Customers are Loyal to Experience, Not Your Brand

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Customer loyalty. What does it mean to you? As a business owner or executive, no doubt you use it to measure success. When customers are loyal, they are more likely to spend with you on a continual basis. Which explains why a ton of effort goes into driving customer loyalty -- in fact, you could say everything a business does is focused on securing that. But I venture that customer loyalty no longer exists. And here’s why.

Today’s customers are loyal to the quality of experience they have with brands. Great customer experience? They stick with you…until you fail and then, with a tap on the screen, they move on to the next business that promises to do better. They are not loyal to your brand – in fact, in a recent Harris Poll 71 percent of adults said that after just one bad experience, they would likely never use that brand again.

It’s not brand loyalty that’s up for grabs, it’s experience loyalty.

As a digital CEO, I believe digital must be a brand’s way of existing and staying relevant in today’s world -- how you connect with, interact with, care for, compete for and embrace customers at every touchpoint. Digital is the new normal. It’s where we live and experience large parts of our lives today. And on digital, our customers expect personalized, caring, easy interactions with brands that leave them feeling highly valued -- and always on the platforms of their choice. This is the new status quo.

When those expectations are not met, customers move on. The Harris Poll also revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 adults (87 percent) agree they would look elsewhere if a brand made them unhappy in any way. Second chances are few and far between, which means brands must get this right the first time.

So, how can you deliver a better overall customer experience while creating happy customers at every touch point?

1. Focus on customer experience just as much as (if not more than) your product. Product matters – but when it comes to happiness, experience matters more.

2. Pay attention to all digital touchpoints along the customer journey. Are your customers getting the same experience on your website, Facebook page, and eCommerce site? They absolutely must. Always be consistent.

3. Quit talking and focus on delivering a better experience. Big promises of being a “customer-centric brand” are empty if not followed up with action. Actions and experiences tell the real story. So, talk less and deliver more experiences that make the customer happy.

4. Be fun, be loveable, and speak to your customers as they would want to be spoken to. It’s easy for customers to walk away from brands that speak in corporate jargon. It’s much harder for them to walk away from a brand they could equate to being your less-than-perfect best friend.

5. Empower your biggest advocates to share their happiness. If it takes more than one click to share a great experience, that’s one click too many. Happy customers want to share their happy experiences, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

6. Pay attention to digital behavior. You use Facebook, but your target customers use Snapchat. Bridge that disconnect by building relevant digital customer experiences into everything you do as well as in every place your customers expect you to be.

7. Help your customers learn. Happy customers are naturally curious, so feed that curiosity. Take your customers on a journey from happy to informed.

8. Don’t mess up in the first place. Easier said than done, right? It only takes one snag to change perceptions. Your customers believe you are in the driver’s seat of your brand’s end-to-end experience. So, take control of that experience – and make it a positive journey from start to finish.

When you shift your focus to creating awesome experiences for all of your customers, you’ll find the right strategies that connect you to them in ways that matter. Make the experience with your brand so exceptional that they’ll never want to leave.

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