Winning Loyalty

Consumer behavior is constantly shifting thanks to an abundance of choices and access to information, and the high-value customer poses two challenges for brands: earning attitudinal loyalty (how loyal a customer feels) and winning behavioral loyalty (how loyal a customer acts).

The No. 1 reason a high-value customer chooses to purchase a particular brand is customer service, not a loyalty program. In fact, customer service is considered significantly more important than rewards programs. Think of every interaction you have as a chance to provide customer service to assist the customer.

Below are three ways brands are already working to win real loyalty with technology and digital marketing.

1. Deliver assistance from the very first touchpoint

Assistance should start from the very first sign of intent. According to the recent marketing studies search is the channel these customers turn to first, so it’s important that digital marketers surface the right information, at the right time, across devices.

Having a comprehensive strategy can pay off with your high-value customers. Allstate organized its customers into more than 40 different groups, and used insights to inform their messaging tactics. If a high-value customer who already has auto and home insurance searched for life insurance, they might be connected to a page describing the benefits of bundling policies. This approach paid off: Allstate found that cross-selling existing customers on search and YouTube is 4X more cost effective in generating sales than trying to acquire new customers.

2. Put the customer in control

As exciting as shopping is, the process comes with a certain amount of uncertainty — will my order arrive on time or even be delivered to my door step? Will the product look anything like it did in the pictures? What if I don’t like it in person and want another item?

Not surprisingly, online reviews are the third-most important consideration for choosing a brand. High-value customers research products online before shopping. That reveals how much customers crave useful, assistive information and assurance.

For example: the ability to choose your seat is one of the most fundamental parts of the airline experience, but travelers have no idea where in a hotel they’ll be sleeping. Hilton changed that, letting Hilton Honors members choose their exact room ahead of time from its app. Its app now has an over 90% retention rate.

3. Enable and augment the customer experience

Easing common shopping pain points helps create much needed differentiation in the industry. It’s how your brand goes from selling products to actually improving the experience.

Customer service has always been an integral part of the shopping experience and the creation of loyalty. The difference now is that brands have countless opportunities to provide service before, during, and after a customer visit — and to know what type of service will be most useful. These examples show that digital marketing and technology can help companies exceed customer expectations — and drive both attitudinal and behavioral loyalty — like never before.

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