How strong is your customer loyalty? Do your customers return to you as soon as they need your services or products? Or do they shop around for the lowest price or most convenient path?
If you know me at all, you know that I am a Coca-Cola fanatic. I will not drink Pepsi. If a restaurant doesn’t serve Coke, I drink water. But a little-known fact about me is that I used to drink Pepsi! When I was in high school, there were only Pepsi machines around the campus and I was fine substituting while on campus.
Since then, I’ve been choosing to drink Coke. I’ve convinced myself that anything less is just worthless (even Coke Zero). Psychologically, I just know that Coke is the best. What led to me becoming so loyal to Coke?
Short answer: consistency.
Using Consistency to Build Customer Loyalty
The secret to building customer loyalty is being consistent. Not just in any one area, but in ALL touchpoints.
1. Visual branding
Coca-Cola was the most common consistency example cited in my printing classes. It’s the brand that was always used to emphasize the importance of reproducing an exact color on any and every substrate. From cardboard boxes to magazine ads to aluminum cans, Coke red is always consistent. They even had their own PMS color created just for them!
Beyond the color, Coke has had the same font for their logo since 1886. It’s been tweaked slightly over the years, but the script has remained largely the same for almost 140 years. This type of consistency means that the image is instantly recognizable to consumers.
2. Brand Reputation and Values
Reputation is difficult to control in a lot of ways. It’s the expression of what a collective thinking is about your brand, and it can be incredibly challenging to change a bad reputation. However, reputation is strongly tied to your brand’s values.
Continuing the Coke example, their values include bringing people together. Ads are always about sharing a Coke with someone and use emotional marketing to resonate with consumers. The name campaign (where they printed names on bottles) was an innovative way to encourage people to buy and share Coke. Yet it fit right into their desire to bring people together.
When people know what you stand for and you’re consistent about representing your brand, they’re more likely to feel good about supporting you.
3. Product or Service Quality
No matter where you travel in the world, you can find a Coke. It’s always refreshing and always delicious!
This is not to say that it’s the same formula everywhere you go. Just like McDonald’s has different menu items to better serve customers in other cultures and countries, Coke has slight differences depending on where you go. (For example, Mexican Coke is renowned for its use of real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.)
But the point remains that, regional differences aside, you always know what to expect. I can buy a Coke at my local grocery store and get the same taste as I’d get from a gas station in Colorado. That’s consistency, and the guarantee of getting what I want every single time has cemented my customer loyalty.
Products aren’t the only thing that can be consistent. Service providers should also strive for consistent quality through every experience. If your maid service is sometimes fantastic and other times lackluster, you’re more likely to explore other options. But if they’re on top of things every single time they visit, you’ll be so happy that you’ll have no need to see what else is out there.
4. Product Placement
If your company is a B2C business serving consumers, you need to be consistent in where they can find you. I know that I can go into pretty much any retail establishment in the United States and find a Coke. Even if you’re a niche business that crafts vegan hemp dog collars, you should have your product always available where your customers expect you. If you sell on your website, you’d better make sure your site doesn’t go down. If you sell at a retailer, you should have a stocking schedule that allows for representation. Nothing is more disappointing than expecting to get what you want and having it be unavailable.
5. Customer Experience
This is your area to shine! The experience is paramount to building customer loyalty. Consider your buyer’s journey and the decisions they make that lead them to your product or service. Then look at every touchpoint between the decision to purchase and the transaction being complete. Have you provided excellent service? Have you delighted the customer with little details? Do these things every time and for every interaction, and you’ll have a customer for life.
When people know what to expect and know they’ll get it every time, you’ll build a loyal following who call you first when they need you. Better yet, you’re their ONLY call because nothing else compares. Build customer loyalty with consistency and you’ll win every time!