5 components that drive customer loyalty
Attracting customers is probably the hardest part of business. Retaining them is even harder. Throw into the mix a tough economic climate, and an ever-changing customer, and you’ve got your work cut out for you.
But this is where I get excited, because the more difficult it has become to attract customers, the simpler it’s become too. You see, in the good old days, businesses concerned themselves merely with offering their product or service, but today that will only get you so far. With all the choice customers now have, they are more likely to stick with a business that goes beyond the product or service. This is where the ‘simpler’ part comes in because it doesn’t cost anything. All that’s required is a bit of integrity.
Conducting business with integrity is now a critical part of the customer experience. It builds loyalty and trust, which are key factors in purchasing decisions. As a business differentiator, it’s really a no-brainer, and it baffles me that so many companies still don’t get it. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 81% of consumers said that they need to be able to trust a brand in order to buy from them. In another report, 86% surveyed said that authenticity is a key factor in deciding which companies to support. These figures are representative too of the B2B purchaser. In fact, trust plays an even bigger role in B2B since in most cases, customers are locked into long-term contracts.
The best way, I believe, to approach earning customer trust and working with integrity is to remember that customers are people. Just like you, they have pain points and emotional needs. Every customer interaction is an opportunity for your company to act with purpose and deliver value that resonates on a human level. Get this right, and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty for years to come.
Below I’ve shared five components that a business should encompass to help drive customer loyalty:
- Honesty – this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies either outright lie to a customer or bend the truth. There really is no coming back from this. Your customer won’t accept dishonesty because it feels personal. Be honest in all interactions, and don’t be afraid to say you don’t have the answer.
- Transparency – laying your cards out on the table establishes trust and goodwill between business and customer. Some examples of transparency include divulging future company plans, sharing past failures, hiring policies, diversity stats, and overall profit. By allowing customers a peek through the ‘glass window’ of your business, companies are then more motivated to continuously earn their customer’s trust and work to improve on their offering.
- Ethics – this speaks to the core values of your business. It acts as a guideline on how a business conducts itself. Companies that operate with morality and consider right from wrong, have more longevity with a customer. Ethical practice also shows customers what your business is passionate about and how this passion is carried through in all customer interactions.
- Accountability – Customers are human beings so they understand that mistakes happen. They are actually a lot more forgiving than businesses give them credit for. It’s when companies don’t take accountability for their actions that they risk sending customers out the door. Acknowledge where you’ve gone wrong and take corrective steps to get back on track. It can also be a chance to turn a bad experience into a really good one.
- Partnership – we all crave a sense of belonging, and an alliance mentality or attitude can create this for a customer. If you approach your customer relationship as a ‘long-term’ partnership rather than a transactional one, they will feel safer doing business with you. It’s a “we have your back” philosophy.