In this guest post, Fjord’s Bronywn van der Merwe (pictured below) identifies eight ways for brands to keep customers coming back for more.
Once upon a time, winning over a customer’s loyalty was simple. You made the sale, you gave them perfectly adequate customer service, and customers stuck with you. The difficulty and uncertainty of switching brands meant that most customers stayed loyal through thick and thin.
That was then. This is now.
An omni-channel experience
Empowered by a myriad of hyper-connected devices at their disposal, Australian customers now have more information than ever at their fingertips and have more control of when, where and how they interact with brands. They look for consistency regardless of channel, want immediate satisfaction, and expect interactions to be simple and easy.
Australian consumers are in fact demanding truly omni-channel experiences across brands: a continuous experience supported by human, digital and physical channels. As a result, Accenture developed the Keep Me Index to understand what drives brand loyalty, how a brand can keep an emotional connection with their customers and the importance of an omni-channel experience.
In Australia, Canva, a Sydney-based design and publishing online platform, is a great example of a brand that used an omni-channel experience to take control of a customer base. By providing an easy to use, drag-and-drop format, Canva has transformed and simplified graphic design for both non-designers and professionals.
Accenture believes that omni-channel is very important, but not enough to win loyalty. Like any relationship, you have to establish and maintain the emotional connection between a customer and a brand.
The Iconic is an example of an iconic Australian fashion company that has established strong brand loyalty. By being customer-focused, the e-commerce fashion label is committed to understanding the customer’s emotional journey, from their use of analytics to predict consumers shopping habitats to their next day delivery.
The Keep Me Index
Based on extensive research into what thousands of customers are thinking, feeling and saying about the brands they use, Accenture has found eight specific areas that will keep customers loyal.
- Disrupt yourself – Customers have a higher emotional connection to digital disruptors than traditional service providers. Australian organisations need to transform their operations with digital, but also rebrand innovative products and services as head-on competition to the rest of their business.
- Build trust by getting the basics right – Trust is the new currency. Accenture research found that service reliability and affordability are the most prominent reasons for either trusting or distrusting a brand. Australian customers want service they can depend on and they want to feel that they’re getting value for the price they pay.
- Offer customisation in everything – Brand loyalty and affinity all link back to the product, its limited choices and the inability to customise. Accenture believes that Australian organisations need to rethink their pricing models and offer low price points or use other customisation ideas to improve the value proposition of traditional products and services.
- Make every interaction matter – There’s a strong correlation between the way the last interaction made your customer feel and their sentiment towards your brand. Australian organisations need to get the basics right and proactively reach out to customers periodically with tips or relevant offers, so their last interaction made them smile.
- Be a valued asset, not a utility – Australian organisations need to make their mark on customers by expanding into new areas. Australian organisations should consider collaborating with strategic partners to bring customers new valued-added products or services at pace.
- Give them a real reason to stay – Are your customers really loyal? Or is it just too hard to switch? Australian organisations need to ensure they communicate continually about brand, not outside it.
- Grow your advocate base – Accenture’s research found 90 per cent of respondents with high or medium loyalty never talk about a brand. It’s well worth investing to turn these quietly loyal customers into powerful champions who talk frequently and positively about your brand.
- Create your own halo effect – We all know about Google’s halo effect. Customers hold the brand on a pedestal for its innovative use of technology, cool solutions and personalisation. It requires stretching your thinking, stepping out of your comfort zones and challenging the status quo. Australian organisations have to anticipate customer needs and proactively build experiences around them.
Your customers don’t want to leave, so don’t make them. Australian organisations need to use these ideas to strategically plan for and invest in initiatives that help strengthen and expand the emotional connection you have with your customers – and stop them breaking up with you.