There are many purchases we put off. Let’s face it, there is nothing sexy or exciting about organising home insurance, getting your car serviced or buying new tyres – I could go on with this list, but you understand my point.
Let’s think about the brands who provide these begrudged products and services, you may be one of them. These brands have a real challenge on their hands, how do they win customer loyalty if they sell a product or service that customers, put simply, hate to buy?
We think the answer lies predominantly in the customer experience, however, you can only deliver unique personalised experiences if you truly understand who your customers are.
Not threats, but opportunities
There is no denying that retail is tough. However, macro and micro threats should not be viewed as excuses for a brand to fail, rather as opportunities for a brand to thrive.
The opportunities lie around how a brand can differentiate themselves from others who provide the same product/service. How can they enhance their customer experience and brand identity to make customers want to choose them above anyone else.
Here are our top tips on how to drive customer loyalty:
Make it personal
We cannot stress enough how important personalisation is to customers. You’re a customer yourself, think about the brands who make you feel like an individual. Now put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think of how you can truly recognise them (as an individual, and not a number or a transaction).
Understand the customers frustrations and remove them.
Bridgestone tyres send automated online booking reminders to members of their Bridgestone benefits program. This is to remind the customer that their tyres are due for a check up. With a few simple clicks, their car can be booked into a local branch – this saves the customer having to remember such a mundane task.
Know the customers purchase history
Particularly if your product is based around a routine or predicted time frame (such as our earlier example). A dentist, for example can be contacting patients to schedule a check-up, ask about a recent filling, root canal etc. rather than wait for the patient to contact them when something goes wrong. Let’s be honest this approach might make us actually visit the dentist for our supposed bi-annual check ups.
Anticipate future needs
The more you know about your customer, the stronger personalised experience you will be able to deliver, so much so that you will come to learn their future needs (before they have even realised it themselves).
Keep it simple
Make it painless/easy for the customer – there is nothing worse than trying to schedule an appointment, and for the booking process to be a complete nightmare. Think about the end-to-end customer journey and take away any pain points for the customer.
Be one step ahead of the customer
Use your customer data to schedule reminders, send personalised automated communications, triggered at the right time, and via the customer’s channel of choice.
Time is precious. We tend to not want to commit to doing something we really don’t want to do. Recognise this in your marketing, showcase your ability to deliver prompt, swift and professional service.
Showcase the solution (benefit), not the features
Remind your customers what the outcome will be, the end result and how it will benefit them. For example tyres = family safety reassurance, dentist = long term health, insurance = there when you need it.
Remind them of why they are making the purchase and that it’s something the customer can tick off/won’t have to think about for a while (until you remind them for next time!).
Enhance the experience
Make it memorable – leave a lasting impression with the customer. This will ensure they not only return, but will recommend your brand to their friends. Create a signature experience, a unique offering only your brand delivers.
Make it fun
When did you last buy a new mattress? Can you remember where you bought it? Mattress experts Casper have created a truly unique customer experience. They keep their customers engaged with their snoozeletter and blog which is all sleep focused content. They even have a chat box for insomniacs. This is such an innovative, fun way of keeping their customers engaged – you can be sure they will be front of mind when the customer is ready to make a new mattress purchase. Another example is a local car wash, they have designed a retreat (coffee shop) for their customers to relax, read the paper and have a complimentary hot drink whilst their car gets washed. This links back to the ‘time is precious’ reference. By doing this, they are giving their customers something they probably don’t often get – ‘me time’.
Add additional value
The wrong type of customer program, often these are points or discount based loyalty programs, might only lead to reduced margins and unrecovered cost to establish and manage. Rather, think about how you create a customer program around what your customers will actually value – think beyond points and discounts. A customer program should be designed to keep customers engaged with your brand throughout the purchase lifecycle.
Retailers are already facing many challenges in today’s competitive market, customer retention has never been so important.
There are many ways you can drive customer loyalty – even for an undesirable product. Don’t give customers a reason to want to shop around. Get to know them, only then will you be able to deliver hyper-personalised experiences – which will ensure they keep coming back.