Customer loyalty and Experience Design are more closely intertwined than you think. Here’s how you can humanize your relationships and keep loyal customers year after year.
Know what’s more important than ROI and a million other metrics you’ve got your finger on? Customer loyalty. It will make or break your brand, and it’s all in your hands.
Brand loyalty isn’t blind. Around half of all loyal customers have left a previous company because the experience wasn’t what they wanted it to be, according to HubSpot.
Sure, you can’t control what your competitors are doing or how the customers respond to it. But you actually have much more control than you think you do.
That’s because the design of the experience they have is in your hands, and that gives you the ability to shape your product or service from day one.
Experience Design can transform the customer relationship at every touchpoint from the ground up. You’ll create opportunities to connect with your customer over the things that make them tick. By the time your customer has had a few interactions with you, they’re completely convinced that you’re the brand for them. And it all starts with making choices that put people first and deliver the experiences they want.
You can change the way customers experience your brand even if you’ve never heard of Experience Design.
One of the most important aspects of Experience Design is the willingness to fail, change and grow. There’s no brand on the planet that’s doing everything 100% right, so there are always places for you to improve upon the experience, no matter how good your track record already is.
Great customer experiences are a critical part of building loyalty. Without a reason, why should your customers be loyal to you? But with the right principles and pillars in place, you can boost loyalty by putting the experience first.
Good design has the power to transform customer loyalty
Experience Design is not just about brand aesthetic. The experience pathways you create and provide as a brand impact the relationship between you and your customer.
Your customer should not have to work hard to find or use your product or service. It should be easy for them to recognize its value, find what they need, and acquire it. If they have questions, make it simple to get answers. You want the entire experience with your company to be easy, even fun.
Have you ever been shopping on a website that made it harder than necessary to reach the checkout screen? No one who’s in the heat of online shopping wants to stop and go to the account page to see what’s in their shopping cart.
If they’d put the button on the top right (where we intuitively look for the next step while online), it would take a second to go from shopping to beginning the transaction. But having to spend an extra 5 seconds thinking about the next step and navigating to another page makes you more likely to abandon the transaction altogether.
That’s lost loyalty over a bad design choice.
Conversely, a seamless checkout experience makes it that much easier for customers to give you their loyalty.
Case in point: Amazon.com’s Buy it Now feature lets you complete a purchase from the shopping page without even going to a separate checkout page. If you have an Amazon Dash button, you can re-order staples like Gatorade or paper towels by pressing a physical button in your home. (It says a lot about how the times have progressed that this doesn’t sound like sci-fi!)
Taking Experience Design into account ensures that no customer feels like they’re losing time or energy trying to give you their business. Make it as easy as possible for customers to choose you over and over.
Every touchpoint affects customer loyalty
You have so many opportunities along the way to reinforce customer loyalty. Every single touchpoint is a new customer loyalty opportunity.
There are touchpoints that take place at three critical parts of the buyer journey:
Before purchase: social media, reviews and ad content interactions
During purchase: website, point-of-sale and sales team interactions
After purchase: follow-up emails, customer support and billing interactions
Believe it or not, every one of these touchpoints affects customer loyalty and so do many more. All of your customer interactions either build upon customer loyalty or detract from it.
Imagine that you’re on the market for a new cloud hosting service and you find the perfect one — the only problem is, you have a limited-time offer code and the online point-of-sale isn’t accepting it.
You browse around quickly, hoping to find an online chat widget, but all you find is a phone number that’s open for a limited six-hour window each day. It’s too late to call the number, so you put off your purchase until the next workday.
By then, the LTO code has expired, and you’re so frustrated with the experience that you call off the purchase altogether.
That’s a scenario where a brand seriously misses the mark on touchpoint opportunities. It’s so incredibly common for customers to have problems at the online POS that a seamless solution is non-negotiable.
Check out Zappos for an example of the customer service touchpoint done right. This household-name online shoe retailer makes it really easy to get help.
If you have trouble completing the purchase, all you have to do is call them. Live, friendly, helpful customer service agents are available 24/7, and the phone number to reach them is featured on every page of the website, every ad, and every Zappos Google search result.
It’s easy to give your loyalty to a brand that makes it their priority to help. When you have to wait until the next day to finish a purchase, you’re much more likely to turn to a competitor in the meantime. Hello Amazon!
Design with the customer in mind from day one
It’s easy for customers to choose you when you’ve had their interests in mind since inception. Take Simple, an online banking app and financial services company owned by BBVA Compass.
In its earliest stages, Simple’s premise was just as its name suggests: A subset of young banking customers were and are most interested in:
A user-friendly app that eliminates the need to step into brick-and-mortar branches
BBVA partnered with the creators of Simple to create the first banking product designed specifically to meet those needs. There were already plenty of fancy apps attached to high-fee bank accounts, so Simple created a product that spoke directly to the consumer who didn’t need a traditional bank.
The result? Simple launched with a fanbase already excited to use their product because it was the only one on the market that heard their needs.
Is loyalty the same as Share of Heart?
Loyalty isn’t the same as Share of Heart, but you need Share of Heart to maximize your customer loyalty.
Share of Heart is a status that says that your company focuses on people before KPIs. In fact, Share of Heart is a Key Experience Indicator™ (KEI) that captures your performance at building connections, which are normally hard to quantify.
Having Share of Heart helps you maintain and gain loyal customers. But simply having loyal customers doesn’t mean you’ve reached Share of Heart. You could still have work left to do.
As an ExperienceBuilt brand, you’ll create Share of Heart with your customers by nurturing long-term brand love instead of short-term conversions.
Download the FREE ExperienceBuilt Index to learn more about how MMR Live can transform your brand’s human connections!