The Secret Sauce for Brand Loyalty

1 min read

It’s the marketers ‘Holy Grail’ to have hoards of customers or clients raving about your brand or organisation to their friends. But this dream scenario is rarely by chance.

Customer experience expert, Nick Robins, shares his advice on how to proactively ensure that customers don’t just like your brand, but love it enough to recommend it to others. His career spent in customer experience roles at the V&A, The Design Museum and now at The Hippodrome Casino, has given him great insight into how to build strong customer relationships that lead to brand loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Secret to success

Nick believes the secret to this success is first and foremost, never treat customers as just numbers or transactions. It’s about recognising them as people with unique preferences and emotions, and really understanding what they need and want. These insights can inform actions that create greater customer service, which according to Nick, is where customer expectations are exceeded – leading to people becoming not just customers, but fans.

Secondly, Nick emphasises the importance of including customer experience insights from the beginning of marketing strategy development. He shares an example from his time at the Design Museum, where getting the Customer Experience Team involved early in exhibition planning led to a much better alignment between customer needs and the museum’s offerings, with a positive uptick in the brand’s image and success.

Where should we start?

For marketers looking to focus more on customer experience, Nick recommends starting by really listening to customers through surveys, focus groups, and direct feedback.

But that’s not all, it’s equally important to listen to employees who deal directly with customers, as they often have valuable insights on how to improve the customer journey. So, for the competitive edge, Nick recommends creating a group of customer experience champions, including those with boots on the ground, who meet regularly to map out customer journeys, checking that the process is smooth and exceeds expectations at every touch point.

And IRL?

Nick highlighted an example situation where unbeknown to the internal team, The Hippodrome wasn’t ranking highly enough for certain keywords in search engines. This was an open goal, as the business relied on this as a main driver of visitors to the London casino. But, it was a miss that wouldn’t have necessarily been spotted unless the customer experience champions had come together and consciously put themselves in the customer’s shoes. This was quickly rectified and soon reflected in an increase in the website traffic and footfall to the casino.

What’s the catch?

As Nick points out, the main hurdle is breaking down barriers between different departments. To truly weave customer experience into marketing strategies, organisations must encourage open communication and collaboration across all teams. He warns against seeing customer experience as just an operational task or a part of marketing. Nick suggests an all-encompassing approach that takes into account all points of customer interaction, across all areas of the business.

Anything we should watch out for?

Looking to the future, Nick points out the challenge of meeting increasingly high customer expectations in a tough market. Keeping customer loyalty, he says, will require creative strategies that really deliver on what customers are looking for. So the focus on the customer and their needs has become more important than ever.

So remember…

At its core, Nick’s approach to achieving the marketers’ ‘Holy Grail’ of customer loyalty and advocacy is straightforward – always proactively think about what the customer needs and keep the lines of communication open. He encourages businesses to try the idea of forming Customer experience champion groups, as he’s seen firsthand how effective these are at putting yourselves into the customers’ shoes and spotting opportunities and open goals. Methods like these are key to creating positive customer experiences that encourage customers to become active supporters of your brand. The marketers’ dream!

Nick Robins is the Customer Experience Manager at The Hippodrome Casino, London.

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