5 Takes on How Customer Loyalty Strategies and Tactics Are Evolving
As companies worldwide continue to make their mark, this year is already shaping up to be an exciting era of change. With technological advancements and new understandings of consumer behavior, now’s the time for businesses to capitalize on emotionally driven customer loyalty. When companies understand the needs and desires of their customers, they can use emotionally driven tactics to increase customer loyalty.
Emotionally loyal customers are easier to retain and more forgiving. They value an emotional, long-term association over price, so their loyalty remains steadfast even in unprecedented circumstances. And, according to Gallup, companies that provide an emotional connection with customers outperform the sales growth of their competitors by 85%.
At its core, emotionally driven customer loyalty is about creating a connection with customers that goes beyond products and services. It’s about understanding the customer, then giving them the loyalty experience that meets their individual needs.
What is emotional loyalty?
In today’s increasingly competitive market, customer loyalty can be a major factor in determining the success of a business. Many businesses focus primarily on providing customers with the best possible product and other tangible elements to keep them coming back.
But what about the customer’s emotional connection to the brand? McKinsey & Company found that 70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they’re being treated, so building that emotional bond is more important than ever.
Emotionally driven customer loyalty means customers identify with a brand, what it stands for and the experiences they have with it. It’s based on trust and a mutually beneficial relationship. While often overlooked, it’s one of the most powerful aspects of customer loyalty.
How to create emotional loyalty
Creating emotional loyalty with a brand can be a tricky process. It requires understanding your customers’ needs and wants, then creating unique experiences that meet their expectations. Here are some effective ways you can create emotional connections with your customers:
1. Get to know your customers: It’s important to get to know who your customers are to understand their needs and wants. This can be done by gathering feedback, researching customer demographics, and analyzing customer behavior. Microsoft reports that implementing customer feedback boosts loyalty in 77% of customers.
2. Connect with your customers on an emotional level: The more you know about your customers, the more relevant your offers and the more meaningful your loyalty communications—all of which create emotional bonds. This could include things like sending personalized messages, sharing relevant promotions or offering access to exclusive events.
3. Create a sense of belonging: Creating a sense of belonging could include hosting a digital community surrounding your brand or offering members-only access to exclusive benefits.
Adopting these practices can create long-term customer relationships that are built on loyalty, trust and genuine emotional connection between your brand and your customers.
How emotional loyalty improves customer engagement, retention rates & satisfaction
It’s no secret that emotionally engaged customers tend to be more loyal and stay with your business longer. But how can emotional loyalty help improve customer engagement, retention rates and satisfaction? Let’s take a look.
Enhanced customer engagement
Emotionally connected customers are more likely to interact with your brand and its products. They’ll eagerly seek out new information, engage in conversations and become more involved in what your brand is doing. This can boost customer engagement, as they’re more likely to take part in activities like surveys or online discussions.
Brands can boost their customer engagement with exciting features like gamification. Starbucks Odyssey, for example, encourages its members to play games and engage in online challenges to learn more about coffee. When members complete different activities, they’re rewarded with journey stamps, which also function as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These stamps have point values that can then be redeemed for rewards like virtual espresso martini-making classes, exclusive merchandise or even a trip to a coffee farm.
Emotionally engaged customers are also more likely to refer others and advocate for your brand.
Increased retention rates
Most companies struggle with customer retention because they’re unable to create an emotional connection with their audience. That may help explain why the customer retention rate is below 20% in many industries (Markin). But if customers are continuously coming back to a brand, it’s most likely because they feel an emotional connection to it.
Emotionally loyal customers consciously remain associated with your brand because their association goes deeper than factors like price and packaging. Their connection with your brand is based on emotional factors that govern their purchase decisions, leading to more long-term relationships.
Improved customer satisfaction
Improved customer satisfaction is a major benefit of emotional loyalty for brands because customers who are emotionally loyal to your business are more likely to be satisfied with your products and services. They’re more likely to feel a sense of trust in your brand and will be more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your solutions.
Customer satisfaction can be achieved through:
- Leveraging technology for a more relevant, engaging customer experience
- Personalized communications
- Excellent customer service
Brands that have invested in emotionally driven loyalty strategies are improving overall customer satisfaction and loyalty because they’ve been successful in creating an emotional connection with their customers.
Emotional loyalty trends in 2023
“Brands that can create emotional connections with their customers and members will thrive. Rational benefits are still very important, but people need to feel connected to the brands they are loyal to. This can be done through experiences, alignment of interest, influencers, charity, service, etc., but it must be relevant and valuable,” shares Tom Peace, Managing Director of The Loyalty People.
Today’s consumers are demanding and savvy. They understand that organizations have their data and in exchange, consumers are expecting more personalized experiences. They’re looking for brands that understand their needs and values, used their data to improve their experience, and make them feel seen and appreciated.
“This is more than a trend. It should be a pillar of your loyalty strategy,” says Erin Raese, SVP of Growth & Strategy at Annex Cloud. “As technology continues to evolve and customer expectations grow higher, personalizing to create emotional bonds will be imperative.”
To cultivate this level of connection with customers, companies will need to go beyond providing excellent products or services—they must also demonstrate empathy and support toward their customers by understanding their needs and desires.
33% of consumers will abandon a brand that fails to create a sense of personalization (Accenture). Tailoring your offering based on what’s important to customers shows that you value and understand them and creates the necessary emotional connection.
In 2023, brands are leveraging customer data to create more personalized experiences by using the insights to tailor their loyalty offerings to their customers’ wants and needs. Many companies are also turning to loyalty technology to create more personalized experiences and help better foster an emotional connection.
Emotional loyalty can be a powerful tool that businesses should capitalize on in 2023. It’s the perfect way to create an emotional connection with customers that goes beyond the norm. By understanding the wants and needs of your customers, you can create a meaning and unique experience that will lead to increased customer loyalty.
Annex Cloud’s powerful loyalty solution provides the tools and resources necessary to create lasting emotional bonds with your customers. Request a demo to experience the power of true customer loyalty, engagement and growth.
Curious about what else you need to know about loyalty in 2023? Read all 11 trends in our complete guide.