Did you know that 12-15% of customers are loyal to a single company?
Furthermore, Customer Insight Group found that these same loyal customers represent 55-70% of your sales. Now that’s a lot of sales from a small bunch of people! Just goes to show you how important building loyal customers is for your business.
The same study found that loyal customers like to share the love by:
- Telling friends and family about the company
- Buying more from the company
- Refusing to buy other company’s products
Wouldn’t it be great if you had more loyal customers doing the above!!!
Well, it’s actually easier than you thought. As I’ll show you in this post, there are five key traits to a loyal customer. Once you identify your customers with these traits, you can leverage them to become brand advocates or what I like to call, volunteer marketers (thanks Neil) – marketing reps that actively share good word of mouth and sell your products for you!
1. Loyal customers make repeat purchases
Loyalty often refers to a customers commitment to repurchase or otherwise continue using a particularly brand by repeatedly buying a product or service. This is one of the easiest traits to pick up from your loyal customers. If a customer continues to make repeat purchases from you, he or she can be considered a loyal customer.
2. Loyal customers don’t buy from anyone else
If you have customers that you know don’t buy from anyone else, they are loyal customers. But Ross, you ask, how do find out if they are just buying from your or also buying from others?
Just ask them. Or… what I like to do is think about the traditional purchase behavior of your customer. Think about how regularly they should be buying your products.
For example, let’s look at a sports supplement store. I purchase a bag of protein powder every two months, and I’ve been consistently doing that from the same retailer for over 12 months. As the retailer, if I don’t come in and buy on my scheduled two month visit, that should ring alarm bells. That most likely means I’ve gone elsewhere, or stopped going to the gym.
Either way, if this happens to one of your customers, you should be reaching out to them to see what’s up. Maybe try implementing a customer retention strategy to win their business back.
In summary, when you have a customer that won’t buy from anyone else, you know they are a loyal customer.
3. Loyal customers are not price sensitive
I love this quote from Julie Neidlinger over at the Better at Marketing blog.
If you’re a little fish in a big ocean, developing brand loyalty is how you compete.
I think it quickly sums up why brand loyalty and loyal customers are so important for your company.
In most cases, loyal customers are less price sensitive. This is backed up by John Dawes in his 2007 study, Are Long-Tenure Customers Less Price Sensitive. I’ve also seen it first hand with some of our customers using Client Heartbeat.
For example, R&G Technologies, they have a strong focus on building relationships with their clients and as a result, have strong customer loyalty. When they go in to sign renewal contracts, they don’t need to compete on price, because they have loyal customers.
If you find you’re no longer getting the price objective from a client, odds on you’ve earned their trust and built a strong relationship that has led to a loyalty.
4. Loyal customers will go out of their way to buy from you
Loyalty over convenience. That is the ultimate loyal customer. This trait involves your customers going out of their way to buy from you. Good examples of this may be driving an extra 15 minutes to the, or purposely holding off on purchasing a product until you have it back in stock.
I bet you have experience some form of customer loyalty to a company or brand where you would purposely inconvenience yourself because of your loyalty to them. I do it all the time. Continuing on from my example earlier with the protein powder. I’m a loyal customer at Muscle Coach, and every two months I drive an extra 15 minutes to visit their store. I’ve got another supplement store just up the road, but I want to go visit Muscle Coach, because I enjoy the experience and love chatting to the guys over there. They have earned my loyalty through building a strong relationship, offerings great advice, always delivering on promises, and setting me up with a great customer loyalty program.
This is customer loyalty no one can buy. Oh… did I mention I’d also consider myself a brand advocate because I tell everyone about them… including this post right now!
5. Loyal customers will go out their way to recommend you
Would you go out you way to recommend us to friends and colleagues?
This one question can tell you whether you have a loyal customer. It is a question we use in all our customer satisfaction surveys here at Client Heartbeat.
Here’s what it looks like in using our survey tool:
The reason we ask this question is because it’s a great way of passively understanding how a customer really feels about you. It takes into account some of the Net Promoter Score theory which helps to identify loyal enthusiasts who keep buying and refer others.
Loyal customers are one’s that will be constantly talking about your company or brand, they’ll be preaching it to everyone. A great example I experience yesterday was when I was talking to my team mate at our weekly social Rugby game. He started talking about Naked Wines. He was so impressed with their business model and selection of wines, he sold me on it. I’ve since taken a better look at their website and am looking to sign up in the next few weeks.
This is a great example of a loyal customer going out of his way to recommend a company.
See also: How to measure Customer Loyalty
Loyal Customers are Profitable Customers
All in all, you can definitely see why it’s important to recognize and identify the traits of loyal customers. Once you know who your loyal customers are, you can start leveraging them and building brand advocates out of them. These customers will then start to refer new business to you and help you fuel future growth.
Photo credit: Forbes.com