Building customer loyalty is hard for brands today. It’s not just because of competitors ‘stealing’ repeat business. It also has to do with the changing business landscape.
Once-loyal customers have changed stores, brands, and the way they buy since the start of the pandemic, according to a McKinsey U.S. consumer sentiment survey.
In 2020, consumers have mostly chosen value and convenience over brand loyalty.
The result? Many companies struggled to some degree in the COVID climate. Particularly with how to earn and maintain repeat customers. (And get them to spend more money).
But the businesses that have been the most resilient and successful are the ones that maintained a ceaseless focus on customer experience (CX) management.
That is, they have the proper organizational and tech foundation to deliver bespoke experiences, improve customer satisfaction, and build stronger audience relationships.
One brand’s CX approach will differ from others. Even those with similar business models.
But there are certain must-have elements of CX strategies every consumer-centric business needs to build customer loyalty today and preserve it in the long run.
The single customer view’s role in building customer loyalty, explained
Customers expect a relevant experience every time they interact with a brand. Especially if they ‘opt in’ and agree to share their data (e.g., for a customer loyalty program).
Delivering this end-to-end experience involves many functions and teams across the business, including marketing, commerce, analytics, and customer support.
But these teams are often saddled by a limited view of existing and prospective customers.
That’s because the tools they use (e.g., email systems, campaign management platforms, ad platforms, ecommerce platforms, POS, CRM, etc.) are siloed by team.
What’s more, they only store data and recognize individuals in ways unique to each tool.
In other words? Growth-focused teams don’t have access to a complete, real-time view of their customers to effectively orchestrate bespoke experiences across all touchpoints and earn (and measure) customer loyalty.
Companies of all kinds clearly need to break down their customer data silos.
But they must also find ways to integrate and act on their first-party data. And in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both their loyal customer base and business. Just look at the omnichannel marketing strategy implemented by a fast-fashion retailer that uses BlueConic.
Its approach is a prime example of how to effectively deliver individualized experiences that drive customer loyalty — while simultaneously streamlining and improving operations:
- The retailer captures email addresses at the point of sale in stores in exchange for discounts and other incentives. With more email addresses in hand, the company can consolidate and normalize customers’ personal and transaction data from online and offline sources into unified, persistent profiles for an omnichannel customer view.
- Access to unified data in BlueConic helps the business see how much customers spend at specific stores and products and services they buy. In turn, the retailer knows what types of one-to-one offers to share with shoppers to encourage customers to buy again.
- Using BlueConic’s AI Workbench, the company also calculates customer lifetime value (CLV) and recency, frequency, and monetary value (RFM) scores. This data is used to create new segments (e.g., ‘champions,’ ‘needs attention’), optimize store inventory, and justify its marketing budget. (That is, for customer acquisition and retention.)
This approach is a win-win for the business and its customers. The retailer gets shoppers to buy and/or spend more. Its shoppers get regular, custom-tailored deals for items of interest.
Increasing customer loyalty through cross-channel lifecycle orchestration
Building a single customer view and making it accessible to business users across growth-focused teams and their tools is an essential first step to building customer loyalty.
But it’s just that: a first step.
It’s also vital to coordinate interactions with your target audience in an orchestrated fashion.
An important task that becomes increasingly complex as the number of touchpoints grows and buyers move through their respective customer journeys.
For many companies, that means a greater focus on customer lifecycle orchestration.
BlueConic customers that build Lifecycles — orchestrated, one-to-one messaging to individuals in their database — are able to utilize their single customer view and connections to activation systems to ‘meet’ individuals in their unique journeys.
Here’s a short-and-sweet breakdown of the basics of customer lifecycle orchestration:
- Whether it’s potential first-time shoppers who’ve engaged with you online recently or lapsed customers whose business you want to win back, Lifecycles can help you to deliver timely, relevant messaging and experiences to those individuals.
- When a person reaches the ‘end’ of a given Lifecycle (e.g., they purchase the intended product or service), they can then be moved to a different Lifecycle. For instance, an upsell-themed one to improve their CLV score. Or, they can be sent back to the beginning of the initial Lifecycle to entice repeat purchases.
- A customer’s lifecycle stage can be shared with other systems in real time. This ensures all teams are able to provide prospects and customers with a coordinated, high-quality CX across channels. For instance, when call center and customer service reps have visibility into how customers engage online and in stores, they can easily tailor the conversation to each person.
All in all, Lifecycles offers business users the flexibility and agility to orchestrate optimal experiences for individuals in every stage of the customer lifecycle.
That is, they can capably respond to changes in their interests, behaviors, and preferences.
Making strategy and technology changes to earn long-term customer loyalty
Making real-time data available to all teams that affect customer loyalty, satisfaction, and overall experience within a brand is vital to achieving CX success and retaining customers.
These teams are charged with accelerating growth and unlocking revenue.
Their goal is to extract as much ROI and value as possible from their tech. And the ideal tech that helps many companies build customer loyalty is a customer data platform (CDP).
Writing for Retail Dive, BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach indicated the right technology helps organizations better engage their target audience and keep their customers’ business.
But, in the grander scheme of things, it also helps drive true digital transformation.
“Data-driven technologies can greatly improve this process, enabling companies to see the growth of digital innovation as an opportunity to interact with customers and gather more data for an individualized experience that builds customer loyalty,” Cory stated.
In short, a CDP enables companies to truly own the relationship with their customers.
Not just by helping teams and tools recognize individuals at every point in their customer journeys, but also by empowering them orchestrate one-to-one experiences that align with their recent interests and engagement and past purchases.
And it’s this mutually beneficial experience that fosters greater customer loyalty and lasting value. (That is, not just short-term ‘wins’ and modest gains regarding tactical metrics.)
Learn how you can deliver bespoke, cross-channel experiences to individuals — and build customer loyalty — with a CDP in our on-demand webinar.