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Ask yourself why you keep going to the same store or to the same retailer’s website to get the items on your shopping list. Maybe it’s price or maybe it’s convenience, especially during a global health crisis. Or it could be because you feel like you belong to a group of people who shop in the same store or on that website. To figure it out, let’s go a little deeper into customer loyalty.
If there was another website or store that offered lower prices, would you switch to that vendor and buy from them? Would you shop in another place if it had the same convenience as the one you normally shop — or would you switch brands if your values didn’t match with that brand’s?
This is where loyalty comes in. We know the brands that have mastered the art of designing loyal experiences. So, it’s important to understand what it takes for other businesses and brands to create their own loyalty experiences. As an experience management practitioner, here are the three practices I’ve seen that win the hearts and minds of consumers, patients, citizens and employees — and create lifelong loyalists.
1. Design the Total Experience
By now, almost everyone reading this blog is familiar with or has done some type of journey or experience mapping. But I bet there are only a few of you who have done what we call “total experience mapping,” which includes these main groups as part of a holistic experience:
Understanding your customers’ pains and needs is a start. But take this idea further; make the connection and align their values to your business values and proposition. Put yourself in their shoes. Be flexible enough to design all your products and services to connect with them. This means meeting customers where they are and showing them how far they can go by using your product and services.
Let’s make it simpler: When you have an idea about your dream house, the first thing you do is hire an architect to put your vision on paper (create a design with all the specs). Then you hire a contractor to build it for you.
It’s the same for your customers. You want to design the experience so their dreams can be actualized. When your dream home is built, I bet you’ll tell your friends about the experience — from the design to the final product. Again, the same goes for your customers. The better you design and can deliver their vision, the more likely they’ll be to advocate for your brand and continue to purchase from you. It’s a creative art and it’s hard to master.
During your design, ensure you connect your brand values to customer values. When you can make that emotional connection, you enable your customers to attach to your brand and advocate it.
2. Personalize Your Experience
You want to deliver a human experience to your customers. You also want to develop emotionally resonant brand experiences that your customers dream of. To do that, you want to know your customer on an emotional level and ensure your employees are empowered and equipped to deliver the human experiences you designed. Simply giving lip service, as the majority of businesses do, won’t connect your customers to your brand. When you’re engaging with customers based solely on price or convenience, you are only at basic table stakes. Personalize the experience to cultivate lifetime loyalty and value.
Before you commit to delivering personalized experiences, be sure these three elements are well-defined:
These three elements should enable you to deliver the personalized experiences your customers want — making them feel like they’ve made the right choice during the purchase and long after. This is where mom and pop business owners know they have an advantage over the big guys; they can offer personalized service to their smaller customer base. This human connection with personalization becomes even more important as both small and enterprise businesses embrace digital transformations. Moving to digital without the human connection goes against brand loyalty.
3. The Value of Deliberate Loyalty
As part of the business, you want to measure the value of loyalty. Because you’re designing a total experience, you want to implement an enterprise-level loyalty metric. When it comes to loyalty, it’s an outcome of many activities and interactions that customers engage with your organization. Long gone are the days where metrics only matter during the sales, use and support.
Your customers’ experiences begin well before that — in the digital space. They’re intertwined as they interact with various functions across your organization. Think about how you want to measure the value of loyalty, what it means for your business and, ultimately, what it means for your customers’ experience. There are many ways to measure this in the industry. The best three strategic metrics are customer lifetime value, Net Promoter Score and brand equity.
You should continue reinforcing your practices by designing personalized customer experiences that are emotionally connected and that your customers value. The payback is that your customers will stay with you — and they’ll tell friends and family to use your product and services, even if there are times when you deliver less than optimum experiences. They are more forgiving and allow you the opportunity to make it right rather than simply leaving.
The cost of obtaining customers is high. You can’t afford to play at the table stakes level. Think of how you can differentiate from your competitors by designing an end-to-end, personalized experience that connects your brand promise to whatever your customer values the most. For more resources, check out Genesys CX Day.
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