Last updated: How to build customer loyalty: 3 moments of truth

How to build customer loyalty: 3 moments of truth


When you mention the customer journey to most sales teams, their focus naturally gravitates to closing the sale—quickly. However, there’s more to the journey that adds value to your product and builds customer loyalty, but it takes time.

Hosting an end-to-end customer experience is more like a marathon than a sprint. And each customer touchpoint should have meaning and help reinforce your brand, encourage engagement, and ultimately drive customer loyalty.

Good first impressions build customer loyalty

Although brands follow a unique customer journey, there are three general “moments of truth” when a customer forms an impression of a brand. Get these  right, and you can welcome new customers to trust your brand for information, support, authenticity, and, ultimately, their purchases:

  1. An informative, appealing website
  2. Customer-centric offers such as discounts and free trials
  3. Align with a broader purpose

Design a convenient, engaging e-commerce site

What does the customer want to know? Plenty! And more than 80% of online shoppers are more than comfortable handling their own research to find solutions. It’s tempting for online vendors to limit or gate access to information with hopes of gathering customer data. That’s undoubtedly strategic for higher valued deliverables like e-books or highly researched assets.

But at the heart of any customer experience is how customers are made to feel. That connection proves beneficial to both parties over time. According to Bain and Company, excellent experiences build loyalty and turn customers into promoters, who have a lifetime value that’s 600% to 1,400% that of a detractor.

Remember, this is a journey. And the more convenience you offer users, the more they’re likely to return. The effort into CX pays off. According to Bain and Company, companies that provide great customer experience grow revenue at 4% to 8% above their market.

Be generous with customer deals

The truth is, it’s not hard to make a positive impact on potential online customers. Online retailer surveys show that the most appealing offer for online customers is free shipping. Other reasons people shop online sites include coupon codes and promo discounts (41%). 

Another way to attract customers and build loyalty is by offering a free trial of your product or service. Free trials can generate buzz about your product, plus who doesn’t like something for free?

What’s more, they give customers a risk-free way to try out your product. If the free experience shows how compelling it is, you can can convert users into loyal customers.

Customer loyalty & the power of purpose

Many customers today seek out brands that align with their values, making corporate social responsibility a priority.

“While corporate philanthropy isn’t new, we’re in the middle of a do-good renaissance where brands give back,” Nikki Carlson, co-Founder/co-president of ChicExecs Retail and Strategy Firm, wrote in a Forbes article. “But as brands, we know philanthropy is about more than doing good in the world. Philanthropy increases brand loyalty when you practice it genuinely. Giving back increases engagement by sharing a mission and purpose with your customer base.”

In other words, don’t just tell customers how much you care about the same issues—show them.

For instance,  Bissell effectively balances marketing of its vacuums for getting pet hair off of furniture with promoting their Partners for Pets program.

In Europe, Diageo, the company that manufactures Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Bailey’s, partnered with the government’s official road safety campaign called THINK!. Together, they launched a program that tackled drunk driving during the holidays by encouraging friends to stop their friends from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.

Research shows that 60 percent of US customers want businesses to be vocal about issues. While this might be harder for established companies that aren’t used to taking a stand, direct-to-consumer startups are readily connecting with consumers on social and environmental issues.

As the design of a positive customer experience evolves, so does the need for more long-range strategies that move the customer relationship beyond the transaction. By designing touchpoints that create meaningful, convenient, even inspiring experiences for customers, you’re elevating your customer experience in ways that will not only attract your target customers, but will develop a long-term relationship.

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