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The task of managing customer loyalty towards products and services has emerged as a focal managerial problem and central push in marketing development, maintenance. or enhancement to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Trust, customer satisfaction. and perceived value are 3 main influencers affecting customer loyalty. When customers have remarkable experiences and strong relationships with a brand, they return and become repeat buyers. Their faith in the brand to meet and exceed expectations builds trust and these buyers – through consistent purchasing, often become more valuable than single, large-purchase customers who only have one transaction episode with a business.

The importance of customer loyalty

Customer loyalty programs increase customer retention. But why is that so important?

  1. 20% of your existing customer base often brings in 80% of your revenue. Increasing loyalty increases your profitability.
  2. Loyal customers spread credible word of mouth which reduces marketing costs.
  3. Some of the most honest and constructive feedback comes from your most loyal customers – those who are invested in your brand.
  4. Regardless of economic factors or new market entries, loyal customers will typically stick to one brand.

What is a Customer Loyalty Program?

Customer loyalty programs are about rewarding returning customers while showing appreciation for their repeat business. These programs gamify the consumer experience by combining humanity’s competitive nature with the consumer’s love of receiving free stuff. The customer is made happy by their reward, while the hosting business rakes in more profits and gains that customer’s allegiance,

How to Use Customer Loyalty Surveys

Keep your customers coming back for more by understanding their interests, goals, and pet peeves.

  1. Ask your customers if they would do business with you again.
  2. Learn about how to earn consumer trust and start getting new referrals. Get your company to the enviable position of enjoying word-of-mouth referrals when you conduct a customer satisfaction survey
  3. Find out what customers like and why they return
  4. Invite criticism with a questionnaire on consumer loyalty that expects brutal honesty

4 Tips for Great Customer Loyalty Surveys:

  1. Use close-ended questions
  2. Keep your questions simple and focused on one event
  3. Get creative
  4. Ask about customer loyalty programs

The Main Antecedents Which Influence Customer Loyalty

From An E-Service and B2B Perspective

Trust

Is vital in many business relationships especially those containing an element of risk, including interacting with an e-vendor. Consumers want to feel that e-vendors won’t engage in harmful, opportunistic behaviours during their transaction. In order to eliminate this risk, online customers generally only make use of e-vendors whom they trust – either through previous dealings with them or referrals from others who have used them.

Understanding the nature of trust and the importance of its contribution to loyalty will leave a major impact on how B2B relationships are developed and managed.

Commitment

The brands that make consumers happy, joyful, or affectionate should prompt greater behavioural (purchase) loyalty and attitudinal commitment (relationship continuity). Commitment is the central construct of relationship marketing.

In the context of B2B relationships, supplier commitment is an important driver of customer loyalty in

Perceived value

When a consumer assesses what is given up in exchange for something, this is referred to as perceived value. In the context of e-vendors, the digitalised product/service is judged based on the benefits (what the consumer receives) vs the customer’s non-monetary costs (what the customer gives) such as time, effort, and mental stress.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction contributes to repurchase intentions, behavioural intentions, customer retention, and customer loyalty. It is often thought to affect the likelihood of repurchasing or reusing the service of a provider.

How Today’s Customers Engage with Loyalty Programs

Your Customer Relationship is a Journey

Today’s customer relationships stretch beyond ‘qualifying and closing’ a sale. Organisations need to start creating customer-centric cultures where loyal customers are born out of consistently excellent engagements. Sales personnel should be taking the time to understand the needs of their customers and guide them through the buying process.

Changing dynamics at different points within the organisation can potentially cause a breakdown of customer loyalty. Loyal customers always know what they can expect at each stage of their relationship with your company, even prior to making a purchase.

Looking for breakdowns in your process

The first step is understanding the journey from your customer’s perspective and identifying opportunities to make their lives easier and improve their journey, thus improving their overall experience. Consider their experience and look to see if they are impacted by any of the following (HubSpot, n.d.):

  • Operational inefficiencies
  • Barriers to communication
  • Internal communication problems
  • Areas where customers go dark or the relationship loses momentum

Are Customers Happy with Your Rewards Program?

An effective loyalty program has the potential to increase customer retention and company revenue. Loyalty programs must be dynamic, enticing, and aligned with an organisation to secure customer participation and engagement in the program.

Here are some tips for understanding whether your loyalty program is working (Ferguson, 2016):

  1. Send digital surveys or polls. At Genex Insights we’re able to help you set these up effectively to gain insights which drive meaningful results.
  • Via text or email considering that you have acquired the necessary permissions in line with POPIA or GDPR regulations
  1. Set up a “feedback point” in your store
  2. Collect feedback at a customer appreciation event
  3. Set up a focus group
  4. Wrap up by implementing the suggestions that customers provide. This will also improve customer retention

Some trends in customer loyalty today

Digitisation, a competitive marketplace, and commodification will make customer loyalty even more important in the years to come. Most of the traditional programs are now being replaced by behavioural-based, highly personalised omnichannel reward models which recognise customers for diverse actions/interactions like store check-ins, social shares, reviews, and referrals.

Here are the other top loyalty trends we expect to prevail in 2020 and beyond (Machado, 2020):

  • The Rise of Emotional and Behavioural Based Loyalty Programs
  • Hyper-personalisation will be the distinguishing factor between Leaders and Laggards
  • Omnichannel reward programs will become the norm
  • Paid loyalty programs will rise in numbers
  • Integration of Machine Learning (ML), Big Data & Blockchain in loyalty programs
  • Mobile loyalty apps will see continued increase in adoption
  • The preference for coalition loyalty programs

Conclusion

In order to attract customers, and keep them coming back, companies need to invest in building company loyalty. By meeting and exceeding expectations consistently, companies can start to build a relationship with customers.

By making smart use of the feedback offered by customers, businesses can constantly adapt their loyalty programs to retain customers. These are the companies who don’t need to compete on price. Instead, they can leverage their strong relationship with customers to keep them coming back.

Get in touch with a Genie today to find out more about NPS and the custom surveys that you can send to your valued customers to gain those much-needed insights.

For all the information you need on Loyalty Modelling