The Loyalty Landscape; Driving Profitable Customer Relationships

Although a fast evolving landscape, the last year undoubtedly saw a pandemic-driven decline in customer retention and brand loyalty due to a substantial increase in consumer awareness and client satisfaction needs. 

Matilda Rose Moir

Consumers want digitally literate businesses, backed up by authentic and lived values, and as demand changes, marketers are having to pivot their capabilities, deploying alternative experiences that meet the needs and desires of their customers. As a result, brands are having to rethink their loyalty strategy, or risk ‘missing the mark’ when it comes to consumer engagement. 

With the first half of the year almost behind us, brands should be looking to the future, making the most out of their strategy and driving both meaningful, and profitable customer relationships.

Building Brand Loyalty

Amid all the shifts in the industry, consumers are craving (and demanding) a more personable approach to digital marketing. With 62% of people expecting brands to build connections with their customers, and 66% stating trust as a transaction incentive, brand authenticity is fast becoming integral to the success of a business. 

People respond to people. And taking the time to build an emotional connection with your consumers can lead to strong brand loyalty and a significant increase in ROI. 

We sat down with our London office to hear their top tips for building, developing, and maintaining connections with your consumers that foster loyalty, and drive profitability.

1: Engage with your customers

As online and ecommerce triumphs, it’s never been more important to connect with your customers and nurture relationships with those who make up the core of your business.

Communicating with customers on a regular basis and sharing valuable information such as new product launches, upcoming sales and surprise incentives, makes them feel involved in your company and creates a positive association.  

Take GiffGaff as an example. They engaged with customers by sharing information on schemes created to give back to the community and help others throughout lockdown. GiffGaff launched a Goodybag scheme, allowing customers to donate minutes/data/texts to another customer, with the company matching donations. GiffGaff made customers feel good by helping others, and additionally created a positive brand image. Check out their ‘goodybank initiative’ here.

2: Quality and value of product and service 

There’s no denying the burgeoning increase we’ve seen in consumer demands.  With the vast array of products and services out there, we’re making more informed purchase decisions, and our expectations from businesses with regards to communication, timings and quality have risen fourfold. 

With 88% of customers expecting a response within 60 minutes, the most critical part of good customer service is response time (yet the average response time is 12 hours). This highlights how crucial it is that brands think about how quickly they respond to their own customers. 

Customers need to be left satisfied, and brands need to deliver on everything they have promised.  As soon as a customer is let down, it is likely that they will leave.  Understanding what satisfies your client and ensuring you meet their needs is integral to driving profitability.

3: Be Authentic

Ensure all your outputs are authentically diverse and inclusive. With 90% of consumers rating authenticity as a key factor when deciding which brands they like and support, total transparency and authenticity are key to driving profitable customer relationships. Build an authentic brand persona that openly communicates your commitment as a business, and the value you place on integrity. 

Explore The Value of Inclusive Marketing for more tips on how to be authentically inclusive within your marketing efforts.

4: Retain & Reward loyal customers

Once you’ve managed to obtain a customer, you now need to make sure they come back!  Customer relationship management (CRM) and reward schemes are critical to building a pool of happy, returning customers. 

The first step to customer retention is to ensure you collect certain customer details and open up a channel of communication. This is most frequently done with an email mailing list that customers can sign up to for newsletters, promotions or any other business updates, but there are other methods of reaching customers – including a ‘retargeting’ marketing strategy for digital media. While obtaining a customer email or address is considered easier with digital interactions – it’s becoming more possible to achieve the same with physical business. e-Receipts and loyalty scheme checkout sign-ups can help turn brick and mortar shoppers into lifetime patrons. 

There are innumerable ways to reward loyal customers to keep them coming back for more. For example, many brands now offer exclusive discounts for those who have purchased with them before.  This can come in the form of online codes or even discount codes in order packaging. Marks & Spencer’s customer loyalty program, Sparks , is widely successful – providing returning customers with discounts and early sale access across their clothing, food and homeware collections. Additionally, a returning customer can even choose a Sparks charity that M&S will donate to with every purchase made. 

For more advice on how to drive profitable customer relationships, get in touch with the team today. Allow Incubeta to take a dive deep into your current digital approach, identify growth opportunities, and provide the focused insight you need to make the most out of your marketing.

*Special thanks to Karina Patel, Tom Meadows, Will Hamilton & Stephen Cherng for their contribution

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