Have you got a good thing going on with your customers? Do they stick with you through thick and thin? Would they turn their noses up at a competitor, totally incensed that anyone would ever try to come up against you?
Okay, perhaps your customers don’t need to be that loyal, but customer loyalty is still an incredibly valuable commodity for your business. Like any relationship in life, being able to count on your customers to keep coming back gives you a certain sense of security, and a sure-fire sign that you’re doing something right.
In this blog, we’ll talk you through what customer loyalty looks like and why it’s so important, run you through nine of the biggest benefits of customer loyalty, and throw in some examples of customer loyalty in action.
We might even give ourselves a little plug to finish things off (but only because we’ve got some top-notch customer loyalty software you really need to know about).
What is customer loyalty?
Loyal customers will camp outside your competitors’ headquarters with ‘boycott this brand’ signs, ready to deter would-be purchasers, and filter them your way.
Just kidding. That would be weird.
Customer loyalty is simply a reference to someone’s willingness to buy from you again because they were so pleased with what you brought to the table first time around. Loyal customers are the ones who keep coming back, interact with your brand on social media, talk you up when friends and family are asking for recommendations, and even pay more – simply for the pleasure of buying from YOU.
Customer loyalty feeds into your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which is a measure of how valuable a customer is to your brand throughout the entirety of your relationship. And because it costs a great deal more to attract new customers than it does to retain existing ones (it’s five times easier to retain customers than it is to attract new ones), increasing CLV by establishing customer loyalty is a brilliant move for your business.
Why is customer loyalty important?
In today’s overly saturated marketplace, brands of every shape, size and sector are continually competing for attention. Customers are bombarded with messaging from dawn until dusk, and so any brand that manages to make a real connection with its consumers – so much so that they keep coming back for more – really has hit the holy grail of marketing.
Customer satisfaction is big business; particularly in these digital days, when all our thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences end up plastered over social media for all the world to see.
Loyal customers are the biggest and best brand advocates you can have, and the most likely to shout about you to family and friends. In fact, 77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after a single positive experience. Add to that the fact that 52% of customers go out of their way to purchase from brands they’re loyal to, and 43% of consumers pay more for products of brands they’re loyal to, and you should start to get an inkling of why customer loyalty matters so much.
A whopping 81% of consumers want to form a relationship with a brand, so let’s do a bit of a deep-dive into why a focus on customer loyalty is great for business. And don’t forget, that a core part of building customer loyalty is seeing each one as a human. People want to be treated as an individual, not a data point.
9 benefits of customer loyalty
- Customer loyalty creates more profits
Increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts a company’s profits by 25% to 95%! It’s far more beneficial (and profitable) to retain your existing customers than it is to attract new ones. Customer retention is cheaper than customer attraction, and existing customers are far easier to sell to – and they spend more! In fact, loyal customers spend, on average, 67% more on products and services than new customers.
- Customer loyalty leads to deeper relationships
Standing out is the name of the game in today’s hyper-competitive market, and one of the best ways to do that is to establish a meaningful connection with your customers. When you focus on increasing customer loyalty – over and above making new sales – your customer-centricity becomes enticing. And once a degree of trust is established, you’ll find it much easier to keep commanding consumer attention.
- Customer loyalty drives repeat business
When customers know and love you, buying from you becomes second-nature. You’re the natural choice for loyal customers – even if competitors are coming in strong with a lower price. And while we’d always encourage you to invest in your customer relationships and never miss a beat when a negative encounter occurs, 46% of loyal customers would purchase from a brand even after a negative experience.
- Customer loyalty increases ROI
We’ve already established that it’s five times easier to keep hold of your customers than it is to convert new ones, and that existing customers are likely to spend more, but loyal customers are also your marketing department’s dream. When customers are invested in your brand, they’re naturally interested in and curious about new products and services, and more likely to order products in bulk. So, as well as being easier to sell to, they’re easier to sell more to.
- Customer loyalty boosts CLV
Remember what we said about the importance of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)? Sure you do, it was only a few hundred words ago. Anyway, we’ve got another killer stat for you to chew on: research has shown that loyal customers are worth 306% more to your business (yes, THREE HUNDRED AND SIX PERCENT MORE), than their non-loyal counterparts across the entirety of their lifetime. Boom!
- Customer loyalty builds brand ambassadors
The absolute pinnacle for any brand when it comes to improving brand awareness, brand recognition, and share of the market is to have customers doing a lot of the hard work for them. And loyal customers just love to bring friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances, pets, and that lady they always see in the supermarket along for the ride. It’s also worth noting that a recommendation from a trusted source is worth more to a potential customer than an online review.
- Customer loyalty returns valuable insights
Companies love data – and we don’t blame them. The more info you have on your customers, their purchasing decisions, and their buying habits, the more you can target them with personalised offers, hard-to-ignore incentives, and well-timed reminders. If you have a customer loyalty program, the data this creates is invaluable – far more so than a one-off purchase from a new customer. Customer loyalty programs are also a great way to seek actionable feedback!
- Customer loyalty strengthens your employer brand
Let’s face it: in today’s world, people care about your reputation far more than they used to – and that goes for job seekers, too. It’s a tough market for talent right now, and employers need every advantage they can lay claim to. So, picture this: you and your fiercest competitor are trying to recruit the same candidate; one of you has a fiercely loyal customer base that waxes lyrical about you on social media, while the other rarely attracts repeat business. Which brand holds the most prestige for new recruits? We’ll leave that one with you.
- Customer loyalty boosts workplace morale
In much the same way that customer loyal strengthens your employer brand out there in the jobs market, it also increases employee satisfaction. People want to work for a brand that people love and are loyal to – it looks better on their CV, and they feel part of something positive. So, invest in increasing customer loyalty, and you’ll see workplace morale follow suit.
Examples of customer loyalty
Whatever your feelings on pumpkin spiced lattes, you must admit that Starbucks knows more than a thing or two about increasing customer loyalty. Through its rewards program, the coffee giant has generated an astonishing $2bn, and grown membership by 25% in the space of two years.
By tapping into what matters most to its customers (knowledge they can easily glean from all that customer data), Starbucks has incentivised its reward members with exclusive early access to highly anticipated seasonal drinks, free birthday drinks for gold members, and the power to order ahead and jump the queue. And because points can be accrued to unlock different levels of rewards, customer loyalty is all but guaranteed.
The Boots Advantage card has one of the best rewards programs in retail: with four points for every pound spent, card holders can amass as many points as they have the patience to build, before splurging them in store. But the real beauty of the Boots Advantage card is in its personalisation: the card collects data about what the holder spends their hard-earned cash on, and tailors offers to suit.
The Advantage card also keeps customers coming back with special points days, extra benefits in Boots Parenting Club and Over 60s Rewards, and even access to lower prices! With those kinds of rewards, it’s not hard to see why loyal customers will often pay more to stick with a brand they love.
Of course, you don’t have to go down the customer loyalty program route if that’s not your bag; it’s just a great way to build customer loyalty. But a focus on top-notch customer service, putting customers at the heart of your business, and personalising the services you offer can all work just as well.
How can Forsta help?
Understanding how customer loyalty can benefit your business is all well and good, but how do you find out what your customers think about you? With Forsta’s customer experience survey software, of course (we did warn you there’d be a plug in here somewhere). But before you switch off, let us quickly clue you in to how it can measure customer loyalty.
By presenting all your data as a complete story, our software allows you to easily see the root cause of any issue that may be creating tensions with your customers; we can also show you what your customer sees through our interactive dashboard – giving you a customer’s eye view of every point in their journey. You’ll understand the full human experience when it comes to each of your customers and their relationship with you.
The bottom line? Forsta makes your customer data easy to analyse and simple to act on. You can track product performance, share best practices, and make decisions based on what your customer wants.
That’s loyalty, in the bag.
Your customer loyalty journey starts here
Increasing customer loyalty is an incredibly lucrative business. But it also feels good to know that you’re doing something right, right?
You’re not going to get very far in business without loyal customers by your side, so get to grips with how your customers see you now, and get to work on creating a level of loyalty that’ll make your competitors weep.
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