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Why the Customer Journey Should Be a Continuous Process

For many businesses, the customer journey stops once the ink has dried on a contract or a purchase has been made. But market leaders know that in order to retain current clients and attract new ones, their journey with your business must be a continuous process.

Once a prospect turns into a customer – whether they’re contracted to your business or they make infrequent purchases – you need to retain them and ensure they become loyal to your brand. Key to achieving this is by delivering an outstanding experience.

Here, Janine Hunt, client partnership director at customer service expert Kura, discusses why a continuous good experience is so important and how you can deliver an experience that makes sure your customers aren’t poached by competitors.

The state of brand loyalty in the UK

According to Yotpo’s ‘The State of Brand Loyalty 2022’ report, one of the most important factors to UK consumers when choosing a brand to purchase from is shared values. A huge 86% of shoppers say they want to interact with businesses who share their beliefs, and this figure rises to 95.8% of Gen Zers – highlighting that brands need to adapt to this emerging consumer group.

Over a third of consumers who are loyal to brands will pay more for products even if competitors are offering cheaper alternatives, which highlights how important loyalty is when it comes to retention. The same report found that the feelings and expectations consumers associate with their preferred brands include trust, transparency, and good customer service.

What will loyal customers do for your business?

The Yotpo report found that, while consumers are concerned about data privacy, they’re more willing to share their personal data with brands they consider themselves loyal to, especially in exchange for discounts, personalised offers, or other “loyalty perks”.

The Tipping Point of Loyalty white paper from Upside found that loyal clients are 22 times more valuable to a business than average buyers. Its advice to businesses is to focus on converting sporadic customers to loyal shoppers instead of acquiring new prospects. As well as being more lucrative to businesses, it’s also more cost-effective – obtaining new customers costs five times more than retaining current ones.

Using customer experience to increase loyalty

It’s clear that loyal clients are important to your business and that a good customer experience is crucial to retention – a huge 96% of customers would leave a business if they received a bad experience. So how can you ensure a continuous journey that increases loyalty? Here are our top tips.

Stay in touch

Consumers that are loyal to a brand are more willing to share contact information, so use this to stay in touch and keep your brand front of mind. You could send shoppers who haven’t been active for a while exclusive discounts or loyalty perks, or simply communicate with contracted customers on a regular basis to ensure they’re happy with the service they’re receiving. Being proactive with contact means you can spot any potential issues that might make your clients look elsewhere before they leave.

Be contactable and prompt

As well as maintaining regular contact with your customers, it’s important that they can reach you when they need to. An omnichannel experience means clients can get in touch with you in a way that suits them best – limiting contact channels means you risk alienating those who are not digitally enabled or who may find phone conversations difficult. Over two-thirds of consumers want brands to offer a blend of physical and digital contact methods.

Response times are a bugbear of many customers, with a recent Money Mail audit finding people who call could be on hold for as long as 51 minutes with leading companies. Customer service outsourcing offers businesses who may struggle with capacity the ability to serve clients in a timely manner.

Offer loyalty benefits

Customers should be rewarded for loyalty. While many businesses focus on perks and discounts to attract new buyers, the priority should be loyal clients. 65.8% of consumers would like to sign up to brand loyalty programmes, so this offers you a great opportunity to offer them a personalised and memorable customer experience.

The customer journey has traditionally been considered finished at the point of purchase or sign-up with a business, but that’s not the case. Loyalty is significantly more profitable than new customer acquisition and it’s also cheaper to achieve. This level of loyalty can be attained by delivering continuously excellent customer service. If your clients feel connected to and valued by your business, they’re more likely to stay loyal and in return, spend more.