Gaining customer loyalty is of utmost importance in a highly competitive business world.

This is a world in which customers have a plethora of choices, and each player tries to outbid the other through discounts, offers, features, and even having that “fun” factor. But, building a loyal customer base requires a two-step process of 1) ensuring a high conversion rate and 2) gaining the trust of your customers. Building trust is critical in preventing a customer from crossing over to a competitor for the short-term gain that an offer might provide. Gaining this kind of trust, however, is, of course, easier said than done.

There is no magic formula to building customer loyalty. The type of strategy used to gain the trust of your prospects and customers depends on the product range, product positioning, the company’s financial depth and other internal factors. However, the underlying need is to understand what customers want and, in this day and age, expect.

The most common method of identifying what customers want is through feedback and contextual surveys. There are tools and solutions that help collect feedback and information so that you, as a vendor, can make sense of who your customer is and what he or she wants. Today, as marketers and sales professional, we have so many more tools at our fingertips than we used to. Let’s take advantage of them!

For example, I use our own form builder (in our lifecycle marketing automation solution) to construct simple customer surveys to constantly measure our success as a client-serving organization and gain feedback from our most valued customers in order to improve what we offer and how we communicate with them. Not only that, but I can score responses to easily make sense of all the responses and reward those people who engage and give feedback.

Building customer loyalty starts with asking customers what they want and need, whether that is with surveys or directly asking the customer through other mediums – social anyone? Listen to what your customers have to say – taking those suggestions and incorporating them into the way you conduct business will help you gain their loyalty and improve your chances of not only attracting new customers in the future, but keeping and growing your relationships with the ones you have.

I’m interested to hear what kind of customer loyalty programs you’ve seen success with. Or, are there any you’ve been at the receiving end of that have impressed you with their tactics? Let’s use these examples to get creative with our own efforts.

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