When it comes to customer retention your goal should be not just to retain loyal customers, but to generate emotional loyalty for your brand and increase the number of customers who don’t just act, or feel loyal, but are loyal.
Remember, it’s not just the low prices, rewards program or ease of access that keeps loyal customers coming back. It’s the positive experiences they associate with the brand and its reputation for providing a humble cup of coffee to anyone in need.
Emotional Loyalty - Making that human connection
Emotional loyalty is just one type of customer loyalty that brands can build. But it can be hard to measure and even harder to generate, and you shouldn’t overlook its importance. Emotional loyalty is far and away the most effective type of customer loyalty because it connects with your customers and gets to the heart of how they feel about your brand, rather than how they act based on other factors—which is what behavioral and rational loyalty do—with their routine and logical aspects.
Here are some ways to generate more emotional customer loyalty:
- Anticipate customers’ wants and needs. Give product or service suggestions to your customers before they know they need or want them.
- Personalize the customer experience. Make your customers feel special with things like attentive customer service and personalized ads.
- Give them a nice surprise. Your customers will appreciate a free gift or special offer, especially if it’s unexpected.
It may be easier to understand the distinction between different types of loyalty programs from a customer’s perspective, but brands might have a hard time distinguishing why their customers are loyal. I know why I’m emotionally loyal to Dunkin’ Donuts, but how would Dunkin’ Donuts figure out the reason behind my loyalty? There’s no way to know for sure, but a few key metrics can provide insight.
Emotional Loyalty Metrics
In order to measure emotional loyalty, you have to differentiate how customers act vs. how they feel about your brand. There can be overlap—after all, customers are human and multiple factors influence the choices they make—but certain metrics can prove effective in gauging emotional loyalty. Consider the following:
- NPS (Net Promoter Score) – What are the results of customer surveys asking how likely they are to recommend your brand?
- Customer influence and advocacy – How many customers are influencing others by advocating for your brand and referring you to their friends?
- Customer sentiment – What are the emotions customers are feeling about your brand?
- Brand affinity – Do your values sync? Whether or not customers believe your brand aligns with their personal values is important.
Positive experiences turn into positive associations and if customers associate you with emotionally positive experiences, they’re more likely to become emotionally loyal. So, how can you ensure that your customers are experiencing your brand in a positive way? Here are a few suggestions.