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3 Simple Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

Vidya VenugopalanVidya Venugopalan | March 10, 2017

“Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart-the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it – and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.” – Maurice Franks.

Improving Customer loyalty is becoming a major problem for some businesses because it has become much more difficult to achieve. Nowadays, customers are much less likely to stick to a single brand because they have so many other options but also because of the amount of information available to them. This means that companies need to become more proactive and creative in earning the loyalty of their customers.

The good news is that increasing customer loyalty doesn’t always involve complicated and expensive endeavors and campaigns. When it comes to loyalty, the devil really is in the details because a lot of small things done really well can achieve a lot more than doing one big thing. So, let’s take a look at three simple ways you can increase customer loyalty.

Place the Focus on Your Customers



Most companies today are customer oriented but there aren’t that many that really place the focus on their customers in the sense that the customer is at the center of everything they do, which is the definition of being customer-centric.

If you can switch from just being customer oriented to being completely customer-centric, you’ll find that customer loyalty increases exponentially. By placing the spotlight on your customers and ensuring every decision taken in your company is centered around the customer, you’ll find it much easier to deliver exactly what your customers want and even exceed their expectations.

Remember, loyalty originates in the human heart and it’s hard to earn someone’s loyalty if you don’t show them you care. A customer-centric approach, though, will make it much easier to actually show your customers you care throughout every touchpoint and every interaction. It’s more a change of mindset than anything else, but it’s an incredibly powerful one.

J.C. Penney has taken advantage of this approach and, as a result, they’ve made a major comeback, with sales increasing significantly.

Myron E. Ullman, the company’s CEO, explained, “We are focused on earning the loyalty of our customers by delivering on our compelling customer proposition.”

So, to this end, they have been earning their customers’ loyalty by providing exclusive offerings, a better customer experience and offering quality private brands, i.e. by listening to their customers and ensuring every decision they made was based on the needs and desires of their customers. After these changes were implemented, the company saw an increase of 4.4 percent in their sales for a single quarter at the end of 2014.


Show Your Customers That You Hear Them



Many companies listen to their customers but very few actually hear what they’re saying. And since customers aren’t stupid, they can figure this out pretty quickly, especially when they are constantly asked for feedback but they never see any action being taken on said feedback.

Even if these companies did take action on the feedback they received from their customers, the lack of follow-up means the customer wasn’t aware of it. Though, to be honest, in many cases, nothing is actually done.

If you want to earn someone’s loyalty, you need to show them that not only do you hear them but are also committed to them by solving their problems or taking their ideas into account.

Chipotle is really good at showing their customers they hear them, which is one reason they’ve become one of the leading providers of fast-casual dining solutions. Another is because their customers like that the company uses mainly local, naturally raised food.

In terms of showing they hear their customers, a good example is the “Cultivating Thought” endeavor from 2014 that included messages from great authors such as Malcolm Gladwell and Toni Morrison. The interesting part of all this is that the initiative was the result of a customer mentioning he’d like something to read while eating at one of their restaurants.

And that’s how Chipotle treats all customer feedback, which is likely why they’ve grown so big. In 2014, after the “Cultivating Thought” initiative was launched, the company’s revenues grew by 27.8 percent. Of course, it’s not all because of a single endeavor but all the small things they do to show their customers they hear them on a regular basis.

Make Things Personal



To earn someone’s loyalty, that person first needs to like you. A person is more likely to be loyal to someone they like and with whom they’ve developed a relationship, which also applies to brands. Customers will be loyal to brands with which they’ve built a personal, mutually beneficial relationship, and this generally means associating a person with the brand.

That’s why it’s important that your brand has a person associated with it who interacts on a personal level with your customers. This will make it much easier for you to build a long-lasting relationship with them. On the other hand, if your business is nothing more than a logo to them, those feelings of loyalty are much more difficult to develop and nurture. Since we’re all human, mistakes are bound to happen, and people forgive a person much more easily than they do a logo.

Additionally, by establishing this relationship, you will be in a better position to personalize your interactions with them, which is essential to building loyalty. It’s much easier to earn someone’s loyalty when you constantly make them feel special and that’s exactly what personalization does.

But also remember that loyalty is a two-way street. If you want loyalty then you have to give it too.

“When you can show concern about what matters to your customer, that’s Business-to-Customer loyalty, and you can bet on it, you’ve just acquired a customer for life.” – Albert Houtum Schindler.

One of the most important things to remember with customer loyalty is that it’s not something you earn once and that’s it. It’s not a one-and-done situation. You have to keep giving your customers reasons to stay loyal every day, which is why it’s essential to adopt a customer-centric mindset if you want to succeed over the long term.