What is customer loyalty?
What does customer loyalty mean to you? What does it look like? Is it that one follower that double taps all of your Instagram posts and responds to your Instagram stories with the fire emoji? Did you gauge customer loyalty by the length of the line of people to your store on opening day or on the night leading up to your latest tech release pre-pandemic? Is customer loyalty that one person who has the burning desire to purchase at least one item from each seasonal collection “for collection’s sake?”
Maybe. If you are a hype beast brand, you may ride the wave of scarcity marketing and internet buzz to keep shoppers coming back for more each drop. But how do you measure customer loyalty if you are not surviving by going viral on TikTok?
When customer loyalty is palpable
I have seen customer loyalty first hand. I had a professor in my university that was German-born and worked in Germany for much of her adult life. I recall her telling us how her parents and grandparents only purchase vehicles from the German automaker, Volkswagen. The people’s car was what her family exclusively purchased and owned for decades at a time.
I can vividly remember the conversation that ensued when a different university professor was shocked at our unwavering support of the return of Blue Bell, the God-sent Texan ice cream company, after a recall due to a listeria risk. The students, myself included, were discussing how quickly they can go buy a tub of ice cream when they are restocked. “Oh, I’m going to go get some Blue Bell first thing in the morning,” somebody would say. “I’m going before class or before work before they’re all gone!” someone else would say, hoping they wouldn’t miss out on this historic and joyous moment. The professor literally asked if we cared about the recall and she was met with a resounding “No” from her students; we were thrilled for their return.
How does a customer turn into your customer?
So how do you achieve this level of loyalty from your shoppers? In our Blue Bell example, which I look back on with thoughts of jubilance, we were all connected to the brand in that it was a proud Texan company made not too far from our city. (Our professor was from up north and didn’t understand the strength of Texas pride baby.) Our international business professor from Germany and her family had a deep connection with that specific German automaker and enjoyed driving and caring for their vehicles knowing the brand is taking care of them.
It is one thing to prefer a specific company over another and another to only give your business to one specific company. I am one of five children and we all needed glasses for various reasons (thanks Mom and Dad.) We have exclusively gone to the same optometrist’s office in Houston for over 25 years now. I have personally benefited from this ongoing relationship with extraordinary service and in kind services for our prolonged business with them. If you’ve met me before, you know I live and breathe Lebanese cheese bread; we get our cheese bread from the same place for over 25 years and have zero intentions of looking elsewhere for the delicious bread as we have no reason to do so. My family has a very close relationship with a friend of the family who happens to be an attorney and, believe me, he is the first on the scene for our family. You can’t expect for your customers to value you if you don’t first show that you value them.
Showing that you value your returning customers can look like an in-house rewards program, in-house card deals, an invite to a private showing or tasting, a discount on future purchases or access to products that are made in limited quantities. As a shopper who has experienced all of these perks, let me tell you, making your customers feel heard, seen and cared for will go a long way for loyalty building.
Building a fervent following locally is what every company hopes for as a foundation for reaching customers nationwide and having your branding impact the global market. Customer loyalty (and customer satisfaction) can be seen in the customer’s reviews online, their recommendations of your company to others by word of mouth or over the world wide web and by their purchases to replenish a product or to explore your offerings. You may not want a huge line of people in the heat and in close proximity to each other for liability reasons these days, so how do you expect and want to see your customer’s unwavering support? Are you providing quality products and services and after sales services that are worthy of a follow, a double tap and share? Contact Heritage Writing Co. to build your customer base and customer loyalty through social media!