This is a post that focuses on the super-loyal customers or clients you already have. These tips aren't for all of your customers, rather, they're specifically reserved for your best ones - the ones who already generate the most revenue for your business. We'll go back to generating Zombie Loyalists out of all your clients in the next post, promise.
Anyhow... I don't have to tell you how important loyalty is to your business. Countless studies have done that already, with stats galore: "It costs X less to keep a current customer than it does to gain a new one," or "a loyal customer is Y times more likely to be believed when they say how great you are as opposed to an advertisement."
So... Two rules:
A) A loyal customer likes you, but can still be tempted by another brand, and can still leave you at any time.
B) A lifelong loyal customer will stay with you through hell or high water, and nothing any other brand can do will ever tempt them away from you.
So - How do you convert A into B? Considering how much effort you've spent to get your loyal customers, wouldn't you sleep a lot better at nig knowing you've made them lifelong loyal customers?
When a customer is already loyal, they don't need to be impressed by the simple things - That's what got them there in the first place. Instead, they're looking for you to help them simplify. They want you to remove worry form their lives.
Here's the example that inspired this post, and was completely unexpected: I've been loyal to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) for over ten years. They're my hotel chain, and I make sure that every year I stay at least 25 stays or 50 nights to keep my platinum status. For the past ten years, I've made sure that my hotel stays benefit my total nights so I'll maintain my platinum status, which gives me room upgrades, more points, and just a better loyalty experience. I had no idea how long I've been platinum with SPG, all I know is that it's important to me that I plan accordingly so I continue to make the goals to stay platinum. Sometimes, that involves having to stay at a hotel a distance away from my conference or speech, because I need to make sure I make my nights to keep my status.
Essentially, Starwood has just told me that for the rest of my life, I'll always be at their top-level of elite status, and I never again have to worry about "making my numbers," or "counting my nights."
I don't have to tell you how huge this is for anyone who travels at all, let alone weekly. This means that every single time I stay at a W, a Sheraton, a Westin, a Four Points, an Aloft, or a ton of other hotels in the SPG family, I'll automatically be upgraded to the best room or suite they have. I'll automatically get three Starpoints per every dollar I spend. I'll automatically get free lounge access, club floor access, free Wi-Fi access, etc.
Starwood has just taken any worry out of every future hotel stay, for the rest of my life. Do you have any idea what a relief that is?? No more counting nights!
Of course, with one very big caveat: I have to stay at a Starwood brand hotel to enjoy all of this.
Here's the thing, though - Why the heck wouldn't I? I've been loyal to them for ten years, and they're thanking me in the biggest way they know how, and taking a huge worry off my shoulders, forever! Why would I ever want to stay anywhere else again?
The secret to turning a loyal customer into a loyal-for-life customer? Do something that guarantees that they'll come back to you every single time, because going anywhere BUT you would cause them undue stress.
Own a business-to-business corporation? Well, every salesperson is a human, as is every buyer. The salesperson needs to be able to figure out what the buyer's pain point is, and eliminate that worry.
Restaurant? The loyal customer shouldn't have to worry about getting a table during a busy time. (Hello, Morton's!)
Loyal customers are great. Implementing little hacks to guarantee them into loyal-for-life customers like Starwood has done for me this morning? Priceless.
What other tips can you recommend to turn a loyal customer into a loyal for life customer? Let me hear them below.