Back in the day, Fred Reichheld, a strategy consultant at Bain & Co., wrote a seminal book on retaining customer loyalty called The Loyalty Effect. In it, he explains how most corporations lose 50 percent of their customer base every five years—a fact that severely stunts business growth. Reichheld determined that to acquire customer loyalty, you have to follow eight steps:
- Build a superior customer value proposition (think better quality service at each touchpoint of customer contact).
- Find the right customers.
- Earn customer loyalty (sounds simple, right?).
- Find the right employees.
- Earn employee loyalty.
- Gain cost advantage through superiour productivity.
- Find the right investors.
- Earn investor loyalty.
This notion of building loyalty from all angles—employees, customers and investors—is still relevant in today’s digital age, and provides a basis for many other loyalty strategies. This article offers up 17 killer strategies for establishing audience loyalty , that are all based around a holistic foundation that prioritizes a company’s reputation, credibility and integrity. Similarly, this Hubspot piece, which addresses the idea that B2B marketers need to focus on customer retention rather than loyalty, suggests prioritizing customer orientation, education (on your product or service) and communication—things that are difficult to do without a strong relationship with your employees.
What success have you seen in generating customer loyalty? In your experience, what works—and what doesn’t?