What’s the relationship between customer satisfaction and brand loyalty?
Here's a hint: it isn't about price.
A brand loyal customer stays because they feel a connection. It’s not because you have the cheapest prices, though they probably appreciate the value you offer.
Their real loyalty lies in their relationship with your brand. They know you have a great quality product or service, they understand you appreciate them, and they feel good shopping with you.
Building this kind of relationship isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort.
- Customers spend 43% more at companies that have earned their loyalty.
- 80% of a company's future profits come from 20% of its current customers.
- Wooing new customers costs 5 times more than retaining existing ones.
- Reducing churn by 5% increases profits by up to 125%.
Out of 2,000 surveyed consumers, more than 90 percent report being just as brand-loyal, if not more, than they were a year earlier. Read on to learn effective ways to build brand loyalty and get a piece of that valuable pie.
1. Focus on your strengths.
You don’t build strong brand loyalty by trying to be all things to all people. There are countless companies out there pushing the message of, “What do you want? We’ve got it!” It doesn’t help you stand out, and it isn’t possible anyway.
You’re better. Instead of scrambling to stay ahead of everybody in all things, consider what you do differently or better than everyone else. This is your niche, and it’s where your brand loyalty will come from.
Lyft is a great example. It’s in the same industry as Uber, but it doesn’t try to beat Uber at its own pricing game. Instead, Lyft offers a similar service with a friendlier touch, encouraging community and offering carbon offsets for climate-aware riders.
By targeting a segment of customers that cares about more than just price, Lyft grew 75% in a single year.
2. Ask for feedback from your customers.
Why do your customers choose you over a competitor? What needs and values do they have that you fulfill better than others?
Some answers to these questions are already out there, both in the feedback your customer service team receives and in the comments people leave on social media. Don't stop there though—it's just as important to ask for feedback directly.
Building brand loyalty with millennials? Reaching out is particularly important. Research shows that millennials' brand loyalty is reserved for those companies that actively reach out to engage and ask for customer opinions.
What's more, the benefits of feedback requests go beyond the millennial cohort. When you ask for customers' opinions, you show that your buyers matter, and that's important. Almost 70% of churn happens because customers feel like a company doesn’t care.
3. Respond quickly.
Building brand loyalty through social media doesn't just mean reaching out. It also means responding quickly when people reach out to you.
- 80% of social media users expect responses to their queries within 24 hours
- 85% of Facebook users expect a response within six hours
- 64% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour
If you use live chat, you have to be even faster. On these platforms, customers expect a response within 48 seconds.
Most companies aren’t meeting these expectations. The average response time on Facebook is almost 28 hours, and the response time for Twitter is even longer: over 31 hours.
When you’re faster than that, people start to remember you as the company that’s there for them.
4. Create a community.
Human beings have an innate need to belong. It’s why they’re loyal to their families, schools, church groups, and neighborhoods. Brands try to tap into this search for belonging, and many are succeeding.
Consider the Rapha Cycle Club, a social group built by cycling apparel retailer Rapha. They host a variety of social events, from community rides to global summits, and sponsor cultural events like expert lectures and film screenings.
The Harley Owners Group (HOG) works similarly, though it's been around for much longer. Members of the HOG can get involved with local chapters, participate in ride challenges, and receive free branded merchandise when they attend Harley rallies. Through the HOG and its 1,400 local chapters, Harley has built a global brand that feels like a club.
You don’t have to be Rapha or Harley to create this kind of community. If you’re a local business with a community following, consider hosting a weekly meeting or class.
Online communities also work, especially if your customer base is more spread out. Your main goal is to position your brand as a meeting point for like-minded people.
5. Emphasize your values.
Values are a major component of belonging, which means they’re a major driver of brand loyalty. Consider Nike’s “Just do it” motto: in three words, the brand communicates the mindset of its entire consumer base.
According to UK creative agency Fabrik, your brand’s mission should be:
- Unique to your company culture and identity.
- Recognizable in everything you put out into the world.
- Connected to the choices you make as a brand.
- Memorable enough for your customers to express it to others.
The more specific your mission is, the better. Anyone can “promote integrity” or “put customers first.” Explain how you live your mission. Use details to prove that you walk the walk.
6. Start conversations.
Many companies, if not most, think about how to build brand loyalty through social media. They post announcements, offers, coupons, and more.
In doing so, they might get more people to click "buy," but they're missing the social aspect of social media.
Being social means having mutual, back-and-forth conversations. Creating these conversations on social media is a simple way to strengthen your relationships with your customers, and all you have to do is pose an open-ended question or prompt:
- Which of these new styles do you like best?
- Tell us what you’ll do with the money you’ll save!
People will answer questions like these. They'll respond to each other. Join in on the conversation and you don't just have a marketing push. You have a relationship.
7. Reward loyalty.
Customers don't just want companies to say "thank you for your business." They want the businesses they patronize to show their gratitude, ideally with financial incentives.
- 87% of consumers prefer brands that have loyalty programs.
- 46% of customers have increased their spending with particular companies to take advantage of loyalty rewards.
- 64% of brands notice that more customers are signing up for loyalty programs.
- Loyalty program participants spend 12% to 18% more per year than non-participants.
- 69% of customers cite loyalty program availability as a reason for choosing a certain brand.
For extra loyalty points, customize your loyalty program so it works for multiple customer profiles. Starbucks is a great example: it recently revamped its star rewards program, introducing lower-tier redemption offers so that customers could earn rewards in fewer visits.
The program’s personalized “bonus star” also helps. By tracking subscriber purchases and offering bonus stars for purchases of products that the customer has favored in the past, Starbucks encourages further consumer engagement.
The result? More than 16 million people now participate in the program, which drives approximately 40% of revenue at Starbucks stores across the United States.
8. Focus on the product.
Loyalty programs and online communities are great, but they’re no substitute for a high-quality product or service. In fact, according to a 2018 survey by Yotpo, a company’s product is the biggest driver of brand loyalty. It’s more than twice as important as a great deal.
9. Produce relevant content.
In 2020, 69% of the most successful B2B companies have documented content marketing strategies: a 4% increase over last year. These strategies keep companies connected to their customers.
The more attention content gets, the more it becomes a "must" rather than an “extra." These days, if a company doesn’t provide its customers with relevant content and offers, more than half of customers will consider leaving. Conversely, when brands show that they understand customer needs, 56% of customers will consider themselves loyal to that brand.
Of course, high-quality content is time-consuming. Creating a high-quality post takes almost four hours, a 65% increase since 2014. To meet higher customer expectations, bloggers need to research more in-depth information and incorporate up-to-the-minute SEO techniques.
It’s not impossible to keep up, but it does require savvy use of resources. For example, you may not be able to hire an in-house writer, but there are cost-efficient outsourcing options that didn’t exist a decade ago.
In life and business, relationship matters, and relationships take work. Investing in brand loyalty means showing your customers that you care, asking them what they need, and responding to their requests.
Create conversation. Make it clear that your customers are an important part of your community. Earn their loyalty and you won’t just keep great customers. You’ll create brand ambassadors that spread the word and expand your community. It's one of the most satisfying ways of driving growth that you'll ever see.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Nicole Wiegand.