Loyal customers are vital for the survival of a business. Customers who keep returning not only provide the revenues a business needs to keep lights on and computers running, but they are often the ones driving in new customers through excited word-of-mouth. Any good business leader knows that the more loyal customers a business has, the longer that business will thrive.
However, generating loyalty isn’t necessarily easy. Most companies can have a small core of repeat customers through quality products and friendly service, but developing true brand loyalty requires more than a smile. Devoted customers must feel personally attached to the business, they must have constant access to privileged information, and they must feel rewarded for their dedication.
Fortunately, business leaders can use apps to provide everything loyal customers want ― and more.
Use Apps That Empower Customers
Not too long ago, when a customer had an experience with a company, he could tell his family and friends, but unless he went out of his way to spread the word about his experience, his experience mattered little. Unfortunately, the same was true whether his experience was good or bad. For much of human history, it has been a seller’s world ― but thanks to the internet and networking apps, that has changed.
Customers have more power than ever before, and they like it. Therefore, businesses must be supportive of customer opinion and encourage their customers to share good and bad experiences alike. Review apps like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack allow customers to provide feedback to help businesses improve as well as help other potential customers discern the best businesses from the worst. Promoting customers’ use of these apps demonstrates a company’s dedication to transparent business and interest in giving customers what they want. Businesses can provide deals for customers who use review apps to establish trust and earn loyalty.
Additionally, businesses should consider rewarding existing loyal customers who consistently provide referrals. Customers have always had the power of word-of-mouth marketing, but enabling them by incentivizing referrals is a relatively new business tactic. There are dozens of ways to manage referral program software to maximize marketing and customer satisfaction: providing credit, cash, or small gifts. Businesses should develop an app that makes the process easy and fun for customers, so they will want to talk about the brand.
Develop Branded Apps for Customers
Regardless of their industry, most massive brands have developed their own apps. Typically, these apps provide services related to the brand image; for example, Nike offers a range of fitness apps that track daily movement and compile the data to help users reach their fitness goals, while L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius app uses augmented reality to help users try different shades of blush, eye-shadow, and lipstick. With a humorous angle, Charmin toilet paper built an app that helps users find the best nearby public restrooms.
Though such apps don’t inherently sell those brands’ products, they do provide important benefits that customers crave, thereby inspiring interest and loyalty in their audience. In particular, branded apps encourage customers to engage with the brand in a unique and memorable way, and users develop an affinity for those specialized services that only strengthens their bond with the business.
Further, apps allow for enhanced connectivity between businesses and their target audiences. For business, this additional line of communication allows them to manipulate their products and services to the precise needs of their apps’ users. For customers, apps can provide fascinating insight into the workings of the brand and alert them when the newest developments arise. Any additional opportunities for dialogue between a brand and its loyal customers is a boon for businesses.
Customer loyalty has been vital to the success of business since commerce began, but only recently have businesses and customers alike gained so much power over the process of developing consumer trust. By investing effort into particular apps, businesses can demonstrate devotion to their audience, who will likely return the favor with adulation and support. Fostering a positive reputation on applicable review apps, emulating successful branded apps, and remaining watchful for new app opportunities will give businesses an edge in the eternal struggle to maintain customer loyalty.