While it’s easy to say “a phenomenal customer experience is the key to growing customer loyalty”, it’s a little trickier to determine what a phenomenal customer experience actually is.
At Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions, we have found that simplicity is the key ingredient to delivering an exceptional customer experience and, by extension, expanding customer loyalty.
What do we mean by simplicity?
Your brand messaging must be clear and concise; from your marketing communications right through to instructions, important updates, website content, and any other communications between the brand and the customer.
A clear message conveyed in simple language = mutual understanding.
Honesty & Transparency
The more direct and open you are in regards to your brand’s values and goals, the easier it is for your customers to digest. This is what we do, this is what we are about, and this is what we are striving for… an honest and transparent brand identity that customers can get on-board with.
The first thing journalism students learn is how to determine what information is crucial to a story, and then scrap everything else. The same principle applies to the customer experience – get rid of anything that isn’t 100% relevant to your customers’ needs. The less convoluted and cluttered the customer experience is, the better.
To put it another way; life is more complicated these days than it was in the past… consumers don’t want these complications creeping into their brand experiences. Brands like Netflix, ALDI and Google rank well in the loyalty department, because they provide customers with a clear, succinct and straightforward experience.
As Siegel+Gale Chief Marketing Officer Margaret Molloy discussed in Paula Thomas’s popular “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast, one of the jobs that a brand has to do is navigate customers.
For example, personalization helps to navigate customers to specific products that cater for their unique needs, without the customer even needing to search for it themselves.
The more data a brand accumulates, the more accurate the personalization becomes, and the customer’s experience gets simpler and simpler. A digital loyalty app streamlines this process, both for the brand and its customers.
“Particularly in this COVID era, we are all so cognitively challenged in terms of the decisions we are making, the burdens we are under, the tensions we are trying to navigate,” she says.
“This pandemic has lifted the veil on the importance of simplicity, because COVID-19 is a cognitive tax that has been placed on all of us.
”According to Ms Molloy, brands should be striving to reduce that tax by giving simpler experiences via every touchpoint.
Given that we are talking about simplicity as a key to customer loyalty, I’ll try to keep this article simple as well…
Not only are 55% of people willing to pay more for a simpler experience, but 64% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides a simpler experience (Siegel+Gale).
Considering the fact that creating a brand ambassador is the Holy Grail of loyalty marketing, this latter statistic is colossally important.
“One of the great benefits of a brand, is that sometimes people will pay more for a branded product,” says Ms Molloy. “But it’s exciting to the business community that simplification isn’t merely for the sake of it; there can be a meaningful ROI from simplifying the customer experience.”
Simplicity is not necessarily about stripping things away
Southwest Airlines and Ryanair have a lot in common. They are both low-cost carriers, operating on very similar business models, with the same core message: cheap, simple, no-frills flights from Point A to Point B.
Why is it, then, that Southwest Airlines massively outperforms Ryanair on loyalty, advocacy and other CX indexes?
Common Ryanair complaints include hidden fees, surprising charges and the perception that it is “unclear what you are paying for”. Pair this lack of transparency with regular media appearances over crew strikes and other controversies, and it’s no wonder that Southwest Airlines outperforms its European counterpart.
My point is that simplicity isn’t merely about stripping things away – it’s a matter of organising the brand messaging, customer experience and rewards initiatives in a way that is clear, cohesive and straightforward. Herein lies the key to customer loyalty.
The fast food industry is an ideal example of simplicity and loyalty working hand-in-hand
If you think back to 10 or 15 years ago, fast food chains were all about variety, and the menu would be a baffling list comprising every combination of mains, sides, drinks and desserts under the sun.Nowadays, simplification has taken over – less is more, and customers respond well to simplified menus.
Tips for growing customer loyalty through simplification
Clearly define your business’s purpose. This helps you consolidate your goals, and ensure every business decision serves this end-game, so to speak.
Analyse your brand’s messaging, and make sure it aligns with the brand experience that customers are receiving. If your messaging and customer experience don’t align, then one of the two needs to change in order to sync up.
Shift your brand’s mindset from seeing customers as buyers of your product/service, to instead seeing them as users of your product/service.
Once again, this last tip is borrowed from Siegel+Gale Chief Marketing Officer Margaret Molloy. It positions your business to facilitate a simplified customer experience and thus foster brand loyalty.
The key to growing customer loyalty is simplicity
Whether you are a small business owner or the head marketer for a multinational organisation; simplicity is at the core of brand loyalty.If you want to retain more customers, you must find the path of least resistance to satisfying your customers’ needs and exceeding their expectations. From your brand messaging to your online shopping experience and customer support processes – keep it simple!