Written by Sean McPheat |
Many clients we deal with don’t think about this important question often enough. They will spend lots of time advertising for new customers, while existing customers visit only once or filter out the back door without saying goodbye.
We can think of our customer going through four stages of the buying cycle.
Firstly, there is the ‘random experience’, the one-off visit that might result in a good or bad incident, often driven by chance, with little intent involved.
Then there’s the more predictable experience...the customer has been through the process with you before, so there’s a bit of consistency and intentionality about the experience.
The next stage is where the customer feels safe in repeating the buying experience with you. They have seen the value of your services and see the differentials you offer. They may even decide to also tell others about you.
The fourth stage, though, is where loyalty comes in. This is where you carefully and intentionally design services that meet customer wants and needs, are consistent in providing for those needs and differentiate yourself from the competition with those products and services.
So ask yourself:
What experience am I creating for my customer?
Is it valuable and different enough to make the customer feel they are doing the right thing in being loyal to me?
What promises do I make to them that I can build on?
Can you buy loyalty? If you’re referring to whether you need to offer discounts, create more short-term offers and campaigns, or beat the competition on price…this may work in the short term.
But the most effective way to buy loyalty is to create a real reason for your customer to want to use you more often.. and that comes from building a valuable and differentiated brand image.
Originally published: 14 July, 2010
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