Customer loyalty is an important topic among marketers these days. You work hard to gain your customers. Now you need to keep them. Here are five principles of customer loyalty you need to know.

1. Know your customers. This means tying together all the data you have on your customers to get one holistic perspective. For example, John W. Smith in your mailing database is also Johnny Smith Jr. in your email list and J.W. Smith on Facebook. Most customers need help tying these databases together. If so, contact us, and we can help.

2. Be a friendly company to deal with.  Reduce barriers to communicating with you. Provide more choices. This includes multiple options for customer inquiries, response, and communications. Make it easier to buy and make repeat purchases. Something as simple as pre-filling response cards and subscription forms can improve the experience. Make dealing with your company as easy as possible.

3. Personalize your interactions. According to Thunderhead.com’s “Engagement 3.0” report, 82% of customers feel that being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach give them a negative perception of the company. Take what you know about customers and personalize your communications, whether in print or email. Invest in expanding your marketing database to include new variables that will increase relevance.

4. Listen. Are you only pushing information out and not listening to feedback coming in? Respond quickly and appropriately to comments sent through email, your company blog, or even social media. Use customer surveys, feedback forms, and personalized URLs to listen and gather as much information as you can. Respond appropriately so customers know you are listening.

5. Be in it for the long haul. Forget the gimmicks and quick fixes. Prizes, sweepstakes, and “experiential events” can get results, but they are short lived. As one strategist has put it, “Get to the trenches, examine how your customers live and use your products, and then design a complete meaningful solution for them across all touchpoints.”[1]

There are no quick fixes for customer loyalty. It requires a commitment to meaningful communication and ongoing relationship that includes listening, as well as talking.

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[1] “The Missing Link to Customer Loyalty” (CrowdTwist, 2014)