A successful business applies careful attention to customer care at all points of the sales and servicing process. New leads must be cultivated and acted upon while current customers must be served efficiently and respectfully.
However, some of the greatest successes occur at the point when other businesses may believe their job is done: post-sale, when the most fiercely loyal customers are created through diligent and earnest programs of building customer loyalty.
A customer who has willingly granted his or her loyalty and enthusiasm to your brand is a customer you can count on for repeat sales, consistent referrals and the willingness to stick by your products and services — even if competitors introduce cheaper, better or more appealing brands of their own.
While building brand loyalty among existing customers, businesses should be careful to avoid placing too much faith on these three enduring myths of brand loyalty:
- MYTH: Customers are interested in and sincerely want to have relationships with brands. Customers want many things, such as high-quality products and services at reasonable prices. Research indicates that more than 3 out of 4 customers aren’t interested in creating a relationship with a brand. People buy from people.
- MYTH: More interactions with customers will improve customer loyalty and strengthen the business/customer relationship. While it is true that businesses need to follow up after the sale and make an effort to keep in touch with their customers, too much interaction will tend to overwhelm or even annoy customers. They can be given too much information, which will turn them off.
- MYTH: Regular engagement with a brand will create customer loyalty. Repeat engagement with a brand creates familiarity but not necessarily loyalty. What customers are looking for is a set of values, attitudes and points of view shared between them and the brands they support with their loyalty. For example, brands that stress environmental friendliness and other green issues are likely building brand loyalty among customers who share a concern for the environment.
Is your brand loyalty program effective enough? What could you do differently to avoid the three myths and improve customer retention and dedication to your brand?
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