Brand loyalty is crucial for sustainable growth. Building an audience of loyal customers who make repeat purchases and promote your brand via word-of-mouth marketing is a goal for many businesses.
Gaining customer loyalty requires a mix of quality products, excellent customer service, meaningful brand values, and outstanding customer experiences. Let’s take a closer look at the role of CX in driving loyalty.
Before a customer becomes a loyal brand advocate, they must complete an initial purchase that creates a position impression of the brand.
Trust is crucial in this part of the process. Trust can support the initial purchase decision and comfort the customer in the fact that they picked the right brand. In fact, trust is a key factor in 80% of purchase decisions.
A positive customer experience builds trust by showing that you have the customers’ best interests in mind.
Creating a Personal and Memorable Connection
CX can anticipate a user’s needs by delivering content or functionality that supports the buying journey. It can also surprise and delight customers by helping them discover new products and explore personalized content.
Designing your site, app, and other channels with customer experience in mind creates a more personal and emotional connection. When every touch point feels tailored to the needs and expectations of the customer, this emotional connection turns into customer loyalty.
Besides relying on personalization, brands increasingly use nostalgia and storytelling to engage customers and create emotional responses. These interactions feel memorable and result in customers immediately associating the brand with a specific feeling, product, or service. This phenomenon ensures strong brand awareness, even if the customer doesn’t make a purchase right away.
As the customer further interacts with the brand and encounters more moments that generate an emotional response, this bond will deepen and result in long-term loyalty.
Compared to customer retention, acquiring a new customer tends to be four to five times more expensive.
Customer loyalty directly supports the bottom line since these customers are highly likely to make repeat purchases.
Customer experience is crucial for retention. If a customer knows that a brand will consistently meet their expectations through carefully crafted or personalized experiences, the brand will become a go-to choice.
Good CX can also re-engage a customer who hasn’t made a purchase in a while by creating a clear path to learning about new products or interacting with the brand.
CX and Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is a pillar of sustainable growth. It’s a way for brands to increase awareness and generate sales without investing in marketing campaigns. These recommendations also help establish social proof, an important factor that supports trust when a prospective customer researches the brand.
Customers are likely to tell friends, family members, and coworkers about a quality product they enjoy using, but they’re just as likely to tell others about a positive experience they had.
Storytelling is a common strategy used to connect with customers, but everyone loves telling stories, and customers will tell the story of their buying journey if CX made it positive and memorable.
Poor CX Can Hurt Loyalty
The internet has changed the way we shop and research brands. Comparing prices and options is easier than ever, and customer loyalty can be hard to retain.
Research shows that, for 54% of customers, it only takes one bad experience to abandon a brand. This percentage is even higher among young consumers.
Marketers also have to account for increased expectations from consumers. A bad experience isn’t coming across a rude customer representative. It only takes a frustrating website design or personalized email that doesn’t feel relevant for a consumer to consider an alternative.
Customer experience is a building block for gaining customer loyalty, but it’s just as important to focus on CX to prevent negative experiences that could hurt loyalty and retention.
Improving brand loyalty should be a priority for marketers, but this goal can feel challenging to implement and track. Focusing on concrete factors like product quality, customer service, and customer experience will result in a sound strategy that directly supports customer loyalty.
A great place to start is to assess the current CX and use data to measure how well it meets customers’ expectations before identifying new experiences and touchpoints that could enhance the buying journey.