Customer Loyalty What Does It Mean To You?
The Financial Times states that Customer Loyalty “ can be said to have occurred if people choose to
use a particular shop or buy one particular product, rather than use other shops or buy products
made by other companies. ” In other words, it is the likelihood of a customer returning to you for
repeat business. Much has been written on the true costs of obtaining new customers, as opposed to
hanging on to the ones you have. Your customer base leads to further sales and a growth in your
company, which needs to be kept strong throughout. Customers can also recommend you to new
potential clients, so your reputation is based upon how well you treat them. But how can customer
loyalty be achieved and who should be in charge of this undertaking.
The ultimate goal with any customer loyalty programme is to become the favoured brand for that customer. You can achieve this through:
- Loyalty Schemes
- Outstanding customer service
- Excellent product offering
Ideally, you’d aim to achieve all of these attributes. But each customer is different and will value one of these qualities above the others.
Who Is In Charge of Customer Loyalty?
Marketing and customer service departments are usually considered the most important for dealing with customer loyalty. You may even have a customer loyalty department dealing with reward schemes or loyalty cards. But should you consider every department in your business an extension of the customer loyalty programme? Yes. Every department from Billing to Creative should buy into the idea of customer loyalty. Each job or task should be undertaken with the express wish to do such a good job that the customer will return for more. It’s not just a case of completing that task, it should be done with a view that you will see that customer again.
Have The Right Mindset
Think about your loyalty programme as more of a club and what you can do for your customers to
improve their experience with your brand, rather than focusing on what they can do for you. Having this mindset will lead you to success in this area.
Research also shows that keeping an existing customer is much more cost and time effective than attracting new ones and they also tend to place bigger and more frequent orders. Gartner Group research has claimed that “80 per cent of a company’s revenue is generated by 20 per cent of its existing customers and that a simple five per cent increase in customer retention can increase profits by between 25 and 125 per cent. In addition, it costs at least six times as much to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one and repeat customers on average spend more and convert more easily.”
Stand out from the competition
There are so many different benefits to offering a loyalty scheme. TLC Marketing has stated “you need your customers more than they need you” and this is very wise notion to live by. They also quote that “almost 65 per cent of UK consumers have used up to three loyalty schemes in the last 12 months.” Competition between businesses is fiercer than ever and implementing a strong reward scheme for your customers may persuade them to choose you over another brand.
Customers can easily change their mind and switch to a different brand if you are not meeting their
needs in the right way. This can have a detrimental effect on your business as any bad reviews can
also deter new clients from using your services in the future. If you please a customer they are likely
to return to you for further business and refer friends or colleagues to you as well.
Which loyalty scheme is the best?
A loyalty scheme can be achieved in various ways and this may be implemented via a points system
based online or on an app, or a physical loyalty card, or even both. It completely depends on your
type of business and what works best for you. For example, Starbucks loyalty programme has been a
huge success. MyCustomer has stated “As part of the programme, customers can order drinks via a
mobile app, as well as check their balance and loyalty points. This has resonated with the audience,
with membership doubling from 4.5 million in mid2012 to 9 million by the end of 2013.