Turn the customers who stuck with you in lockdown into super-loyal customers and advocates
Despite any claims that customer loyalty is over, many consumers were exceptionally loyal to the brands they wanted to support during 2020.
This was explicitly stated by many consumers. They went out of their way to make sure they spent money on their favourite brands while they knew times were tough.
At the same time, those consumers told us they want to be acknowledged and valued by the brands they go out of their way to show loyalty to.
If your business was able to trade during national restrictions in 2020-2021, this presents you with a great opportunity. Build on that loyalty and turn it into a real love for your brand.
Exclusives are the key to your customers’ hearts
Customers want exclusives, they want to be treated like VIPs, and they want their loyalty to be recognised and rewarded.
The next time you have something in the pipeline, whether it’s a promotion, a sale, or a new product, ask yourself a question. Could be peeled off as an exclusive for your lockdown loyalists?
Because that’s exactly what customers are asking for.
Exclusives in practice
Have a dig through your data and see who placed orders during the lockdown period.
If you’re in a high-volume business, you may need to set a cap, such as the top 20% by order volume, or your top 100 customers. The particulars are yours to hammer out, these are just guidelines.
With this data in mind, look at what you’ve got coming up in the business diary, and figure out what you can offer this database as an exclusive.
That might be items like:
- First dibs on booking tickets for special events.
- Early access to new products when they come into stock, or pre-sale.
- First chance to use discount codes on your site, or first chance to access sales.
- Priority bookings when re-opening, or re-starting certain arms of your business.
What you choose to do depends on what works best for your company.
But the main point is to treat the customers who spent with you during the lockdown periods as real VIPs and offer them something no one else can get.
It doesn’t have to be a discount, or even a special offer, but it does have to be exclusive to that group.
Then, communicate what you’re offering to the audience you set aside earlier. The most common and convenient way of reaching customers is going to be email. But in-store adverts, social media, direct mailers or text messages could work as well.
It might seem silly to advertise a promotion focused on rewarding loyalty customers to new customers, but you’re doing more than that.
You’re also showing those new customers that loyalty is valued, recognised and rewarded in your business.
If you don’t keep data
Not every business keeps data on when customers make purchases, and for some businesses it’s not practical.
If you’re in a trade like a café or a takeaway, many customers will spend without parting with any data.
However, you can still use whatever information is available to you. While a customer may have made purchases without giving you their data, they may have kept their receipt. Or the purchase may be in their banking history if they pay by card.
Perhaps they accumulated stamps on a 2020 loyalty card, or even used a membership or loyalty card during lockdown that you can pull data from.
If you’re at a data disadvantage, don’t fret – just think a little creatively and use what’s available to work around the roadblock.
You’re turning loyalty into love
By making an effort to recognise and reward your most loyal customers, you’re mirroring what research on loyalty tells us they’re most interested in.
This will make those customers extra-loyal to your brand in the future, and more likely to recommend them their friends and family. This increases their value to your business in the long term.
Crucially, you don’t necessarily have to set aside special promotions or discounts for those customers. Rewards would be helpful, and they have an important role to play in loyalty, but it’s more than the rewards.
It’s about offering those customers something that celebrates them, and truly separates them as customers from someone that just walked in the door.
Over to you
Making an effort to treat your loyal lockdown customers as VIPs will make it clear that they’re noticed and valued by your business.
This will bring them closer to your company and satisfy their expectations and desires around customer loyalty, bringing you benefits down the line.
If you have any questions, or want to talk about loyalty in your business, just get in touch. We’re available on the phone or web chat during business hours, and we’re available on email at all hours.