[Guide] The Social Media Management Maturity Model

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Published July 1st 2021

Customer Loyalty: Tips For Success

Loyal customers are the backbone of any good business. How can you ensure you’re making an effort to build a base of repeat customers? Let’s explore.

When you think about customer loyalty what comes to mind?

Visions of rewards cards and loyalty programs are probably dancing around in your head. While that’s part of the equation, customer loyalty encompasses more than that.

What is customer loyalty, and why is it important?

In the age of social media and online review websites, your best customers are your most important asset. According to Qualtrics, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Praise (or complaints) from your loyal customers is often the first thing customers see when appraising your business.

Not to mention, positive customer word-of-mouth is a big advantage when trying to attract new customers. When customers like your brand, they talk about it. An American Express Global report found that 90% of American customers share their brand experiences with others.

This is pretty exciting news when you consider over 81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies.

Clearly, loyal, satisfied customers are one of your most powerful marketing tools. But how can businesses inspire this kind of continued support?

What builds customer loyalty?

At the end of the day, consumers are looking for the best price points. While there is definitely nuance here, our recent Customer Loyalty Report found that when discussing top retailers in the US and UK, consumers were highly motivated to advocate for brands that offer affordable prices.

Approximately 40% of consumer brand advocacy discussion around top retailers mentioned staying loyal to a brand because they offer quality products and fair prices, making it the top reason consumers promote top retail brands online. Businesses that can compete on price AND quality are in a great position to inspire loyalty among their customers.

But while customer loyalty does tend to encompass savings and rewards, customers today are increasingly interested in what companies are doing behind the scenes.

Is your company actively contributing to social justice causes? Does your business consider sustainability in packaging? Are your employees treated well? 

Delivery is also a key reason why someone might advocate for a brand. Social posts mentioning delivery made up approximately 20% of all advocacy discussion for top retailers in the US and UK, according to Brandwatch data.

Ironing out issues with delivery should be a key priority for retail brands in 2021 – it’ll lead to happier, more loyal consumers, more online advocacy, and less online detraction

How to build customer loyalty

Action #1: Invest in product quality

Poor quality products was the third biggest topic in consumer detraction conversation around big retailers. And grocery items were the top product mentioned in negative quality discussion, with many consumers posting that they will not shop at a specific brand due to poor quality food items.

We also found consumers discussing shopping at more local businesses because they felt the quality was better than similar products at large retailers.

It’s always important to note that priorities may not be uniform across different groups. For example, GWI survey data in the Customer Loyalty Report reveals a key correlation between consumer age and the reverence they have for product quality. While quality was a top reason for all age groups on why they’d promote their favorite brands online, it was particularly resonant for those in the 55-64 age bracket. 53% of these respondents selected ‘quality products’ compared to just 46% in the 16-24 age group.

Action #2: Show that you care 

A January 2021 Zeitgeist study conducted by GWI found that 52% of consumers wanted to see brands creating products with less packaging and 51% saying they wanted to see more products with recycled packaging. And our own data shows that when companies make the effort to change for the better, customers notice. 

Consider what sustainable changes you could make – you could even ask your customers directly in a social poll or email campaign. If you’re already making some earth-friendly moves, why not consider upping your game as well as shouting about those moves in your marketing? 

Whatever your approach, ethically-sourced products and services are here to stay.

Action #3: Scale up your delivery options

The pandemic showed us the real value of delivery. Whether you’re ordering toilet paper for the apartment or groceries for your grandparents, brands that provided this essential service won a lot of loyalty points in the eyes of customers. 

Brands that didn’t keep up with delivery demand suffered the consequences. Almost half of consumer detraction discussions analyzed in our report (47%) came from negative posts about delivery delays or an inadequate amount of delivery time slots offered by retailers.

Delivery is also a key reason why someone might advocate for a retail brand. Solving issues with delivery should be a key priority for retail brands in 2021. Businesses that have yet to implement any form of delivery should consider making the leap or risk being left behind. 

Since delivery is so big in both advocacy and detraction conversations, ironing out issues is win-win.

Action #4: Listen to understand

There are plenty of brands out there that listen, but there are significantly fewer who actually hear and act on what the customer is saying.

When your customers can see that you are hearing their concerns and actively finding solutions, they are much more likely to keep coming back for more.

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