How to Earn Customer Engagement and Loyalty

Earning a new customer is always a reason to celebrate. Reserve a conference room, break out the champagne (or whatever doesn’t violate company policy) and some snacks and crank up some DJ Khaled!

Then, after ten minutes, get back to work.

Why? Because true profitability comes from engaged, loyal customers.

And the process of turning a new customer into a loyal customer begins the moment they complete their first transaction with you.

Getting them to that first purchase is hard, but the real work begins after that transaction.

You need a game plan to put your brand in a position to win over as many of these customers as possible.

It isn’t easy, and not every customer will turn into a true loyalist, but we think there’s a game plan every brand can use to put themselves into position to win a lot of repeat business.

Start with These Accepted Principles

Over on the Access Loyalty Blog, we’ve curated literally thousands of stats related to customer engagement, retention, and loyalty. Overall, the stats aren’t very favorable to brands – most people just aren’t into loyalty.

There’s a lot of useful data mixed in there, however. Think of these as clues, breadcrumbs left by consumers to let brands know what they’re looking for and where they’re going.

Use these widely acknowledged truths as the foundation for your retention efforts:

  • Customers make a lot of judgments early in the buying and post-transaction phases
  • They’re easily distracted and don’t want to be sold – but if a brand has something of value to say, they’ll listen
  • They’re also willing to recommend brands they’re comfortable with to family and friends – the ultimate sign of loyalty

In other words, you must position your brand appropriately, and act quickly post-transaction.

Based on that knowledge, we can develop a blueprint to win over a LOT of customers.

Here’s Your 30-Day Game Plan

30-days-to-customer-loyalty-infographic
The most important thing to keep in mind is this: Don’t sit on the sidelines or assume your product will speak for itself. That’s what most other brands do.

Before the Sale: Set the right expectations. Don’t oversell or exaggerate what you’re capable of, and be laser-focused on the audience who will benefit most from what you offer.

Day 1: Maintain contact with the customer. This means you absolutely need to acquire an email address or enroll them in a loyalty program or SMS club. Even getting an Instagram or Facebook follow is more valuable than letting the customer walk away without a connection.

Day 2: Offer a quick win. Give them a reward or discount to validate their decision. This can also be done on Day 1as a prize for joining your email list.

Days 3 – 25: Add value through education and expertise. Make the customer as smart about your product or brand as you are. The more they know, the more likely they are to see your value. Just don’t be salesy or pushy!

Days 10, 15, 20, 25: Capture feedback. Look, everything you send a customer should solicit feedback – don’t try to get away with noreply@yourdomain.com email addresses. Feedback is a goldmine, and negative feedback is a chance to get better – and respond to a new customer specifically helping them to fix their issue. Once every five days or so, ask them for their thoughts.

Day 30: Ask the customer to take action. Now that you’ve added value to the relationship and showed the customer your brand can be trusted, capitalize on it by asking them to do a little favor for you. Whether it’s an online review or a referral, it’s a way to capitalize on your efforts in the short-term, and it gives the customer a chance to solidify their own thoughts about what your brand offers.

Go. Fight. Win. Repeat.

When a new customer signs on, throw that party. High-five the CEO and crack open the sparkling cider. But know that the real work – with the most profitable results – is just getting started.

Depending on the lifecycle of what you sell, you might have 30 days or you might have 24 hours or a year. What’s important is engaging customers from value and opening the lines of communication early and often.

Don’t assume your product stands on its own, or that every customer’s experience is the same. Get involved and steer them to the best possible experience with the brand and capitalize on it with a review or recommendation. Or, just as valuable, learn from what didn’t work.

Adjust each step according to your own product, customers, and timelines. Then stay on it, and repeat it with every new customer that comes through the door.

You just made another sale. The clock is ticking. Go make it happen!

Brandon Carter is an engagement and loyalty writer for Access Development. Read more of his articles over on the Access Development Blog and the Access Perks Blog.

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