The Harsh Truth about Customer Loyalty and How Communities Help You Win That Game

What are your customers telling you without saying it?

Helpscout opened our mind with this straight-forward and transformative question.

Every metric of our customer’s journey that we capture can be analyzed properly if there are people and technology to engage in that process.

And if there is willingness to ask ourselves tough questions: What does this piece of data mean? How can we use it to improve our business? Do these consumer insights help us serve them better?

Valuable information is like nuggets of gold to those in company teams who are willing to listen and read carefully what consumers want; what consumers say they want and what consumers do, but seemed they did not want.

Gandhi stated, ‘‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.’’ If you are one of the brands that can provide this alignment, your consumers will intuitively sense it although they may not be able to explain exactly what happens and why they get back to you over and over again.

In one of our previous articles we stated that innovation heroes should not do everything alone. And that innovation does not happen in silos.

Likewise, listening and actually hearing consumers reaps tangible benefits for your business because it navigates you not to go in the wrong direction. It helps you build your credibility since you are not just another business that forgets about the customers the moment after they bought from you.

Apparently, 12 positive customer experiences make up for one negative experience and may potentially erase the effect of such a negative encounter.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Econsultancy informs us that 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase and half of online shoppers will either try once or give up immediately when seeking help before an online purchase.


Photo: Graham Charlton, Econsultancy

Online communities bring the following benefits for customer loyalty to the brands as Shopify identified:

  • Brands can better manage customer complaints.
  • Turn customers into loyal fans.
  • Win over prospective customers, influencers and market leaders.
  • Network with other brands and create partnerships with them.
  • Get valuable and raw product feedback.
  • Be ranked as the coolest ones in the comments section.

When your brand communicates with many users or when your users get the information about your brand from others on the platform that you curate, it turns out that online communities can save time, effort and money for you, as well as increase your brand equity.

Building communities is not for everyone. This is the harsh truth, yet very tangible and real.

Building communities is not for the brands that are negligent of customer feedback; those brands that fail to listen and implement the changes that customers demanded.

Communities are not for companies that think of social media and community managers as wizards with magic wands. Nor for enterprises that think short-term and want quick wins.

Online communities will not help dysfunctional teams that are unclear on their strategy and that encourage toxic behavior as a stairway to promotion, fame or more money.

Online communities cannot lead you to greater profitability and higher customer retention if in your company there is no buy-in who will be in charge of that project and what results are expected.

But if done right, online communities are your life-saver and one of the best tools to turn customers into raving fans.

You just need to have first the reality check with yourself. You will need to figure out if your team culture, long-term company strategy, and day-to-day business operations can sustain the seamless technology and engaging customer experience behind the community building.

The math behind paying attention to details works in your favour.

Bain & Co identified that a 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of the company.

Hopefully, data like this opens our eyes.

So the next time the consumer interacts with our brand we will pay more attention to details that make them stay with us instead of going somewhere else.

Written by: Milena Milićević