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Customer Loyalty – Are you leveraging it?

Customer Loyalty is an ongoing relationship between us and our customers/guests with an emotional connection. The better the connection, the more willing a guest/customer is to engage with and repeatedly purchase from us – loyalty is a byproduct of the positive experiences we give them and build their trust in us. We know that when a customer is loyal to one company, they aren’t easily swayed by price or availability. They would rather pay more and ensure the same quality service and product they know and love. So how do we grow customers’ loyalty?

According to Forbes there are four key ways to increase customer loyalty:

    1. Prioritize Customer Service – in other words, make sure the winery is serving the needs of our customers/guests. “A whopping 73% of businesses that provide an above average customer experience are financially better off than their competitors.”
    2. Reward Customer Action – reward customers for their repeat visits. Starbucks is a great example of a loyalty program that has increased their sales and customer relationships.
    3. Collect Customer Feedback and Data – are we listening to the needs our customers? We can use this positive profiling in the tasting room – actively listening to our guests and adjusting our conversation accordingly. It’s no different with the bigger picture. Let’s find out what they want/need and find ways to bring satisfaction to them.
    4. Display Social Proof – this includes ratings, reviews, testimonials, real-time activity, influencer endorsements and more. It’s a way to show newcomers that our brand is worth investing in.

There are many ways of increasing customer loyalty, so where to start? Where is our focus going to be? What is our objective? Once we have clearly identified our objective, we can start to have programs in place that support the objective.

Let’s take a virtual visit to Lesley’s Winery, where the focus is on growing Customer Loyalty and the objective is to have long term, loyal, repeat guests that keep coming back, and bring their friends with them. (Hmmm, sound familiar? As this is more common than not, let’s focus on this objective.)

Lesley has decided to focus her marketing efforts on building Customer Loyalty in an effort to grow and retain her customer base. She has laid out a plan, and is carefully following it. So, what does that plan look like?

She has a developed budget, with key performance indicators reported out to the whole DTC regularly. Some of the metrics she uses to track loyalty includes tenure, how many new customers come from referrals, and customer retention rates. She does mystery shopping of her DTC channels to track efforts and get feedback to better meet the needs of her guests. (FEEDBACK & SERVICE)

  1. She has a plan for each buyer type throughout the buyers’ continuum. She turns prospects into buyers by providing an experience that is positive and memorable- she gets them emotionally invested by selling benefits throughout the experience, not just features.
  2. As she gets to know her first time and repeat buyers, she collects data on their birthdays, anniversaries, favorite wines, favorite meals, hobbies, and what other wines they enjoy. She has a First-Time Buyer program where each  new buyer gets a ‘thank you for your purchase’ message/card. (REWARDS)
  3. She has a plan in place to target the next group of customers to see if she can make them into top customers through outreach and high touch communications. She knows her loyal fans very well! She plans to “know the best, invite the rest” with offers. She has a survey for club members, reviews notes from outbound and customer service calls to get customer feedback. (FEEDBACK & DATA)
  4. She also knows who is at risk of quitting her club, and has plans to keep them interested and happy with segmented outreach via phone and email. She has a retention program in place with a small gift of ‘thanks for being in our club’ going out to club members at the ‘peak’ of when typical attrition happens by club. (REWARDS)
  5. Finally, Lesley knows that just because a customer quit her club, it does not mean they quit her brand. She has a communication plan in place to keep club alumni engaged and encourages them to purchase their favorite wines when they want them.

With a clearly defined plan that is shared with the whole staff, Lesley is set to build up her brand through customer loyalty in 2022! People respect what we inspect, so let’s get off of ‘automatic pilot’ with our efforts and really start focusing on it.

Here are some more ways to track customer loyalty:

  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Club Member Attrition
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Net Promoter Scores
  • Social Feedback
  • Mystery Shopping Feedback
  • Referrals

By the way, our friends over at Wine Pulse also just posted about about customer loyalty; more specifically, wine club members. Take a look here: Wine Club Members at Risk? How to be Proactive and Lower Attrition | WinePulse

Do you have a focus on Customer Loyalty? What does your plan look like? How are you tracking it? Improving it? We want to hear from you!

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