For customers to be loyal to a brand, they have to truly love it and what it represents. That means that you cannot deceive or trick customers into being loyal to your brand. You have to make an honest effort to win their hearts and their trust. If you are genuine in your efforts to cultivate customer loyalty, you will end up with a dedicated following of customers who will be eager to purchase your products and services and recommend them to their friends and family. Here are tips for creating customer loyalty.

Engage consumers in a dialogue

To cultivate customer loyalty, brands need to have a healthy dialogue with customers. That means sending occasional messages to customers and requesting feedback from them. Its important to remember to respect the customers privacy and peace of mind. Incessant promotional messages are a nuisance and they can turn off customers. Instead, your business should send customers messages at a reasonable frequency, and they shouldn’t always be promotional messages (they can informative messages, birthday messages etc.). Businesses should make good use of mailing lists and social media platforms to engage their customers in a dialogue. Another way to dialogue with customers is by providing them with great customer service and always providing ready and useful responses to their queries.

Offer genuine loyalty programs

Businesses like to create loyalty point cards and other programs to reward their customers for loyalty. This can be a good thing if you are honest– customers will notice if you are being disingenuous in your offer. Customers feel cheated when businesses offer them loyalty points that expire, that can only be redeemed for useless gifts or during certain times, and those that can only be redeemed if they have accumulated to an unreasonably high number. Theyll know that you are trying to dupe them into becoming loyal to your brand, and theyll leave you. If people are willing to show your brand loyalty, you must be willing to reciprocate, so dont create a rewards system unless you are truly willing to offer those rewards.

Show that your brand is making a difference

Customers prefer brands that share their values, and they dislike businesses that are self-serving. They want to see businesses make a real difference in the world, and not just generate profits for rich stakeholders. Customers like to reward companies that help the society and conserve the environment. In order to win the loyalty of customers, companies should; strive to be more sustainable, minimize their carbon footprint, and participate in environmental conservation efforts. When it comes to social responsibility, companies that want the loyalty of customers should; support community programs, support entrepreneurs and small businesses, and invest in social enterprise.

Show that you understand how customers feel

Most companies have a difficult time indicating to customers that they have empathy, and this is a big problem because more consumers (especially the younger generations starting with Millennials) want to see that companies aren’t faceless profit generating entities. Companies can show empathy by being more ethical in their business practices, promptly and publicly responding to customer concerns, and even by weighing in on social debates. New companies are at an advantage here because they can start with a clean slate, but established companies have an uphill task of repairing their already tarnished public reputations.

Offer products and services that are relevant to the changing needs of customers

The needs of customers, and well as their values, keep evolving with time, and if you want customers to stay loyal to your brand, you need to update your production processes and marketing techniques as well. For example, an increasing number of consumers want farm produce that is organic’ or animal products that are grass-fed’ or free range’. If you are in the food production industry, you are certain to lose customers if you dont get with the times.

Be open, honest and authentic

This applies to all of the companys processes, including production and marketing. People now expect companies to be honest about the quality of their products and to make adverts that are a true reflection of the average persons experience. For example, cosmetic companies are currently facing a lot of criticism for using airbrushed images of models in their adverts. The public expects companies to be mindful of the effects that their marketing strategies have on the people.