With customer expectations at all-time highs and consumers more empowered now than ever before the concept of being brand loyalty is at risk. Businesses must devise new strategies to keep their valuable customers coming back. But what actually works?
Loyalty 360 set out to find out, in a partnership with SAS they conducted an online survey from November to December 2011, with more than 150 customer loyalty and retention executives from a number of industries sharing their insights and experiences.
(Source: Five tips for building customer loyalty, Anne-Lindsay Beall, April 20 2012)
Here's a quick summary of the top recommendations:
1. Take a fresh look at your customer loyalty and retention strategy.
With the decline in customers' perceived value of loyalty programs and the new customer sovereignty, make sure your strategy is relevant and meaningful. Differentiate your program by identifying and connecting with the unique characteristics of your customer base.
2. Align loyalty and retention programs with marketing strategy.
If marketing is doing its job by effectively segmenting and targeting to attract the right customers for your business, that makes the job of loyalty and retention that much easier.
3. Build brand evangelists, not bargain shoppers.
If a loyalty program centers on offering customers special deals, it trains them to wait for the discount. Companies need to shift their loyalty focus to deepening the relationship with the customer and building evangelists. Loyal customers are less price-sensitive and more resistant to competitor overtures. They are also a huge marketing asset.
4. Release the hostages.
Many companies view customer defection as a bad thing. They will take drastic measures to keep the relationship together and, in effect, turn some customers into hostages. These reluctant customers are often expensive to keep. Sometimes it's just not a good match. Know when to let go.
5. Connect the dots and the data.
All of the recommendations above require a thorough understanding of the customer. Information about customers is not hard to come by, but it is often difficult to assimilate and analyse. Establish a clear customer information strategy and invest in the tools and talent necessary to execute it.
The full report can be read here.
Even better, book your spot at Loyalty World Australia 2012 and learn from the top experts in the field.