For the Love of Loyalty: How to Retain Customers

Roses are red
Violets are blue
When it comes to loyalty
Acquisition is nice
But retention matters too

Valentine’s Day is Sunday and commercially propagated sentiments of love, loyalty and lasting relationships are in the air. Whether you’re a V-Day softie or skeptic, you have to admit it would be a missed opportunity not to use this Hallmark holiday as a vehicle to talk about how to court and keep the magic alive with your customers. Keep reading for our advice on this subject that’ll make every interaction with your brand feel like the first time (wink).

There’s a lot of emphasis on acquisition when it comes to loyalty programs, but what about the customers you already have? You reeled them in and gave them certain expectations about the relationship ahead. Are you going to deliver on your promises? Are you going to commit, or just let the spark die out?

eMarketer recently reported, “Memberships in loyalty programs are expanding rapidly while active participation in programs is falling.” It takes minimal effort to sign up, but just like any other relationship, the easy, honeymoon phase is short. Programs that are merely a means for distributing price discounts without consideration for the customer’s individual needs are building brand loyalty on a superficial level. If you want to grow old with your customers, it’s time to move beyond the transactional, and get emotional.

Sometimes what you’ve been searching for has been in front of you the whole time. The habits and behaviors of your existing customers, especially the ones with the highest lifetime value, can tell you a lot about how to have more successful relationships in the future. Consider your best customers’ process on the way to making a purchase: the devices they browsed on; the offers that resonated with them; and the items they eventually bought. If you weren’t sure before, this data should leave no doubt about what your brand should strive for in a relationship.retain-customers-with-loyalty.jpg

When you recognize you’ve found “The One” don’t wait to let her know how much you care. Show that customer how much she means to you now, at the moment of impact. You know she likes chocolate, so why not hit her with a push notification for an exclusive discount on a sampler box when she walks in the store?

Those personalized touches can go a long way. 62% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a more personalized service or experience (AdWeek). And Forrester reports personalized messages result in a fivefold increase in engagement. Keep in mind that time is of the essence when it comes to making these gestures. And you may find that for many of your customers, anything less than real-time is too little, too late.

They say if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be. While we can’t make any promises about forever, we’re certain that, armed with our advice, your brand won’t have to leave long-lasting customer loyalty to fate.