Building a community of customers who continually stand by you is stronger than a relationship built merely on repeat business.
Lets look a bit deeper, repeat business is when people do business continually with you over a period of time. Loyal customers are those who stand beside you and enjoy working with you, no matter the better offers that are out there to entice them.
Repeat business is easily won, loyalty is not a short term result but an ongoing commitment to build a relationship by a clear shift in perception where you move from a service provider (with a host of competitors) to one who is seen as making their lives better.
Building customer loyalty is all about being seen as being able to solve problems and provide a benefit to another person or business. People stick by people who are able to provide advice and clear judgment, as opposed to ‘job done, invoice out.’
A good example of the two sides between repeat business and customer loyalty has been my experience with Blackberry. Over the past six years, I depended on my Blackberry and didn’t really pay much attention to the added benefits. The apps were a bit clunky, nothing was really tweaked to make the user experience more interactive, I just paid my line rental every month and because my contacts were on the phone it was just easier to upgrade to a new Blackberry when the time came round.
Last week I moved to iPhone (so now alongside the Mac and iPad have the hat-trick), it’s where a lifestyle is drawn to. It’s clear that the Apple aim is to empower the individual and this is where we move from repeat business to loyalty. When the focus moves to the individual, this is the key in switching to loyalty.
If we can champion the brands that we represent and move to a way of working that is focused on ‘how can I help you’ and others believing in what we represent then the path changes from repeat customers to an army of loyal advocates.