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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in customer behaviour. More people are shopping and spending time online, with a recent report from Ofcom finding UK consumers spent 48% more online in 2020 and the average UK adult spent three hours and 37 minutes online per day. The latter was the highest rate in Europe and a full half an hour more than the next most digitally focussed market, Spain.

It almost goes without saying that the accelerating shift to digital came at a particularly challenging time for many retailers, many of which were having to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing set of circumstances and supply chain issues. They were, therefore, under more pressure than ever to deliver excellent customer experience and, in doing so, retaining and enhancing customer loyalty.

Yet, there are signs that consumers have become more fickle – as a variety of studies have suggested they can be when shopping online. A McKinsey report published in 2021 found that more than three-quarters of consumers tried new brands, places to shop, or methods of shopping during the pandemic. That has taken shape in a number of different ways, whether it is consumers opting to take out subscriptions for products they would normally buy in a shop or ordering meal kits rather than buying groceries at the supermarket.

With the consumer habits of lockdown likely to endure as we move back into some kind of normality, brands need to carefully consider how they can drive loyalty in the new world of retail. Loyalty from consumers is great for brand image, with customers more likely to share their positive experiences with others through social media and online platforms. In fact, many statistics suggest customer loyalty has a Pareto Principle effect on sales, with regular shoppers accounting for the majority of sales.

Here are seven complementary ways brands can look to drive enhanced customer loyalty:

  1. Implement a customer loyalty programme

Customer loyalty programmes in the retail sector take a wide variety of different forms, from the Tesco Clubcard to The Body Shop’s charity program. While they may vary by type, loyalty programmes are proven to deliver value to their operators: research from Loyalty Lion shows that customers who sign up to loyalty programmes are 47% more likely to buy from that business again.

  1. Create a community for your customers

Some of the biggest retail brands in the world take a different approach to how they see their customers. Instead of consumers in the traditional sense, they aim to create communities among the people who buy their products. Perhaps the best example of a retailer doing this was Lego, which started building a community in the late 2000s, playing a big part in the company’s revival and transformation.

  1. Improve customer experience

How consumers experience a brand is a critical part of encouraging them to become repeat shoppers. A range of studies show that the vast majority (86%, according to one poll) of consumers are willing to pay more for great customer experience. They are also more likely to re-engage with brands with which they had a great experience. We touched on how this can be done in the right way using a combination of automation, outsourced customer service, and human interaction in a previous blog.

  1. Segment your customers

There is an old saying that if you try and speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one. But, if you can segment them into groups made up of similar traits or behaviours, you can more effectively provide personalised support and offers. Our specialist teams are trained to understand your customer segments and how best to tailor their interactions to enhance their experience of the brand. Our Polaris service is also available to help customer care advisors distinguish between satisfied customers open to buying new products, and those who are not, as well as when that short timeframe is still open.

  1. Understand the product

It is crucial the people providing advice and support to customers understand the brands and products they work with. That’s why we make sure our consumer care teams become experts in the brands and niches they represent. We provide our them with real equipment and products to check when they are talking to customers, enhancing loyalty because the customers trust the people they are dealing with to know what they're talking about.

  1. Ask customers for honest feedback

 You cannot fix a problem you do not know about, and research from Comdata Digital suggests that brands are blind to more than 90% of their dissatisfied customers. Fewer than one in ten will make a complaint, unless they are asked for feedback. Find out more about our customer feedback management service, including Comdata’s cutting-edge Consumer Live software-as-a-service solution. 

  1. Manage positive reviews

The other side of the same coin is encouraging and sharing positive reviews from customers. Comdata has been managing customer reviews for many years across a range of platforms, such as Trustpilot. Our team of specialist customer care professionals partner with DigiDesk, using it to provide clients with advanced sentiment and text analytics, manage reviews and auto-replies, track KPIs and response times, as well as providing full audit trails and reporting.

Ultimately, a loyal set of customers will provide a dependable stream of income and can even act as advocates for your brand. But, this has to be built on them having a great experience of your business and feel valued at the variety of touchpoints they will have with you. Comdata has expertise in all of the areas discussed above, delivering the best customer experience possible through our specialist teams who are experts in each of the brands they work with.

If you want to hear more about how Comdata UK can support you with customer experience and loyalty, please get in touch.