02 May How to Increase Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty
The single most effective business principle I have used to create long term customer retention and repeat purchases is the concept of: under promise and over deliver. When you give someone more than what they expected, anticipate their needs, and provide excellence in your product or service you are much more likely to retain that customer long term. When you under promise is doesn’t mean make weak or small offers. You should provide a quality product, service, and offer at all times. I love this principle of under promising and over delivering because it is something that we model from scripture.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. - Luke 6:31 NIV
Think about the times a professional or business has really wowed you. We can recall plenty of unpleasant experiences. What is your one great customer experience that was over the top? What is a business that you can identify with? The ones that you want to be part of the culture?
How to Create Long Term Customers
I recently had an experience with Vans, a Skateboard Shoe company. I’ve been skateboarding and buying skateboard shoes since I was 12 years old and I didn’t get my first pair of Vans until I was 27. I signed up for an email membership and since then I’ve gotten notifications about sales, skateboard videos, events, street art, skateboard culture, and other things I actually valued and cared about. I’ve bought some t-shirts and maybe one additional pair of shoes since becoming an initial customer. This past week I received something in the mail that blew my mind. I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail and I got 2 big boxes. Anytime you get something unexpected PLUS the added curiosity factor it is sure to be memorable.
I love the Biblical business principle here of investing in your customers. In the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 9, the apostle Paul is instructing the church on tithing and giving generously in verses 6-15. One verse I’d like to highlight because I see the principle of investing in a given area and seeing a return. Vans is making an investment in the relationship and brand equity in their existing customers. It’s much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to create a new one. Here is the biblical principle:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. - 2 Corinthians 9:6
Good news is Vans was giving me an unexpected gift. The bad news is the shipping company made a mistake and I ALSO got somebody else’s package by accident. I called Vans and they took the tracking number of the other packaged and ensured me that the other person would get another package sent out immediately and I could keep the extra package I received! My wife and I were beyond pumped because now we received: 2 backpacks, 2 stainless steel water bottles, 2 beanie, and some cool vans stickers entirely for 100% FREE with no catch.
Under Promise and Over Deliver…
Because of Vans sending there existing customers an unexpected gift this has moved me from customer to lifetime fan and even a desire to be a brand ambassador (who knows what our next business venture will be). The Lifetime-Value of a customer is a lot larger than this one time expense. Do you think it is worth it to turn customers into fans this way?
Do you know what the lifetime value of a customer is for you? What kind of experiences can you create for your customers that under promise and over deliver?
Creating Customer Retention: Vans Footwear
5 Elements to Create Long Term Customers & Brand Loyalty
- Exceed expectations – Under promise and over deliver is the best formula to create brand loyalty and increase customer retention.
- #VansFamily – Using the hashtag establishes a way for Vans customers to share their experience with their following via social media for this #VansFamily Campaign. Vans is giving this gift away also in hopes that people will share it on social media and create some virality to it.
- Community & Culture – Check out the call out on the cards above! With this gesture from Vans, they are essentially saying, “You are one of us, you belong here, and thanks for your business!” Every time someone makes a social media post with their Vans or using their hashtag they are identifying themselves as a member of the Vans Family or action sports community.
- Moments – Creating a memorable moment for your customers with your brand increases the likelihood of brand loyalty. When Van’s surprised us with $176+ in products, we were floored! The element of genuine surprise and joy came over my wife and I, so much so that I am telling people about it and sharing the experience as a case study. Every time you receive an unexpected package its usually good, and this fact helped build anticipation.
- Customer Service – When their shipping company made a mistake and I got 2 packages Vans told me to keep both. They said they would send out a replacement package to the other customer immediately. When I spoke to them on the phone I was floored a second time when they said we could keep the package and to enjoy it! Usually, someone calls when they are frustrated and Van’s used this opportunity to bless me and give me more when I was trying to send back an extra package. Post-purchase is still part of your marketing AND customer experience. Just because the sale is made doesn’t always mean our job is over. Thanks, Vans for going above and beyond!
The truth is that Van’s is investing in their relationship with their customers. They may have sent us excess inventory they couldn’t sell but they made a lot of happy customers with this surprise. The truth is that Van’s will see a return on their efforts. It may not be today or tomorrow as there isn’t a way to track a direct response ROI from this. This is an investment in their existing brand equity amongst their target consumers. Awesome move by Vans!
The only thing I would have added to this campaign is to incentivize customers even further to share a photo with the #VansFamily hashtag. Vans customers have a membership point system that allows you to redeem points for products. I would have given away more points or something else to earn more of a social media presence.
Important questions to ask ourselves are:
- What can I do in my business to under promise and over deliver?
- How can I exceed customer expectations?
- How can I invest in my customers to increase retention and brand loyalty?
What are your thoughts, opinions, and experiences when it comes to creating brand loyalty and customer retention?
Need help growing your Christ Centered Business? Want more sales, leads, and repeat customers? Click here for a Free Strategy Call
Rev. Ron Gelok III, MBA
P.S. Want to be a POWERFUL Christ Centered Business Owner WITHOUT Being Weird? Check out the Glorify God in Business Workshop
P.P.S. I’m so grateful for quality companies like Vans that not only have amazing products but are in the habit of under promising and over deliver. Thanks for the gear and a fun experience Vans! #VansFamily