I recently wrote a post on the truth about customer loyalty. That truth, which I stumbled across in an excellent article by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, is that customers aren’t exhibiting loyal behavior when they buy the same products over and over. People return to a product because the buying process is simple and automatic, and they haven’t encountered a reason not to purchase it.
In short, it’s good experiences that keep customers “loyal” and bad ones that push them away.
What you say about your product or service matters, but not more than the experience it delivers. Once you get your foot in the door, the rest is about keeping that door open.
With the truth about customer loyalty in mind, I came up with a few concrete ways it impacts your marketing strategy.
An Altered Psychology
If the real reason customers remain “loyal” to a brand is the human brain’s desire for automaticity, marketers need to recognize this altered psychology and more importantly, that it changes their outlook on marketing.
I said it last post on this topic and I’ll say it again: marketing messages still matter. A lot. But there’s a need for more care and consideration when crafting those messages.
Here’s a staggering stat: according to a new study by Deloitte, 89% of customers in the US and UK said they make decisions based on customer experience ahead of price and product.
It’s not about promising the lowest prices or the fanciest features, or saying and doing absolutely anything to sell.
It’s not about convincing existing customers to keep purchasing your product or service over and over. They already want to do this.
It’s about grounding your marketing message in reality, trusting your product and delivering the exact customer experience your customers expect.
Build the Experience With Your Marketing Message
A poor customer experience is usually the result of a disconnect between what a brand says it will deliver versus what it actually delivers.
Once you set an expectation, you have to meet it because 82% of people will not do business with you after an unresolved poor experience. No businesses can survive that kind of turnover.
So how can you deliver great customer experiences?
It begins and ends with your marketing message. Every brand has the power to promote an honest message about their products and services, but sometimes marketers get caught up in the promise.
We think customers always need more, and at the best possible price. Customers want these things, but not at the expense of a great experience.
Treat your marketing message like both an opportunity and a responsibility. You have the opportunity to set yourself up for success by crafting the right message. You have a responsibility to your customers – and to your brand – to be honest about your products and services.
Building great customer experiences starts with your marketing message – just make sure it doesn’t end there.
Deliver Your Promise
This leads to another question: what exactly is a “great” customer experience? Put simply, it’s an experience that matches your marketing message.
If you know your products and services have certain capabilities and other limitations, promise only the truth about what you can deliver. Even if what you promise is less impressive than the competition’s, if you keep your promises, your customers will be happy.
All you have to do is be honest. It might sound amazing to say you product does A, B C, D and E. If the reality is your product doesn’t yet do E (even though you plan on building those features in the future) – don’t market it that way!
If any part of your experience fails to meet the expectations you set up for your customers, they will view it as a poor experience. Breaking any part of a promise – even one small part – is still breaking a promise.
And broken promises never make customers happy.
The frustrating thing about brands delivering poor customer experiences is they have all the power. It seems like a simple concept, yet so many brands lose sight of what’s right in front of them.
When it comes down to it, customers want simplicity. They want to discover a product or service and buy it again and again when they have that need. It’s human psychology.
We don’t want to go through the same process every time we need something. When we are satisfied with a product or service, our brains tell us, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!”
It seems like an oversimplification, but it isn’t. Promise what you can deliver, deliver it, and enjoy the repeat business. It is, quite literally, science.