Business Tips

By Jon Paradise

No matter your business, customer loyalty is important.  Keeping your current customers happy keeps them coming back again and again.  They are the ones who will try your new product first, check out your latest development as part of the perceived relationship they have with you.  Your loyal customers are the ones that will get your new offering on the map, and they are the ones that will hold you up when times get lean.  So, how do you keep them interested?

Johnny Earle, CEO and Branding Guru of Johnny Cupcakes, presented some wonderful points regarding customer loyalty and viral business as the keynote speaker at the recent HITEC NOLA conference.

Customer Loyalty

My coworker, Marisa, and I hanging out with Johnny Earle at HITEC.

Your truly loyal customers will go above and beyond the call of duty.  Not only do they purchase your goods or services, they purchase the experience.  They are excited about everything you do and want to make sure they get a piece of it.

Not sure what I mean?  Take a moment and think about a collector’s edition console game that is released exclusives, special edition art books, and various limited time items that provide no additional value to the game itself.  Loyal customers find value in those items as much as the main product itself, and they will go to some lengths to get them. Consider the people sleeping in tents awaiting the newest smartphone release, or camping out in costume for tickets to the big movie premier.  This is the kind of loyalty every business wants.

So, the big question, how do you get this customer “stickiness?”

In the immortal words of Johnny Earle, “You can’t keep doing the same thing you were doing two years ago, or even two weeks ago.”

You have to evolve and move forward with your customers as their needs and ideas change.  Don’t try to force customers into the box you created for them when you can expand the box to fit more of them.

“There are a ton of options on the market, so you must ask yourself, why would they take a risk with you?”

Are you worth taking a risk on?  I’m sure you are, but do your current and potential customers think you are?  You are only worthy if they believe you understand them and the things they need, want, even desire.  How do you become that?

Easy, you listen.  Yep, for a moment, stop pushing your agenda, and listen to those around you. Listen to the feedback of your current customers and the desires of those who are about to step into the market that your product calls home.

“You have to create an experience that makes people want to leave the status quo behind.”

So many people go with what is normal, what is safe, what is expected.  You have to give them something to get excited about, something worth tossing the competitor aside, something that makes them say, “Yes, THIS is what I have been looking for!” even if they didn’t realize that until today.

“Don’t be afraid to be weird and create your work environment so that you love what you do.”

Now, weird is truly in the eye of the beholder, and that is part of the point.  Regardless of how well you listen to customers, how well you fine tune your product to their liking, none of it matters if going to work feels like you are reporting for jury duty every day.  If you look forward to your time waiting in line at the DMV instead of being in the office, it is time to make a change.

If you feel good about your environment, and your coworkers (or employees) feel the same way, the ideas will flow.  Excitement about coming in to work, about doing what you do, is going to spill over into every aspect of the business; the product, the marketing and the customer service.  All of which help lead to happy customers.

“You have to keep your customers on their toes, guessing your next steps, intriguing them, and keeping them #hungry for your product – pun intended.”

You do, however, have to battle with complacency.  If your customers are happy with what they have, then they won’t be as interested in moving away from that.  If you want them to go on this journey with you, product by product, advancement by advancement, you need to make sure they are as excited about what may be coming as you are.  Be interesting, be a bit of a curiosity, be unique.

Read next: Creating Customized Client Dashboards

Johnny Earle mentioned he uses flash sales and popup shops to drive excitement, creating an air of exclusivity and scarcity.  This might not directly apply to your brand, but that doesn’t mean you cannot present yourself, and your product, as being exclusive, scarce, or rare, even if you really aren’t.

“What are 12+ things that make you unique?”

Johnny Cupcakes Customer Loyalty 12

While coming up with 12 things may be unnecessary, finding even one unique aspect gives you the ability to separate yourself from the competition.  It doesn’t have to apply to your product.  Maybe it is something about your brand or how you do business.  Just like a collector’s edition console game, you just have to offer something that draws customers in by making you stand out.

People enjoy feeling special, and that doesn’t require an expensive product.  It’s about cultivating that feeling and encouraging it to grow.  If you can keep that running, loyalty will never be an issue.

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Jon Paradise Enterprise Account Manager @iDashboards

Jon Paradise is an Enterprise Account Manager at iDashboards. Having expertise in business development best practices in the business intelligence marketplace, he paves the way iDashboards interacts with future clients. He likes to ‘work smarter, not harder’ by mastering the science and art of sales along with new-age marketing techniques. Follow him on Twitter @Da_Paradise.


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