Loyal customers are the holy grail for your business.
They buy more. They cost less to service and maintain. They tell their friends and family about you. And they will tend to overlook it when you have a bad day and don’t quite perform at your best (which as a human, is quite possible).
Because loyal customers are so valuable, you’ve got to put some serious work in to earn them.
But when you think about how loyalty works in your own personal relationships, the concept is easy to understand with regard to your customers.
Loyalty is earned through relationship. Family members who’ve loved and selflessly cared for you, friends you’ve shared your deepest secrets with, and colleagues who’ve battled in the trenches with you are all people you’d probably break through a brick wall for. They are people you’re not going to just ditch when something new and exciting comes along.
You want to create that type of bond with your customers.
A bond that inextricably links you to their life. A bond that makes them have a bit of a meltdown at the thought of it being broken. A bond that transcends the transactional nature of business and connects the two of you at a deeper, more emotional level.
There are ways to do that with your marketing, by focusing it on building a relationship with your customers (more on that below).
And you can earn loyalty by prioritizing delivering remarkable customer experiences as a component of your marketing mix.
Why you can’t afford to ignore the experience your customers have with your business
Increasingly, great products and services aren’t enough to earn loyal customers. Especially in crowded and noisy markets where there are constant pulls for your customers’ attention. Studies show your customers are exposed to more than 10,000 marketing messages a day.
Add to it all the other things vying for their attention, and standing out is becoming more of a challenge. That’s why unremarkable experiences, even when customers are satisfied, are soon forgotten. As a result, it makes it easy for your customers to try out other options to get their needs met. No bueno.
Your customers are craving experiences that shock them from the intoxicating lull of the status quo and make them take notice.
Thus, it is no surprise that one research report showed 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a customer experience. That same study found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
What a remarkable customer experience look like in practice
There is no one right way to delight your customers. You have to do what works best for your customers based upon what you know about them. And then of course, you have to align those insights with your business’s strengths to deliver something that feels right for you.
The good news is, there are plenty of examples of companies who’ve done a fantastic job delivering defining moments that will remain ingrained in your customers’ minds and hearts. Check out the following articles for a bit of inspiration.
I’ve eaten more of my fair share of cupcakes. And I’ve been to plenty of ATMs. But never had I been to a cupcake ATM that dispensed the good stuff on-demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a dangerous invention. But also a brilliant one. As a result, I told all my family and friends about it, and made several runs to the cupcake ATM because it was just that cool. The cupcakes were delicious too. Photo by Joseph Gonzalez.
What happens when you put a NYC subway train where it doesn’t belong? A remarkable customer experience
To wow your customers, you’ve got to do things that are out of the norm. And it is definitely not “standard procedure” for people to get on a waiting list for the chance to get on a NYC subway train. Check out what makes this one so special, and I haven’t been able to get enough of it yet. Photo by Andre Benz.
Delivering remarkable experiences doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Delighting your customers can be as simple as a smile or a kind word from one of your team members at just the right time. A few years ago, an unfortunate incident caused me to have to live in a hotel for two months. During my time there, the hotel staff did a number of things to make a challenging situation a joyous one. Photo by NordWood Themes.
The key to earning loyal customers isn’t rocket science. And to prove it, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos breaks it down very simply. It’s a philosophy his company lives by, and one of the driving forces behind why it makes more than $100 billion annually. Jeff Bezos and Amazon know a thing or two about how to keep customers coming back. Photo by Aaron Burden.
Delivering remarkable experiences isn’t just about giving your customers the feels. There are practical business benefits to it that will help you sell more of the products and services you offer, including attracting customers who may not have paid you any attention otherwise. That’s one of the reasons Nike prioritizes creating experiences. Here are more reasons why you should do the same. Photo by FuYong Hua.
Barriers to delivering remarkable experiences on a consistent basis
Even though focusing on delivering noteworthy experiences pays many dividends, many companies struggle to do so. They get caught up in bad habits that keep them from creating those experiences that show their customers that they care on the regular.
Boredom and remarkable aren’t really two words that you hear put together often. But there is a link between them, proven by research, and your ability to deliver remarkable experiences your customers can’t get enough of. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters.
I don’t know very many people who strive to be mediocre. And I’m also not in a hurry to give my hard earned money to a business that makes me feel like they are giving me a mediocre effort. But too often that’s what many companies do. And their results suffer for it. Here’s how to fix it, so you can ditch mediocrity for remarkable. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon
Playing small and delivering remarkable experiences don’t really work too well. But getting comfortable with what you’ve always done and what has worked in the past is an easy way to find yourself stuck. If you want to stay relevant to your customers, you’ve got to evolve in your approach so you can serve them like none other. Here are four ways to get the fuel you need to do so. Photo by Robert Hickerson.
Most businesses don’t realize they are pushing customers out the door. If they did (and cared), they’d surely make the effort to stop the occurrence. In your quest to get your ideal customers to come back to you again and again, you’ve got to create an environment for them that makes them feel like they belong with you. Here’s how to do it. Photo by Hanson Lu.
What you need to make remarkable customer experiences your norm
There are a few key ingredients you need to become the kind of company that your customers can’t get enough of. Devoting your attention to these areas will better position you to win more customers, earn their loyalty, and enjoy yourself in the process.
Want more help? Drop me a line at sonia at soniaethompson.com and we can start the conversation.