Gaining customer loyalty in the marketplace today is challenging. Not only do you have to cut through the constant barrage of noise and clutter, today’s customers want more engagement, more value, and more effort from the businesses they are choosing to spend their money with.
Increasingly, companies and brands are finding that a good brand name doesn’t ensure loyalty. Brands matter, but only as far as they keep to their brand promise and consistently deliver on what customers expect from them.
Considering all this, marketers certainly have their work cut out for them. Becoming a customer champion – and staying their champion – requires not only a careful and well-thought-out strategy but also consistent effort and a solid understanding of what customers really want. So what are the secrets to being a customer champion success?
Create a Culture of Collective Effort
Marketers can do their work setting up the brand promise and communicating it to customers, but ultimately the success of gaining customer loyalty rests with the other departments in the company – products, operations, administration, customer service or technical.
A champion brand organisation doesn’t operate in silos where each department only focuses on their primary work function, but rather it integrates efforts towards building a customer-centric approach to business. There is an understanding that every customer interaction is an opportunity to win or lose them and every effort is made to win them over.
Create a Culture of Engagement
Working together effectively towards a common goal requires clear communication. Companies that are brand champions are not only heroes in their customers’ eyes, they also have a large degree of loyalty within from their employees. People love working there and are engaged in what they do, and this is achieved in part because of good internal communications.
The real benefit of creating this kind of culture is that it spills over to customer engagement. It makes customer communications more authentic and insightful, as customers are far more open to providing feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.
Think about Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a metric that‘s often used to gauge customer loyalty. It may be great to know the level of customer loyalty, but how is that information used effectively within the organisation? If the NPS drops, who picks up on that and who takes the action needed to ensure that it continues on an upward curve? Top management needs to be as engaged in achieving customer loyalty as much as everyone else, and they need to drive the process from boardroom level.
Create Meaningful Encounters in the Customer Journey
Customer journey mapping is an effective way of collecting useful data on the customer experience, highlighting which touchpoints on the journey are winning over customers. Champion brands use this information to implement small changes that can make a big difference.
For example, a customer journey map may highlight that customers are being transferred more than once when logging a query. Reviewing the IVR and how calls are routed could solve this issue, ensuring that customers get through to the right person or department straight away. But without a customer journey map, this information would remain hidden, customers could go away grumpy from a negative customer experience and simply never come back, and the business would be none the wiser.
If used effectively, customer journey mapping can help brands become champions, because it focuses efforts on doing things that are important to customers and their experience of the brand.
Create Memorable Customer Experiences
There’s nothing quite like a customer experience that leaves you feeling good. While it’s something that many companies strive to achieve, in reality, it rarely happens, which is why it’s memorable when it does.
Creating these memorable experiences is achieved by knowing what is important to customers as individuals and not just having a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about unlocking customer value. It may be true that many of today’s customers are always online, looking for personalisation and speed of delivery, but companies need to ask the question: is that true for all generations of their customers?
Memorable customer experiences are those that meet customers where they are and solve the problems they are currently experiencing. Sometimes it’s the customers who don’t fit the predefined mould that open up the best business opportunities because they create a way for businesses to do something different to gain a competitive advantage.
As the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, becoming a brand champion is likely to get harder. However, businesses that understand the business value of customer loyalty, and make sure there are meaningful experiences at every step of the customer journey, will be more likely to achieve it. People are still looking for heroes – let your brand be their champion.