Measuring & Improving Brand Loyalty
How much can you really rely on your customers? Can you depend on them to keep buying from you, or are they likely to switch to one of your competitors without a second thought?
Are your customers truly loyal to your business and your brand? Or are they simply using you until something better comes along?
There are ways of measuring your brand loyalty. There are also ways to make your customers more loyal to your brand.
What is Brand Loyalty?
A customer has brand loyalty when they have positive feelings about a brand, and as a result, they’re committed to always buying the same product or service.
Brand loyalty is powerful. A competitor could offer essentially the same product at half the price. They could create a strong marketing campaign that appeals to the customer in every single way. But if a customer is loyal to a certain brand, nothing could convince them to switch to any other.
So obviously, you want your customers to be loyal to your brand. Are they? To find out, you’ll first have to find a way of measuring brand loyalty.
How to Measure Brand Loyalty
Want to know how loyal customers are to your brand? All you have to do is ask them about their experience with you and your competitors.
That’s right: measuring brand loyalty through your customers is the most effective way. You can either ask them for their opinion following an interaction with you or simply on a regular basis. You can contact them via email, SMS with a survey link. Or present visitors to your website with a pop-up inviting them to share their thoughts. Or talk to them directly.
However and whenever you get in touch, what matters is that you ask the right questions. And the questions you ask should be geared towards certain key brand loyalty metrics. Head here to read more about what metrics to use for CX measurement and how to get the most out of them.
Creating loyalty is about understanding your customer experience. How are your products or services meeting customer needs? Where are you delighting customers and where are you falling short? What are the pain points for customers?
Advocacy or likelihood to recommend is another important part of the loyalty jigsaw. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of how likely consumers are to recommend your products or services to another.
When you ask this question, you determine what proportion of your customers are ‘Promoters’ or very likely to recommend your brand to others. People don’t generally recommend products or services unless they have a good reason for doing so. Therefore, a good NPS suggests that you’re doing well to attract loyal customers. But a low NPS might mean that your customers are dissatisfied with some aspect of your product or service. And if they’re dissatisfied, they’re very unlikely to be loyal.
It’s one thing to be familiar with a brand: more important is how people feel about a brand. It’s easy to think of brands that are well-known, but not very well-regarded. Think of newspapers, for example. Everyone in the UK has heard of The Sun. But some people wouldn’t even use it to line their cat’s litter tray.
So, as well as understanding your brand familiarity, you need to measure your brand esteem. How do people perceive your brand? How do they feel about it? Are their feelings positive or negative? What sorts of words do they associate with you and with your competitors? Healthy brand esteem is critical to engender loyalty.
People feel loyal to brands because they trust them. They trust them to deliver consistent quality, and to listen and act upon feedback. People invest their trust in all kinds of things: supermarkets, energy suppliers, car manufacturers. But trust is particularly vital for businesses that handle sensitive information. You don’t bank with a brand you don’t trust, for example. It’s therefore helpful to learn how trusted your brand is and how that trust was earnt, as well as how it is retained or lost.
People like nice things. But “niceness” is relative. Think of Coca Cola and Pepsi. Let’s be honest, they both taste very similar. But those who prefer Coke insist it tastes better than Pepsi, and vice versa.
What’s the lesson here? That when it comes to brand loyalty, it’s not really a question of quality so much as a question of perceived quality. If customers perceive your brand to be of a higher quality than your competitors, you’ll be more likely to win their loyalty.
Above we suggested you ask your customers what words they associate with your brand. Their answers to this question might speak volumes about your perceived quality (or reliability). But you can also ask directly about the quality of your service or product compared to competitors and likelihood to switch.
How to Improve Brand Loyalty
So, you’ve conducted a survey covering off some of the suggestions above. The surveys suggest that people don’t feel too warm towards your brand, and your NPS is below where you want it to be. It appears that people just aren’t that loyal to your brand. What can you do to improve brand loyalty?
It’s not enough simply to lower your prices and hope they’ll stick with you. If people only choose your products or services because they’re the cheapest, then you’re not really a trusted brand at all. You’re a commodity. And the second your customers find something cheaper, they’ll move on.
Improving brand loyalty is a long and complicated process. You can’t expect overnight success. Here’s a few areas to consider:
- Customer Experience – Go out of your way to delight your customers. Meet and exceed their expectations. Keep doing this, and eventually people will talk. Word will spread: you’re a lovely bunch and you’re easy to work with. People are loyal to brands that are lovely to deal with. Read our guide to achieving great customer experience here.
- Design – This one might be the most challenging area to get right. But everything about your brand – from the shape of your logo to the font you use on your website – could have an influence on how loyal a customer feels towards you. Improving your brand perception could be something as simple as changing the colour of one of your products. It might sound strange, but these things matter. Take a look at how we improved a global business’s brand perception through a simple logo design.
- Feedback – Talk to your customers. Ask them what they like about your products and services. Also ask them if there’s anything they dislike, and what sort of changes could help improve their experience. Once you get your feedback, act on it. Not only will this help you improve your products and services, it will also demonstrate to customers that you’re listening, and you’re committed to meeting their needs. Customers are much more likely to remain loyal to brands that value them. Read our guide to gathering feedback here.
So in conclusion, if you want to improve brand loyalty, you must commit to becoming a customer-centric company. Make customers the most important aspect of your business, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.