Customer loyalty and customer experience go hand in hand
A loyalty programme sounds like such a good idea. By letting customers save for wonderful incentives, you stimulate repeat purchases and create customer loyalty. That is the idea anyway. However, no matter how good your savings programme is, a negative customer experience can largely undo the positive effects. In my view, customer loyalty should not stand alone but be part of the total marketing mix. In this blog, I will give you some tips.
A simple example. Suppose a customer is saving for a lovely towel set at a well-known supermarket chain which is a reason to go there more often. But what if their favourite vegetarian burger has not been on the shelves for three weeks due to poor stock management? This creates a negative customer experience which creates the possibility that the customer will eventually choose to go to another supermarket, despite the attractive loyalty programme.
“Positive interactions throughout the customer journey are the foundation of a long-lasting customer relationship.”
Loyalty as part of a multidisciplinary approach
As far as I’m concerned, loyalty is not something that only your marketing department deals with if you want to do it right. It should be part of a multidisciplinary approach aimed at maximising the customer experience. Think of stock management, the accessibility of your customer service, the UX design of your webshop or app, the findability of products and services on the website, the payment options you offer, the length of the ordering process, and so on, all preconditions must be met.
From the first contact to the actual purchase and afterwards: the interaction with your company should be a positive experience throughout the customer journey. This creates trust and forms the basis for a long-term relationship.
3 tips for synergy between customer loyalty and customer experience
With the following tips, you can ensure that customer loyalty and customer experience form a more cohesive whole:
Tip 1: Interact with your customers
Ask your customers regularly how they experience your service. You can do that in different ways. For example, verbally, via a feedback form on your website or by checking your social media. You cannot get a realistic picture of this from an ivory tower, you have to hear it from your customers.
“It’s a fact that customer loyalty is no longer just based on price or product.”
Tip 2: Form a loyalty team
Of course, something must actually be done with the signals you receive from your customers. Form a loyalty team that will work on this and meet regularly to review the current state of affairs. It works best if this includes people from all parts of your organisation, not just marketing! This makes it easier to arrive at the desired multidisciplinary approach. The great thing is that they can also include experiences from their own daily work.
Tip 3: Align the online and offline customer experience
It is disastrous when the online and offline customer experiences differ too much. In the past, you often saw that people had very positive experiences offline and then were greatly disappointed because they did not have the same experiences online. Today, in general, the opposite is true.
As a construction wholesaler, you may have arranged everything perfectly online and your customers can effortlessly find the materials they need. But if they come to your physical store and nothing is in stock and no one is available to advise them on alternatives, that is quite demotivating. The online and offline customer experience should not be separate worlds.
Customer experience is key to customer loyalty
To conclude, customer experience is the key to customer loyalty. It is a fact that customers, also in the B2B sector, no longer base their loyalty (only) on price or product. A fantastic, consistent customer experience leads to loyal customers who feel a strong connection with your company. At the same time, this means that the customer experience can also be a critical factor: your loyalty programme only works optimally when it is appropriate. So ensure that your customer has the desired positive experience at all moments of the customer journey, regardless of the channel, and make loyalty part of the total marketing mix.
Do you want more information?
If you are interested in this topic, send me a PM and we can chat about optimising customer loyalty and customer experience. Or download onze white paper for practical tips for a good customer loyalty strategy.