Have you ever heard someone say that your customer’s gratitude is more important than their loyalty? How is that so? A customer’s loyalty is a guaranteed way to keep selling your product or service sell while their gratitude isn’t going to pay the bills.
In reality, customer gratitude is much more important than their loyalty.
Your brand may want loyal customers that buy more, pay more, and refer you to their friends more often, but your business should be looking at why consumers are switching brands and providers more often than ever before.
Here’s a look at why your customer gratitude trumps customer loyalty.
Why is loyalty less important?
Companies sometimes offer loyalty programs that push consumers to stay committed for a longer period of time. Whether it’s a subscription program, a deal offered after so many purchases, or rewards given sporadically as long as you remain committed month after month, loyalty programs are fascinating ways to keep customers with you for a certain period of time.
The problem is, without trust and advocacy, these committed loyalty programs only last for so long. You need customers that want to stick it out for the long run.
Without reciprocation, it won’t last
While you want loyalty from your customers, how are you returning the loyalty to them? Most consumers feel that loyalty programs are a way for brands to show their loyalty to their consumers through the perks offered while most companies think loyalty programs are a way for consumers to show their loyalty through the purchases made or number of visits. You can see how both companies and consumers are looking for reciprocity.
Consumer: I shop here all the time, so you give me special deals and great customer service in return.
Business: We give you special deals and great customer service, so you should shop here all the time in return.
Loyalty should go both ways to keep your customers around and feeling appreciated for doing business with you.
Loyalty is based on emotion
Your customers are going to purchase from you based on their emotions toward you. Their loyalty is powered by emotion – primarily, what makes them feel good – which leads to purchasing from you time and time again. If your employees always offer a smile and kind word to a customer, the customer feels good and wants to keep doing business with you. If an employee is rude to a new customer, they won’t be back.
Emotions can create or destroy customer loyalty. Don’t buy into the belief that loyalty is only measured by repeat purchase behavior.
By understanding that emotion does the choosing rather than a low sales price special, brands will work harder to win over the love from their customers. The emotional connection to the brand is what makes a customer loyal for a long time – not a two year contract or a really awesome sale.
Why customer gratitude wins
Customers who feel gratitude toward a company are loyal customers. To create loyalty, you need a reciprocal, emotional and authentic relationship. By focusing on the emotional response, your customers are more likely to offer loyal behavior.
They want to feel appreciated and to return the kindness. They want to feel appreciated so that they can feel good about shopping with you again and telling their friends why you are unlike any other in the field. Be ready to show appreciation through emotion and behavior.
Don’t just offer rewards and gifts like Starbucks’ loyalty program; that only works in the short term while offering a sustained gratitude will work long-term. Offer kind words to your customers after a purchase that compliments and thanks them for their business.
Interact with your customers on social media and always offer an authentic, personalized note after transactions rather than offering a generic “thank you for your business” and making them feel like a number. Send surprise gifts or a kind note to make your customers feel appreciated.
Use these tips to gain your customer’s loyalty by showing your gratitude rather than locking them into a loyalty program or offering a sale that can’t be beat. Customer gratitude happens naturally when you go out of your way to offer the best service you can.
Look for long-term solutions that make everyone feel good. When you show your customers why you are a brand they should be shopping with, they will want to come back for future purchases rather than feeling obligated or wanting whatever perk is available that week with you.