There are all kinds of articles swirling around the internet about how brand loyalty is “dead.” Put away your funeral attire, because that couldn’t be further from the truth! Yes, it’s harder to build brand loyalty now, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. It just means that today’s consumers have higher customer experience expectations than ever before.
Relationships with your customers go both ways, just like romantic relationships. If you put in the work to make them feel special, they’ll want to keep growing with you. If you do this right, you can forge connections that last a lifetime — in fact, a whopping 77% of consumers say they’ve held relationships with specific brands for 10 or more years. That kind of commitment can bring a tear to your eye!
If you take your customers for granted, on the other hand, they’ll walk out the door, leaving you with nothing but regret and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you’ll use to fill the void.
Keep reading to learn what brand loyalty is, why it’s important, and how you can build it for the long haul.
What Is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is when a customer continually purchases from your company because they trust your brand. To build brand loyalty, companies need to create seamless experiences that delight consumers and make them feel valued.
Why Is Brand Loyalty Important?
When your company builds brand loyalty with its customers, you ensure that they’ll purchase from you in the future. This increases customer lifetime value, which is critical since it’s far more cost-efficient to keep an existing customer than to earn a new one. In fact, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining a current customer.
How to Build Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty isn’t earned overnight. You must consistently deliver seamless omnichannel experiences that delight your customers and make them feel valued. Below are our top strategies for building relationships with customers that last a lifetime.
1. Understand your customers on a deep level
If you want to make your customers feel special, you first need to understand them on a deep level. What kinds of perks do they value, what do they like about your brand, where are your areas for improvement, and what information is your website missing?
To understand your customers, you should capture and analyze as much data about them as possible. Data sources like CRMs, website activity, social media interactions, email subscribers, and transaction records can help you learn more about your customers’ motivations.
But to truly connect with them on a deep level, leading brands are using conversation intelligence. Solutions like Invoca automatically record and transcribe every call and analyze the conversations for insights. The data from these conversations is invaluable — your consumers are literally telling you how they want to engage with you, what barriers to purchase they’re facing, and how you can make them happy.
When you use conversation intelligence, you don’t have to listen to thousands of call recordings to identify trends. Invoca’s Signal Discovery uses AI to automatically identify key phrases and trends that keep popping up in conversations. This allows you to spend less time analyzing the data and more time acting on it to make your customers happy.
2. Customize brand interactions based on customer needs
Expectations for the customer experience are at an all-time high. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver interactions personalized to their needs. Using a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer an option for your brand — your customers expect perfect tailoring that fits like a glove.
Many brands are already using personalized web experiences and digital ads — but it’s important to ensure you’re tailoring the entire journey, so the customer has a consistent experience as they switch between channels. Brands often fail to personalize the phone call experience, which is a major oversight, since 68% of consumers say phone calls are their favorite way to interact with a brand.
Route calls to the best agent or location with digital intent signals
To personalize the phone call experience, brands use conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca. Invoca intelligently routes callers to the best agent or location to meet their needs. How does it work? Invoca captures digital data about the caller’s journey, such as the digital ads they engaged with or the webpage they called from, and routes them based on this information.
For example, if someone called after engaging with an ad for a high-margin product line, they can be automatically routed to a relevant sales agent. If they called from a support page, on the other hand, they can be automatically routed to a support agent to keep support calls out of the sales department.
When University Hospitals used Invoca to intelligently route calls, they increased their conversion rates by 300%. Read the full case study here.
Arm agents with insights to tailor phone conversations
Invoca also personalizes phone call experiences by giving agents the insights they need to tailor each phone conversation. Before the call goes through, the agent receives a screenpop from their CRM that tells them the caller’s name, the campaigns they interacted with, the webpages they visited, and if they’re a repeat customer. The agent can use this information to anticipate the caller’s needs and preemptively pull up relevant information, saving the caller time and making them feel known and valued.
3. Maintain a high level of customer service
An important part of building brand loyalty is delivering a consistently high level of customer service. When customers feel they can count on your agents to provide great service, they’ll come back again and again.
Promising exceptional service is easy, but consistently delivering it takes rigorous training and quality assurance. If you’re like a lot of companies, you’re performing quality assurance by listening to call recordings and providing feedback. But if you’re monitoring dozens or even hundreds of agents, those recordings can stack up pretty quickly. Your QA team (if you even have one!) may not have the bandwidth to score a significant sample of calls, which makes it hard to accurately judge how well your agents are performing. In addition, your QA team is subject to bias and human errors.
To get a comprehensive view of agent performance, leading brands use conversation intelligence to QA sales and customer care calls. The solution automatically scores 100% of your calls according to your criteria. Since Invoca is powered by AI, the process is completely fair and unbiased. This not only improves the accuracy of your scores, but it can also raise the morale of your sales team, since they know their performance is being fairly graded. In addition, agents can receive their scores as soon as the call ends, so they can take more ownership of their performance and make adjustments on the fly.
When you spend less time listening to calls and looking for problems, you can spend more time coaching your team to ensure each agent provides high-caliber customer service on every call.
4. Build a community for your customers
Humans are inherently social creatures, which is why building a community for your brand can be a great tool to build brand loyalty. Doing so gives your customers a chance to make new friends, develop professional relationships, and share knowledge about your products or services.
Communities are an effective tool because, of course, every brand is going to sing the praises of their own products or services. But when customers see social proof from their peers, they’re more likely to trust your brand and do business with you — in fact, 92% of consumers say they trust word of mouth when choosing a brand. Creating a space where your supporters can get together to talk about your brand, therefore, can be very beneficial.
Depending on your brand, there are numerous different forums you can use to build a community. Some brands put on conferences, others create monthly meetups, and others prefer to use knowledge bases, Discord servers, or online communities. Unsure what type of community your customers are interested in? Sending out a survey can be a great place to start.
5. Empower your customers to self-serve if they prefer
Not every customer wants to engage with your brand the same way — some prefer to visit brick-and-mortar locations, some like to call, and others like to self-serve online. To build brand loyalty, you need to meet customers where they are and allow them to engage with you on their terms.
Often, brands don’t put enough effort into creating high-quality self-serve experiences. You can’t take a “set it and forget it” approach to customers who want to help themselves online — you need to consistently fine-tune the experience to ensure your customers aren’t getting stuck.
With conversation intelligence, you can identify the moments when customers abandon your online buying flow to call instead. Invoca surfaces the caller’s entire journey through your website, from the ad or search keyword that brought them in, to the pages they viewed, to the exact click-to-call button they used to contact you. Invoca also records and transcribes every phone call, then uses AI to surface trends in the conversation.
Once you’ve used Invoca to see where consumers are abandoning the online experience and choosing to call, as well as the “why” behind these choices, you can improve your self-serve experience accordingly. If you discovered that your product page didn’t offer enough detail for consumers to convert, you could update it with the FAQs callers voiced over the phone. If you discovered a server error or problem with the online shopping cart, you could quickly correct it before it impacted more of your customers.
Fine-tuning your self-help options with conversation intelligence not only makes your self-serve customers happier — it also deflects unnecessary calls from your contact center, reducing wait times and making your callers happier as well.
6. Reengage customers with digital ads tailored to their interests
We’ve all had an experience where, after we purchased a product from a brand, we still got bombarded with ads for it across the internet and on our social feeds. These kinds of advertising experiences are annoying and they’re unlikely to build brand loyalty — on the contrary, they feel lazy and make it seem like the brand didn’t make the effort to get to know us.
With conversation intelligence, you can avoid these kinds of missteps. The solution allows you to track the product or service each caller expressed interest in over the phone and if they made a purchase. You can then use that data to inform retargeting at scale.
If you’re a telecommunications provider, for example, you could reengage every caller who expressed interest in your deluxe sports package — but didn’t ultimately purchase it — with a special offer to upgrade. Or, if you’re an insurance provider, you could retarget callers who expressed interest in multiple insurance policies with a bundling discount.
Brands that use conversation intelligence can retarget customers with ads that are more relevant to their interests, and more likely to inspire future purchases.
7. Create a rewards program
Your relationship with your customers doesn’t end after they make a purchase — in fact, it’s just beginning. To encourage future purchases, leading brands use loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs vary widely from company to company — they could be as simple as a restaurant offering a punch card to earn a free sandwich, or as complex as Starbucks’ mobile app that tracks every purchase you make and gives you push notifications with special deals.
The important thing to remember when crafting your loyalty program is that you give customers rewards that they genuinely care about. If you’ve followed step one of this guide and you understand your customers on a deep level, you should have a good idea of what offers are likely to perk up their ears.
Want to learn more about how Invoca conversation intelligence can help your brand build lasting loyalty? Check out these resources: