Here’s a quick brand loyalty test. Who do you prefer? Ant Man or Atom? Captain Marvel or Superman? And the ultimate choice: Iron Man or Batman?
Chances are you most likely have a preference. Or an obsession? The point is, comic book fans in general tend to stay loyal to their brand. In fact, entire empires have gone to war over who has the best characters. Online forums have been created to debate on which is better, DC or Marvel?
Both DC and Marvel have reached a point in brand loyalty where neither of them have to chase after fans. They don’t have to say “please watch our movies and buy our merch” They simply say “Here’s the movie you’ve been waiting for!”
Ok, ok so maybe comic books can’t compare to what you are offering. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have such brand loyalty? How did they or any company with great brand loyalty get to that level?
Brand Loyalty Does NOT come From Marketing
Now a marketing agency can run all the ad campaigns they want. They can put your brand name on every social media platform known to man, but when it comes to keeping those customers from cancelling your service or deleting your app, that all depends on the experience they had.
All that marketing that a company does is brand awareness. Brand loyalty comes from what a company actually delivers and how they deliver it. The promises they keep and the way they value their customers and even staff. Brand loyalty comes from identifying a problem in the customer’s life, solving that problem and fixing it, without hassle, when the product or service fails to deliver.
Every company and brand wants their customers to be out there wearing their caps and T-shirts, using pens with their name on them, and all the other merch that may come along with being loyal to that brand. They don’t want them to even look at the competition. In fact, they want them (in a respectful way) to despise the competition, to stand up and shout their name and sing their praises. There’s absolutely nothing in the world that beats word of mouth advertising and that’s what comes from superior brand loyalty. That’s not something that’s able to be purchased. There’s nowhere that you can market or that you can have people sign up and give that genuine authentic word of mouth advertising. That all comes from brand loyalty.
How Do We Get To That Level Of Brand Loyalty?
By delivering. By taking care of our customers end to end. Soup to nuts. By giving them an experience they won’t or can’t forget. Be obsessive about customer care and map out the entire customer experience then follow up on that. Listen to them and take care of them, treat them with the respect that they deserve.
In the case of DC and Marvel they deliver what people want — and that is to be entertained. And according to their fans, they do it quite well.
Deliver A Consistent Customer Experience And…
When you deliver a consistent genuine product or service, if you take accountability when things go wrong and offer amazing customer support and service, then you’ll know when you have a new product release you won’t have to beg people for business. Your customers will be excited! They’ll instinctively know you are focused on the customer experience. They’ll be lined up waiting for anything you put out. Then all you’ll have to do is make the announcement: “Hey we’re releasing this new product/new service this year (app/plugin/etc) and they’ll be telling ten friends and those ten friends will tell 10 friends and so on and so forth
Thinking back to the late 70’s and early 80’s, Star Wars is a good example. When it came to merchandising or putting out a movie, they didn’t have to beg anyone to buy their toys or fill the theatres. They simply told everyone that the movie was coming, or the new character action figure would be in stores soon and people lined up.
They deliver what the fans are asking for and the fans take care of the rest. When DC or Marvel make a new movie, all the marketing in the world can not replace the experience the fan will have when they sit in the theatre and see the movie- NOW they are loyal!
So when a company starts out, when a brand begins to hit the market, show them a “movie trailer” and gain customers with special offers and advertising. But keep those customers coming back time and time again by obsessively taking care of them.
Fast Food Brand Loyalty
Now take a look at fast food chains. The competition is fierce being that the market is so big. In fact, I’m sure everyone can name one or two chains from the past that were driven out of business by the big guys. Here is a list of 40 restaurant chains that went belly up. The reasons for all of their failures may not be a direct result of competition, but one fact does remain. They lost their loyal customer base.
But what did the big guys really do to survive that the others didn’t? How do they continue to keep loyal customers?
It’s all in the total customer experience.
They offer more than just a fast, tasty meal. They have made sure the customer experience extends beyond a bag of burgers and fries. The other guys have burgers and fries, too, and this guy has burgers and fries, and this guy might have some chicken and these guys back here offer tacos.
But they have to stand out. Through brand awareness campaigns they let you know “Hey we’re open late night, we have a drive through, we have low, low prices. We’ve listened to you and we want you to be loyal to us!”
Then when the customers show up. They deliver. They keep their focus on giving every single customer, no matter who they are, an amazing and consistent customer experience. So when you walk into they’re restaurant, even though you’re spending just $0.99 or $1.99, you’re treated like you’re the queen of England.
And if your order isn’t right. They fix it!
Customer Support Is A HUGE Part Of The Customer Experience
Focusing on just a few aspects of the customer experience can be devastating. And a lot of companies do just this. They release a product with absolutely zero plan for customer support. They delegate the emails from confused or dissatisfied customers to other staff members with no processes, no streamlined support channels for communication. No support standards.
This is where things can start to unravel. Star ratings start pouring in. Angry social media posts. The rest of the staff gets overwhelmed trying to scramble, fixing things and dealing with angry customers. Not everyone is trained to handle customers properly.
There’s a lot more to giving great customer support than just fixing the problem. And there’s more to a great customer experience than just offering your product and service.
OK, yes we all know there are customers that are just unreasonable and at times even irrational. Those types of customers that seem to just be a lost cause, and you may even think you want them to just go away. Even ready to pay them to go over to the competitor.
Not so fast.
There’s still ways to handle them delicately and respectfully. There’s still ways to turn that squeaky, irrational, wheel into your biggest, most loyal customer. And once you turn those squeaky wheels into loyal customers they’re the ones who are going to turn around and bring more to your doorstep. They are the customers with the biggest voice. The widest reach. The huge social media megaphone….
Gain Brand Loyalty Through Customer Support
Building a high quality support team is imperative if you want to enjoy superior brand loyalty. Customer support and service should always be a major component, if not the entire foundation, of the customer experience. After all, you don’t want to throw your product out there and then isolate your customers.
As mentioned, many companies, especially at startup, overlook the intense need for a support team. Even just one agent dedicated to support to start can make a world of difference in building that solid relationship with your customer base. In short, customer support is not a place to try and cut costs in the emotional customer journey and experience.
Yes, some form of customer support can be done by…anyone. But think about your own experiences. If you care about your customers and want comic book level loyalty — then give them a box-office smash experience.
In the next blog we’ll take a look at how Brand Loyalty Can Work Against You!
If you’re ready to bring some expert experience into your customer support department, contact us now and let’s hop in a 30 minute strategy call.