solve your problems.

 

  • Discover which are the most propitious scenarios with your commercial advisors to get your customers to tend to change your web portal for the phone, instead of being able to investigate in a systematized way.

 

  • Identify what are the solutions to solve these problems through your web channel by observing clients through user tests or participation of first-line focus groups.

 

  • Help your customers through digital interactions to guide them about which is the most appropriate channel to solve their problem. So you can eliminate those that are not used by your customers in the long run. In the end, what matters is the choice of your client, and not what you think is what suits you. They have the last word.

 

  • Develop simple tools for the client to test them and I recommend you to do brief surveys with frequent questions that reflect the voice and expectations of each client. And always keep in mind that more is not necessarily better.

 

How to increase customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty can be a goldmine for companies if they manage to do it well.

 

The odds are in your favor, the statistics show that 60 to 70% of the sale comes from existing customers and that only 5 to 20% of the sale would come from potential customers.

 

A 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. If that was not enough to convince you to put more effort into customer loyalty. It is also said that attracting new clients will cost your company 5 times more than maintaining an existing client.

 

Have you managed to build a solid customer base, or are you working toward that goal? The conversion of the client is undoubtedly an important part of business development. However, based on my experience creating the loyalty of loyal customers is just as important.

 

The best way to have a positive impact and a true sense of loyalty among existing customers is to create a very close link between them and your business where they feel part of your brand and get excited about everything that relates to your business.

 

How to achieve customer loyalty? Build a relationship with your customers

The only obvious mistake, but it is very common and that many companies do is, target potential customers, sell them, and then proceed to ignore them. Unless you have new marketing material to increase sales, or pursuing them to make some payment.

 

Getting your account managers to build a relationship with your clients increases their affinity with you and at the same time strengthen your “affective” relationship towards your Brand.

 

Always remember that your client is not only paying for a product, it is also looking for good service.

 

You must be able to reach your clients, offer them support, provide answers to any question and additionally, you must have the ability to be close to them at any time, either online or offline, where they can get in touch with your customer service team.

 

This is why, if you are a business where for you the attention to your customers is important, and you want it to be personalized, you must let them know that behind your Brand there is a team of human beings.

 

Clients want to be heard and cared for, if you can be there for them, I assure you that you will be able to create a true relationship with them, you will be very happy and I swear that they will come back to you.

 

 

Jerome Joseph, CSP, is a Global Speaker with industry experience as a CEO of a listed brand agency. He is recognized as a Top 30 Global, Thought Leader on Branding, has spoken in 33 countries and has worked with over 1,000 brands. Let’s talk. Call us at +65 9271 6973 or Email us at Jerome@jeromejoseph.com.

Leading from Within: Creating Brand Leaders How Leaders Can Effectively Represent their Brand

Brand Leadership is a vital topic in the development of high performing cultures. While personal branding involves building an active reputation, identity that people can link you (as an individual) with, brand leadership goes a step further and conveys the uniqueness of the organizational/corporate brand through the actions and behaviors of their leaders. It aims at developing executives to develop brand led attributes and who are passionate about the company’s brand DNA, using it to guide their actions and behavior. What attributes do your leaders possess? What are they known for? Are they known for being able to deliver the brand of the organization? Or are they on the other side of the lane?

A strong brand with a clear brand DNA would help guide the values and actions of their leaders. It ensures that companies are brand centric and drive a culture led by brand. Leaders should represent their company’s brand so both should exemplify similar or aligned traits and values.

The following is a step by step guide towards creating effective brand leaders:

 

Step 1

Know your brand
The starting point here is knowing in clear terms, what is expected of brand leaders. Many organizations do not have a clear Brand DNA and as such leaders get confused on the right standards of a brand leader. World class organizations have a clear Brand DNA that sets clear brand standards, guidelines and manifestos that allow executives to understand that brand and in turn represent the brand to stakeholders and across key channels.

Tip: Create a clear Brand DNA which includes your Brand Vision, Brand Purpose, Brand Values, Brand Personality and Brand Positioning. Ensure that it is relevant and can be amplified.

 

Step 2

Brand leadership development should be your priority
One very grave mistake employers make is hiring leaders that are not trained to fit in with their brand. Activities of brand leaders must be directly aligned with your organization’s core values and also integrated in your day-to-day activities. Employees must be educated about the significance of branding and how it affects a company. This helps them build qualities that would be useful for brand led leadership.

If your organization is not making the brand impact it should, then you probably have the wrong brand leaders. Leadership tops the list of what’s required for the success of a business. Leadership that is led by your brand takes your organization to another level. Carry out brand leadership workshops, seminars and trainings regularly. This will help to imbibe in your leaders, the skills needed to meet customer and investor expectations.

Tip: With a clear Brand DNA, develop a hiring process that allows you to recruit on-brand candidates. Secondly develop a rigorous brand leadership program which includes workshops, coaching and mentoring so that leaders truly immerse themselves in their brand.

 

Step 3

Align your brand purpose
It is not enough to have a brand and know how it works. It is also important to know the ‘why’ of your brand. The ‘why’ conveys the compelling purpose of your brand. Brands should have a clear brand purpose. Clarity of purpose fosters motivation and helps employees to understand how to contribute towards that purpose.

A purpose statement should contain the objectives which you want your executives to work towards. It should be the basis for most decisions taken in the organization, as well as a yardstick for setting goals. The brand purpose statement could be included in the company handbook and also placed at strategic points in the organization, where employees would come in contact with it and be reminded constantly of your shared interests. Often when I run programs, I get leaders to deep dive into their corporate brand purpose and use that as a guide to create their own leadership brand purpose which not only reflects their individual identity but also aligns itself with that of their corporate brand.

Tip: An individual leadership brand purpose looks at the “why” and the impact of the “why” first. Secondly it looks at how this brand purpose fits in with corporate brand purpose.

 

Step 4

Leaders should guide and drive brand values
Leaders are always used as role models, hence, failing to abide by the values of the organization will lead to misalignment, confusion and resentment.

If your employees perceive that their leaders are not living up to stated organizational standards, they lose trust in their leaders and become lax in the roles. They become unmotivated and this can ruin an organization faster than anything can.

Leaders should involve the staff in the interpretation of brand values, by getting their inputs concerning them, set realistic expectations that duly represent your brand, and commit to them. This ensures that everyone in the organization is committed and working towards a goal- which is promoting your company brand.

Leaders should teach and reinforce the values in all communication (e.g. emails, meetings etc.), reward company’s value-centric behaviors to serve as motivation to other workers and importantly live in their behavior and actions.

Tip: Organizations should strive to revisit company values as things evolve in the marketplace. This keeps the company values current and consistent with reality.

 

Step 5

Monitor your long-term success
Brand leaders should monitor their leadership brand and see if they have demonstrated their brand throughout their roles. They should consciously and regularly reassess themselves. They can do this by surveying employees anonymously to find out whether they feel the organization or their leaders are living up to set brand standards or not. Often in our internal brand surveys, we ask if leadership demonstrates the brand of the organization. If it is low score, we as consultants immediately work on creating solutions to close that gap. Solutions could include training and mentoring.

Tip: Internal Brand engagement surveys should be run annually at the very least. A scorecard should be developed on the metrics like employees understanding of the brand, their connection to it and if leaders “walk the talk”.

 

In conclusion, the key is for brand leaders is to be committed to living the brand. Leaders at all levels should know their brand and use it to guide and motivate their employees to embody it. By prioritizing the leadership of your brand, you create a culture that is driven by your brand.

 

Jerome Joseph, CSP, is a Global Speaker with industry experience as a CEO of a listed brand agency. He is recognised as a Top 30 Global, Thought Leader on Branding, has spoken in 33 countries and has worked with over 1,000 brands. Let’s talk. Call us at +65 9271 6973 or Email us at Jerome@jeromejoseph.com.