I hope this blog post can help you.
Aside from being a blogger, I'm also a marketer by profession and just like any marketing professionals, I am really curious about how we can turn customers to brand ambassadors and evangelists. As a blogger, I also realized that the lesson about customer loyalty is not just applicable to businesses but also to blogs and online community. I hope by sharing what I learned you can also get valuable inputs on how you can attract, engage and keep customers for your businesses and in someways for your blog too.
Unique Buying Situation dictates brand choice. To be honest, it was my first time to hear about this concept and I'm happy that Jojo Ajero explained what it is all about. He shared that UBS affects loyalty. For example, you are an avid Max's customer but near your office, you only have Jollibee and with only 1 hour lunch break, you might as well choose Jolibee where you can have your order in a few minutes over Max's where you might wait for a while until you have your table. Because of the customers' unique buying situation, brand choice is affected. More than the branding and marketing communications, one must also consider the operations in order to understand the customer's UBS and come up with an appropriate resolution.
Surprise your customers from time to time, you'll never know how it can positively affect their lives and their love for your brand as well. Sometimes we tend to be more comfortable with people around us that we forgot to give them something or do something fun for them. More than the monetary value, it is really the thought that counts. I remember at Avenue Plaza Hotel, a simple gesture like greeting the guests on their special days made them feel special. Leon Legothesis, one of the global adventurer/author/TV host I follow surprised me last year when he sent me a copy of his book with dedication. Simple things and surprises can make costumers feel closer to your brand and somehow it can also make them share the good things about you to their family, friends and networks. I really like this Christmas surprise and who knows, our local airlines can do something like this too. If you haven't seen this video last year, you can watch it now. :-)
Offer something exciting, fresh and something new to your customers, added by Mullinix. He stressed that discounts and sales are not always the answer. In a survey result, he said that while it is true that 90% prefers cash discount, without it people start to factor in service. This only means that "offers" should not be limited to sales promotions. For customer loyalty, check what really matters to each tier and craft that offer to specific segment.
Manage painpoints. Top management must be able to identify not only the touchpoints but also the painpoints. What hinders customer to fully experience your brand promise? Look at your customer journey, check if you can enhance the sequence of touchpoints and eliminate painpoints. Train and re-train your staff. Evaluate their performance and be consistent with the delivery of your service while not forgetting about the need to identify your customer painpoints which results to irritation, disappointments and even anger. Do you know what hinders your target market from engaging with you? What makes your customer hate your brand? Can you identify the things they dislike about you? If you get to know the painpoints and answer these questions, it will be easier for you to turn your weakness into strengths and increase ROI in the end.
Relevant communication. Communicate.Communicate.Communicate. DO IT RIGHT.
You need to say the right message to the right market at the right time using the right channel in the right tone. Yayu Javier emphasized the importance of constant communication with customers based on their profile and behavior. Andrew Roth also mentioned about 1-to-1 email instead of mass email which many marketers are guilty of doing. Communicate, not only to your customers but also to your employees and team members. Mitchelle Patel said that many businesses roll out campaigns without explaining the "whys" to their employees which results to customer dissatisfaction and in worse case, loss in business.
Offline engagement is as important as online. With the online buzz, some marketers forget about the importance of in-store and offline interactions. We must learn how to integrate and marry all our efforts across all channels to optimize efforts and achieve desired results.
Yield. At the end of the day, companies aim for costumer loyalty because it keeps the business alive. Many still believe in the Pareto Principle but only few knows who are the 20% that makes up for 80% of sales. In order to have a yield, everyone must look at the operations and not only in the marketing side. As shared by Mullinix, one can look at the Recency, Frequency and Value (RFV) to grow your existing customers. Jojo Ajero also concluded that a company can only make money if it knows how to together 3 things; Business model, Demand model and Core Competencies.
Aspiring rewards also motivates people to marry your brand. When thinking of loyalty campaigns and programs, make sure that you have something for each tier. Do not only focus on acquisition but also focus on retention. Make it more enticing for your target to be part of your program. It is better to have point system because people aspire for rewards compared to rebate system or money back where people have the tendency to switch because it is easy for them. Make rewards enticing, not too easy yet not too hard to redeem. As advised by Yayu Javier, it is ideal for points to be redeemable within 6 months. Personally, my Top 3 favorite reward program include the Laking National Card of National Bookstore, Starbucks Card and also the Happy Plus Card program by Jollibee and its sister companies because earning points is not complicated and I can easily redeem the perks & rewards. So far, even though I always use my SM Advantage card, I don't really feel its effect aside from occasional discount. Maybe I should check how I can optimize it.
- Establishment Mix (linked errands)
- Competition Mix (direct competition)
- Substitution Mix (indirect competition)
- Olfactory Cues
- Visual Cues
- Auditory Cues
- Traffic Volume
- Safety & Security
- Drop-in Features
YOUnique. Sometimes, no matter how tedious and demanding, you have to reward and recognize your most loyal customers one by one. Yes, it might be hard to compile all their preferences but the key to personalized service is attention to details. When you are able to manage your touchpoints and train them to be skilled in collecting data your customers generate and you track it, personalized customer reward and recognition won't be impossible to do. Going back to email blast, it is easier now to send triggered email when you use the right software. This means being able to send a newsletter with your customer's name and not just the generic Mr.&Ms. You can also greet them on their birthdays and special occasions. Imagine what would your customer feel if you are able to recognize them and address them personally. In the hospitality industry, this is commonly practiced by properties with world class standard and focus on excellent service and I don't see any reason why other industries shouldn't do it. Starbucks also give you the chance to personalized your coffee and the barista will treat you warmly. In this age of information overload and seamless communication, your message will likely be noticed by the recipient if its directly addressing him and makes him feel special even in little ways. Focus on making your customers feel unique and important, the same manner you project your uniqueness among your competitors. Let the story of Million Mile Joe inspire you. :-)
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Watch this video and see how a brand managed to surprise, reward and change the life of one of their loyal customers.
"Take good care of your customers and realize the power of one.
Evangelists are enthusiastic advocates who are loyal to you and will speak good things about you even when you don't tell them to."
As for my solesearchingsoul blog, I will apply what I've learn and map the user journey to make this blog and my other website more engaging for you and to your networks. I'll work on some reconfiguration to make browsing easier and come up with more relevant contents too. As for the rewards and perks, I'll be having a grand giveaway so stay tune as you join me in my sole searching soul journey.