Loyalty is a big topic. Customers are not behaving as they used to. They seem fickle, less attached, less loyal. But are they? Although there is a common perception that brand loyalty has been on the decrease over recent years and decades, multiple studies have shown that there is no evidence that brand loyalty has actually declined*. There is, however, no question that is has evolved.
In the 1950s, brand loyalty was about having the best product. People remained loyal to jingles, slogans and mascots, as well as particular brands. Today’s consumers are leading the way towards a new type of digital loyalty in which emotional connection, customer service and frequent communication reign supreme. Here are our top tips on how to keep customers loyal in the digital age.
One of the primary differences in digital brand loyalty is the fact that the Internet and digital technologies broadened the two-way flow of communication. No longer do customers wait for trusted brand representatives to physically come by and tell them about the latest products or developments. They ask questions and do their own research online.
If you want to capture their loyalty, you have to meet them where they are and fulfil their needs. Guide them to the right products online, feature your favourite products on social media and be ready to engage in conversation and address their wishes and concerns. Keeping active and building a dialogue will not only keep your products at the forefront of your clients’ minds, but will also encourage them to comment, like and share, helping you to grow a loyal community.
The emotional connection a customer forms with a brand has some of the strongest influence on loyalty. Having a positive emotional tie to customers will help you stand out in the sea of products and services. Whether it be finding common views or experiences, creating an emotional connection is a powerful way to build loyalty.
It is important to show your customers how your principles guide your business. Let your face and personality shine, show others why you believe in the products yourself and they will be more likely to trust you and, in turn, also the products you sell, earning you loyalty.
Through social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, and online chat apps, such as WhatsApp, it is important to always stay connected with your clients and be in a position not only to meet, but also to anticipate their needs. Posting frequent content to your social media helps you to develop a unique voice, while also confirming your expertise.
Responding quickly to questions or concerns is key to helping your customer base feel like you care about them and have the answers they seek. Most customers expect to receive a response from their query within a few hours. How quickly you are able to respond to customer concerns has been proven to have a direct impact on how trustworthy the average customer finds your brand to be.
As an ABO, you are your brand, so it is important for your communication to always have the same feel every time someone interacts with it. Disjointed or inconsistent messages will leave customers feeling disoriented and dissatisfied. At the same time, keep in mind that consumers don’t like to feel like they’re being overtly sold to, but they do want to know how a brand’s product or services can address a common problem they’re experiencing.
Stay true to yourself and think of what ties you to your customer, to personalise their experience. Relatable, authentic content with a local focus is a good way to help local customers find you, while also staying relevant.
*Chrysochou, Polymeros & Casteran, Gauthier & Meyer-Waarden, Lars. (2014). Does brand loyalty decline? Investigating brand loyalty evolution and the role of product category characteristics. 10.13140/2.1.4039.9363.