Study shows secrets of building a loyal customer base

Building a loyal customer community is arguably one of the most important factors when growing a successful brand, regardless of the sector. Consumers are becoming increasingly selective when choosing where they shop, taking into account a number of factors such as price and customer service, as well as trust, perks and aligning brand values, which are becoming progressively important and can really impact how long someone sticks with a brand for.

How to instil customer loyalty

It’s common knowledge that it’s more cost-effective to retain customers than to acquire new ones. However, loyalty is fragile. So, it’s important for brands to understand the factors influencing their customers’ decisions to stay put (or leave), ensuring these are firmly front of mind within their customer retention strategies.

On the sectors it pays to be loyal to, this is how various industries rank according to customers:

Be ethical

In fact, we recently surveyed more than 2,000 consumers and found that 60% of UK consumers admit bad interactions impact their brand loyalty and often result in them cutting ties altogether. Whilst one in five would leave a brand that was engaging in unethical practices.

A further one-in-five admitted they want the brands they use to take an active stance on environmental issues, and half would pay a brand more for a product or service over their competitors if they trusted them/knew they were reliable.

Core brand values matter

Communicating core brand values across owned channels, as well as via earned media, is essential for building that trust and ensuring your customers are aware of what you represent as a brand.

So, how can brands ensure these factors take priority in their customer retention strategies?

Be transparent

In the first instance, it is of course important brands are transparent in their communications to build trust, they’re shouting about their values, they know what drives their customers (and what doesn’t), and they’re rewarding their loyal customers with things they’re actually interested in. It’s no longer a one size fits all situation and there are various factors businesses should be prioritising.

Have a loyalty programme

According to our research, consumers believe it pays to be loyal to supermarkets, their mobile provider, restaurants and banks, presenting a valuable opportunity for other sectors to adopt some key learnings to help instil loyalty amongst their own customer bases.

While we know good customer service, price and aligning values will always be key influencing factors across the board, many of the leaders in these industries have solid loyalty programs ingrained in their business models. Think Tesco, Vodafone, Nando’s, Starbucks and Monzo, each of whom reward their customers for sticking with them long-term.

These very programmes have also given marketers a wealth of data, presenting a great opportunity for them to create bespoke personalised offers, based on previous purchases, while communicating with their customers to give them exactly what interests them. Again, further instilling loyalty long term.

What's impacting consumer loyalty?

Customers must come first

Overall, there are a number of factors that influence brand loyalty, however above all, ensuring a customer-centric approach is essential to keep consumers coming back time and time again.

Methodology

Ello surveyed 2,016 consumers to uncover how valuable a customer is to a brand over the course of their lifetime, their perception of loyalty today, what sways their purchasing decisions and what are the key factors that will ensure they stay stick with a brand long-term.

Written By Michael Kalli, managing director at customer engagement, acquisition and loyalty specialists Ello