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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : September 11, 2009

Five ways to build more loyalty

Whether you run a loyalty/rewards program or not, chances are you want consumers to be loyal to your business. Building loyalty, just like building a customer base, can be a hard thing, made even harder as more businesses move into the online realm. How can you build better customer loyalty?

by Kristina Knight

Gary Edwards, Executive Vice President of Client Services for customer experience management company Empathica offers these five tips on finding weak loyalty areas - and how to combat loyalty issues. "The key is knowing whether or not you're succeeding in keeping customers engaged and loyal. Here are some signs that your company may need some help."

First, Mr. Edwards suggests ensuring that all employees - from the top down - know your mission and live that mission while at work. This will help to ensure that the message and essence of the brand remains stable even as the business expands.

Next, know your metrics. Having goals for your customer base is a good starting place, but businesses need measurement to see how they are approaching these goal sets. Not knowing how your business is performing on the way to a goal will hinder the progress you make.

Third, come up with goals for consumer loyalty. Do you want consumers to return monthly? Weekly? Daily? Determine goals for loyalty and then invest in initiatives to help reach those goals.

Fourth, know and be ready to react to bad customer experiences. Don't publish a customer service email address that is rarely checked. Consumers who have bad experiences and get no reaction from a company can harm the brand by spreading their experience to other consumers. Even a mediocre customer experience can be a detriment because the consumer may not report the experience but will likely not return.

Finally, you know there is a loyalty issue when traffic begins to decline, but by this point it could be too late. Rather than wait until traffic begins to decline, businesses need to be proactive in building a customer base and keeping that base by building loyalty. Determining goals, setting priorities, measuring customer engagement and interaction are all ways to keep your business growing strong.

Tags: build loyalty, consumer loyalty, ecommerce, Empathica, loyalty marketing, loyalty programs, online marketing

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