Connect With Your Customers

Build long-term customer loyalty by listening to your customers.

In today’s cluttered media environment, you might have noticed that it’s harder to get and keep customers’ attention. Customer loyalty is increasingly difficult to maintain.

According to Luc Bondar, one of the marketing industry’s foremost experts in loyalty marketing, the reasons are threefold:

Customers face communication overload, so if you’re putting out the “same old, same old,” they are probably shutting you out. Customers are increasingly filtering out all marketing messages, except for those that have relevance and meaning to them. This makes it harder for marketers to communicate and connect with those customers.

Customers have so much choice that they are far less likely to remain loyal to any product or service. They are more likely to be promiscuous, jumping around and trying new products and brands.

The speed at which competitors can replicate even the best product or service is much shorter than ever before.

It’s More Than Great Products
What this all means is that customer loyalty is becoming less dependent  upon your products and services and more dependent upon the relationship customers have with your company.

By more effectively connecting with your customers, and by understanding what is relevant to them and what they need, you have a much better chance of building a relationship that leads to long-term customer loyalty.

How do you do this?

  1. Get to know them. Your customer base is unique to you. Invest in marketing communications that allow your customers to provide you with feedback on what they are thinking.
  2. Listen to what you hear.  Use your customers’ feedback to develop insight into their needs and wants.
  3. Talk back. Feed this insight back into the dialog using data-driven messaging so that, over time, you build a stronger relationship.
  4. Do it all over again. Developing customer loyalty is not a once-and-done campaign. It is an ongoing business commitment, and it takes a long-term view. It takes a commitment to nurturing customer relationships over time. From a one-to-one direct
    marketing perspective, there are many ways you can go about this. You can use personalized invitations to focus groups, customer surveys, Web forms, personalized URL’s and other communications that solicit customer feedback. Once you have this data, you can
    wrap it back into personalized newsletters, e-mails, birthday cards and more.

The effort is worth it. Research has shown that strengthening customer relationships over time increases the likelihood that customers will stay loyal, buy more from you and tell people about your products, services or brand.

That’s customer loyalty!

This issue contains articles adapted from “Listening to Customers Leads to Loyalty,” from 1to1Media (www.1to1media.com/video/).