Brand loyalty is no longer king when it comes to securing a sale. The key is to understanding customer emotions and offering answers that meet their needs.

The death of brand loyalty?

Consumer decisions – now more than ever – are being made online. And that means there’s more choice than ever. The typical customer experience no longer involves going into your regular store – or even visiting it online – and buying what you want. Brand loyalty is no longer king when it comes to securing a sale.

The customer experience now involves contact with multiple sales outlets across multiple channels – both in person and on web and social media platforms. Customers are wooed by offers and promotions, competitive prices and comparison websites. An agile business need to be aware of all these outlets so it can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Even the big-name brands like Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are struggling to retain customers who have been traditionally loyal. In fact, 90 of the world’s top 100 packaged goods brands saw a decline in sales or market share in 2015 – in no small part due to problems with customer loyalty.

Understanding the purchasing intent of customers and the emotions that drive their decision making can help you compete for a greater share of new customers while also retaining current buyers. After all, the hardest part is not making the first sale, but ensuring you make second and third ones. Part of this challenge is capturing their imagination and their emotions.

Storytelling can play a crucial role. Personalizing your marketing, making customers part of your social media strategy and including them in your company’s business journey can all help promote a sense of attachment and brand loyalty.

Behavioral data is another good place to start. It can tell you about the buying habits of your customers and help shape customer loyalty. Understanding ROPO – when customers ‘research online and purchase offline’ – can also provide a solid foundation for pinpointing the ideal customer experience. Google says as many as 4 out of every 5 purchases made offline are researched online first.

Why customer experience is the key

A better customer experience maximizes customer satisfaction, boosts sales and encourages customer retention. It’s that simple.

It’s important to make the distinction between customer experience and brand experience.

Brand experience is about establishing an identity and values for the business and then effectively communicating them to customers and potential customers. Brand experience is a perception people have about your business.

Customer experience is the personal experience your customers have with you and your brand. They will already be aware of your brand values and have an expectation of what it should deliver.

Both brand experience and customer experience matter – here’s why.

For success, you need customer experience to back up and build on brand experience, and to ensure more customers become aware of your brand as a result.

The key is to understanding the customer’s behavior before and after their interaction with you. It’s about offering answers that meet their needs. The customer experience is an emotional journey that takes them from browsing for a product or service through to purchasing and after sales service. They should find satisfaction at every point of that journey.

This emotional side of customer behavior is not always rational and can’t be tracked via traditional surveys or questionnaires. It’s important to use customer feedback to probe the “why” behind their emotions and their consumer choices.

There are different kinds of purchasers that you need to engage with on an individual level:

  • Loyalists are regular customers that come back time and time again. They can make up as much as 50% of your sales even though they’re only 20% of your customers.
  • Vulnerable re-purchasers are regular customers who may be tempted by offers from competitors. You are at risk of losing them. Consider customer loyalty schemes and if they are appropriate for your business. How can you exploit them if so?
    • Switchers are customers who once bought from you but you’ve lost them to a competitor. They may have once been loyal or they may habitually shop around. Hooking customers in early can also stop them shopping around.
    • Utilitarian shoppers look for something that fulfills a particular function at an acceptable price. They aren’t necessarily regular customers or likely to become regular customers.
    • Hedonist shoppers place a high value on customer experience and are happier to pay for it. You can target them with a great brand experience and follow it up with an excellent customer experience.

Understanding the emotions that drive these purchasing decisions can help you boost your sales and retention. Don’t forget that it can cost between 5 and 25 times more to attract a new customer compared to keeping an existing one happy. Attracting new customers ties up valuable resources, so keeping current customers happy should be high on your priority list.

Knowing what attracts them and tapping into their emotions before and after every purchase can help brand loyalty.

Tips to boost your brand loyalty

Use customer feedback wisely: Take criticism as well as praise on board (and thank your customers for it).

Get personal: Feature your customers in your marketing, in your social media and through other channels that actively engages with them (make them feel part of your extended business family).

Reward loyalty with freebies, upgrades, club memberships or other perks to say thanks.

Give them what they want when they want it: Fill their orders faster and more efficiently than your competitors. Offer good customer service that sees them go away smiling from every encounter with your firm.

How Emolytics can boost your brand loyalty

Understanding customer response can be difficult using the pure numbers-based results demonstrated in traditional analytics programs because the impact of emotions can be hard to quantify through numbers alone.

That’s why it’s important to ask your customers for feedback and to use this feedback to improve your business model, including your brand experience and your customer experience.

Emolytics can help by asking specific questions that target emotions, listening to the feedback from customers and analyzing the results.

The unique Emoscore from Emolytics combines all the advantages of monitoring important KPIs such as CES, CSAT and NPS into one efficient package that provides a more rounded picture of what drives the purchasing decisions of your customers. Emolytics surveys, for example, specifically focus on the intention to buy and re-purchase.

Emolytics can be used for B2B customers as well as for direct B2C sales, and is available via web, newsletter and in point of sales channels.

It can help you develop and improve the brand experience you offer your customers, increasing customer lifetime value and turning unhappy customers into valuable ones.

Get started today

Learn more about your customers and how to retain their brand loyalty over the long term. Contact Emolytics today to speak with one of our digital experts.

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