While the benefits of loyal customers are convincing, what can you do to go one step further and build a base of brand champions?
Too often when we think of customer satisfaction, we see loyalty as the ultimate goal and repeat purchases as the primary benefit.
Well, loyal customers are less concerned with functional value, price and competitor offerings because they trust and like you, but there is another hurdle to overcome if you are to turn them into brand ambassadors.
The 3E model of customer commitment
Writing for Forbes, personal branding specialist William Arruda explained his 3E framework, which demonstrates how this works. Mr Arruda explains that if customers are truly delighted by the experience you deliver them, not just consistently satisfied, then they become more than loyalists, they become evangelists and champions for your brand. This, in his opinion, is the ultimate goal of branding. But how do you get there?
"Encouraging customers to promote your brand can happen naturally."
Positive customer-brand relationships exist on a continuum, according to Mr Arruda. At the lower end, customers are engaged, but make rational responses about how they interact with your brand and buy from you. At the other end, customers are not just engaged but enthusiastic about your brand. At this level, logical sensibility is overridden as consumers develop a deep, fanatical and resilient emotional connection.
Just like falling in love, when customers become this obsessed with your brand, they can't stop talking about it. It becomes polarising and is incredibly valuable for acquiring new customers and building a powerful brand image. However, for this to occur, you need to have a brand that people can fall for, and it comes down to one word - consistency.
Living up to your brand promise
Daughter of branding godfather David A. Aaker and Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Jennifer Aaker explained the essence of branding as a simple but profound idea.
"A brand is a promise to a customer," she said.
"A successful brand delivers on that promise."
Dr Lee Frederiksen dissected this idea further, stating that an effective brand promise must abide by three strict criteria in an article for Hinge Marketing published in January this year.
Firstly, the benefit you are promising must be desirable and compelling. Second, it must be believable and original. But the third is possibly the most important when it comes to acquiring brand champions rather than just regular or even loyal customers. Just like a promise between pals, it is only good if it is kept. Therefore, he argues, under no conditions should a promise be disregarded.
"A brand is a promise to a customer. A successful brand delivers on that promise."
When devising the promises that will create a customer experience people will fall in love with, get in touch with Power2Motivate to chat about a customer loyalty programme that will get people talking.