What do you think of when you think of customer loyalty? Is it that "a customer gives you all of their business?"
While this could be true, it could only be the case that it happens because your business is a monopoly, or the customer is using you out of habit. Customer loyalty should be more than this, and this blog post has been created to help you find out how.
Secret 1 - Loyalty comes down to emotions
There are two parts to understanding customer loyalty through emotions; loyalty is a form of attachment and loyalty forms because of what you do.
Loyalty is an emotional attachment
When you ask anyone who they are loyal to, they will often say close friends or family, this is because they are emotionally attached to them.
Loyalty forms because of what you do
Your actions build the emotional attachment. For example, if you have a significant other, you did something to make them feel attached to you.
When youre thinking about emotional attachment as a form of loyalty, you need to think about whether they can get that attachment from another source. Think of it like your family, you have an emotional to the members of your family. If you were approached and offered to swap them for another, cheaper family, its likely you wouldnt make the swap. This is because you wouldnt have the emotional attachment to the new family, even though it makes more financial sense.
Over the course of your lifetime, youve built up an emotional attachment to your family. Its based on the relationships you have, the history you have together and the time youve spent together.
You may not agree with everything that your family has done over time, but youre still attached to them because you have a history with them.
Loyalty is a function of memory
When you go to make a purchase with an existing supplier, you need to remember your last transaction with them and how you felt that went.
This can be linked to the Peak-End Rule, which says that what you remember after an experience is the peak memory and how you felt after the experience has ended. These peak memories can be positive or negative.
This peak memory can also tie back to the emotions that were felt at the time of the interaction. If you want to keep customers coming back to you, you need to understand these emotions.
If your business defines customer loyalty by the frequency of purchases, or by the volume of purchases, youre not really tracking loyalty. Youre just tracking habit. Habitual purchases and loyalty can look the same, but they have different processes behind them.
The problem with loyalty programmes
Take a look at what weve now discovered about loyalty, that its emotional and derived from good memories, now think about the loyalty programmes youve seen. Most loyalty programmes offer customers money off with discounts and vouchers, but all this does is offer them an incentive to go back. Its not really loyalty.
A good way of knowing if your customers are loyal to you is by asking if they would recommend your business to others. If its highly likely that they would, then theyre loyal to you and arent just going back because theyre getting discounts for being "loyal".
How can you gain more loyalty?
Theres no sure-fire way you can gain more loyalty as every customer will be different. But the best way that you can manage it is by not using any short-term tricks or loyalty programmes, these can sometimes have the opposite effect and can drive customers away.
The best way to keep people coming back is to keep offering a consistent service, a good product, and an amazing experience. These are the things that people will remember and use to create emotional connections that can lead to loyalty.