Marketing efforts of convincing a customer to buy your product/service (which is the primary objective and a pretty hard mission to accomplish) becomes redundant when you have accumulated a loyal customer base. Marketing than just focuses on informing the customers about the new products/services launch.
Apple Inc. is very good example to understand how big difference can a loyal customer base could bring to the company. The regular Apple customers AKA Apple fanboys are experience Apple products delivers to them. In such scenario, the marketing efforts aren’t required to redundantly convince them about how good their product is, they just informs about every new product they launch. Such customer relations and impressive brand loyalty has played a major role at establishing the company as one of the richest companies in world with more than $150 billion cash.
Thus, brand loyalty could make difference of billions and you wouldn’t want to miss such opportunity in your business, if it also gains you an extra dime and more importantly loyal customer base.
1. Keep Your Promises
Marketing messages, customer calls, publicized reports and predictions, etc. are the way have made your promises. For an average customer, you are what you say you are. They don’t understand the intricacy of running a business. They don’t understand the fact that sometimes, even if you are willing to deliver the best in the market, some factors on which company has no control on can effect your decisions and implementations. Maybe they would learn about them later but for the initial period, you would loose your credit. So, even if it is a small one, make your promise after a lot of thinking and divert your marketing efforts to create an authentic representation and impression of your company.
Customer could have come to you through your marketing efforts, by recommendations or could have just walked into you inquiring for your products and services. In any condition, never falter at delivering what you promised to deliver in your marketing. A regular customer creates a company’s image and service expectations through the advertisements.
For instance, on the billboard if he sees the picture of two fresh, healthy looking apples for a reasonable price and comes to you expecting same, you should give what you promised. If he gets two apples, but not so fresh and of low quality, the impression of your company turns into a very bad experience which he never forgets and determines to not purchase your product or services again.
That is not one customer you lost. Apart from the customer and his future purchases, you have lost mouth publicity which would have been carried by that very customer to more than a dozen other people, who were might not be in the area of your marketing efforts. You have also wasted your money and time invested to bring that customer at your door. And what you have gained is a dissatisfied customer, probably negative publicity through his mouth to the same crowd he knew and an added customer to your rival companies.
So, every customer is similarly important for the consequential effects to boost or break your company. Always deliver what you said and get a satisfied customer. And that’s the best return you can have apart from the financial gains.
2. Proper Customer Care
After sale services like consultations, solving queries and other services needs to be delivered. If done correctly, it increases the customer’s trust hugely. Customer gains a sense that your company isn’t only interested at seizing the money but also looks up for a sustaining relationship.
Such care is the first impressive step which inclines the customer to become a loyal customer. So, either the issues is raised by a thousand customer or by a single one, listen and mend every single one of them for the sake of your own improved quality and trust – if that’s your utmost priority, which in every case, ought to be.
3. Consistent Price-Segment
But, the point to remember is not to become greedy when you have the upper hand and customer are forced to buy from you. As soon as they have an alternate, they will fly from you in an instance.
Thus, if you want to keep their loyalty for your brand intact, competition or monopoly, keep your prices in a reasonable segment, so the customers know that you aren’t taking any kind of advantages for their helplessness and their dependency on your company. When the customers realizes this, it will be a huge boost for the brand loyalty.
4. No Compromise With Quality Products/Services
But generally, they are expecting it. Actually, that’s the whole reason they are buying anything, to own a good product. If that promise is broke, you are pushed towards the ‘cheap products’ segment and would find it hard to re-establish yourself in customers’ mind to be the manufacturers of qualitative products.
Never compromise with the quality of your product or services. Whether your customer is aware of the defect or not, never let a poor quality product get out of your warehouse. Instead it should be going in the recycle unit.
Even in old times of no internet, after given enough period, the secrets, mistakes, hidden truths and other hidden things had come out in public and companies had loose their credibility in their customers and shareholders’ eyes.
In the age of internet, any scandal does not take more than 24 hours to catch on in the headlines in the whole world. Thus, before customers catch you selling poor quality products and loses trust even from your good products and your brand, check and recheck your production methods to deliver the best.
5. Listen to the Feedback and Advices and Return the Appropriate Credit
Your product is fine, you are delivering what you promised to and your customer is also happy with it. What would be your next move? Keep selling the product, right? Right, but to an extent. As soon as your product lags behind your competitors products in terms of quality and new technology, your loyal, hard-earned customer-base would also be forced to divert to other options as they always pursue after what they think is the best option for them.
In such cases, when you are selling your product well-enough (especially when not) listen to the feedback customers are giving you. It could be from their dissatisfaction of some parts of the products, or they could be suggesting new improvements in the next instalment of the product. In every scenario, instead of looking at it as just one customer or a little bunch of customer’s opinion, evaluate the suggestion and gauge it and if the suggestion deserves the attention and would ultimately improve the product then apply it.
Also, if improvements based on suggestion and complaints become successful, award the proper credits to the suggestions or reward them appropriately.
This whole deal will create a new trust among the customer and they will be much more ready to purchase the next products of the company as they know that their opinions are listened.
6. Brand Experience
Many marketing and product designing experts claim that one should focus on delivering a great overall experience instead of just focusing making a sale. The claim says that, if customer, at the end, feels great by using the product or the service, he does not even consider to get to an alternative, as he is already feeling like the product/service is fulfilling more than he expected.
This is called Brand Experience. From the beginning to the end, if the customer is happy with his whole experience the plus point goes to the brand value and in this way, the Brand Experience gains trust.
Thus, from the selling part to customer care and afterwards on every step one should think out through for a great singular experience. That’s one of the major reason Apple has sold more that 75 million iPhones.
7. Perform Beyond Their Expectations
In an ideal, healthy scenario customers will be buying from you and are returning to you. They know your company and product well enough and they are getting everything they expected. Thus, not before long, they start to take those conditions for granted and does not think much about it. The feeling of satisfaction comes down to a normal state.
In such scene, to boost up the brand loyalty many levels up, perform or delivere beyond your average customer’s expectations. It could be as small as giving out free coupons or could be granting a large chunk of your profits to your shareholders. Such giveaways attract and impress the average customer to a great degree and realizing your wish to deliver something good to them for no return will establish a good reputation. Their loyalty and faith in your brand replenishes fresh.
8. Take Responsibility For Mistakes and Apologize
Do not run from your mistakes. If you have made mistake inevitable from reaching to the public, get a bugle, go in public, blow it and tell everyone about your mistake and also apologize hugely – even give them something as a compensation. That will be a huge lesson for both parties: you would learn that mistakes are costly and should be more careful about it and customers/shareholders will learn that you are not hiding from your responsibilities.
Instead of letting the news spreading around on its own and projecting a false image of your company, it is better for you to take mistake in open and also mention the steps you already have taken to mend it. Maybe in the beginning, you will see some despise and people will talk about it for a while; at the end, your loyalty and transparency to your customers will bring back their trust and faith you after understanding that you meant no harm to them. Such steps reward in long term.
9. Perceived Quality
Sometimes you are delivering the best product in the market with all the technological research and background support to make it impeccable. But what if, the customer isn’t able to perceive the product truly due to poor marketing or other reasons.
Also, in some other cases, your brand and marketing strategy is good enough, but if your rival is applying negative marketing against you, then they can destroy the whole image of your product in the customer’s mind or can have better impression of their poor product. Thus, perceived quality is how an average customer sees your brand regardless to the truth.
To keep the perceived quality persistent and positive, have a robust marketing strategy, reply to every queries and look out if your rivals are trying to destroy your image.
10. Always Review and Improve in All of Above
Above mentioned steps are able to boost customer loyalty to a great extent if followed and implied properly. But, you can’t take them always for granted as according to time, some techniques would go redundant, some would need a restart and some new ways would be required to insert into the list. Always review and check your techniques and imply improvements. It will be a continuous process with regular intervals in between.
These are the most common factors which affect the brand loyalty. Keep an eye on them and gradually you will have a customer base ever ready to buy your products.