Don’t Sacrifice Long Term Loyalty for Short Term Growth

Note: this post was originally written for Designzillas.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that need to get done, the goals you’ve set for your company this month, or comparing this year’s metrics to last year’s benchmarks. But in the midst of all these short-term endeavors, don’t forget to think about your long term customer relationships.

In this post we’ll cover how to keep short-term growth in perspective, the benefits of thinking long term, and some companies setting the standard for customer loyalty.

Recognizing Value

We’re all familiar with short term growth strategies. In fact, you’re probably thinking about them right now… how ou’re going to increase your website traffic this quarter, or all the tasks piling up for your latest campaign launch. While these short term commitments are important for your business' growth, keeping them in perspective is even more important.

A customer that comes back to you time after time is going to be a more valuable customer in the long run – in more ways than one.

When you earn a customer’s respect, they’ll become an advocate for your brand and a word-of-mouth recommendation is the best kind of recommendation you can get. The more they share, the more new leads you get. And social proof is a powerful thing.

In addition to an increase in leads, your customer’s increase in loyalty means that their lifetime value (LTV) is likely to increase as well. Win!

Building Relationships

Creating long term loyalty means building relationships with your customers. Today’s consumers are much savvier than most businesses give them credit for. They don’t want to feel like they’re just another number or being taken for a ride.

Build goodwill within your customer base by being honest, transparent, and genuine with them – they’ll know if you're not.

Real World Inspiration

So, how do you start to build goodwill for your company? It’s easier than you might think! Check out how these companies are building customer loyalty through small gestures.

Zappos built their brand based on providing great customer service! Their positivity and understanding of the value of being real with their customers shows in every aspect of their business. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, explains:

“Usually marketing departments assume that the lifetime value of a customer is fixed when doing their ROI calculations. We view the lifetime value of a customer to be a moving target that can increase if we can create more and more positive emotional associations with our brand through every interaction that a person has with us.”

Zappos has become one of the world’s largest shoe stores, and was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.

Mailchimp is a company that understands the power of a small gesture. Beyond providing great customer service and a cutting edge marketing platform, Mailchimp surprises its users that upgrade to a paid account with a free t-shirt. Take note: they don’t incentivize, they appreciate.

Just check out these photos from around the web that this small act of kindness generated:

Domino’s Pizza recently went through a huge reinvention of everything related to their brand (right down to their pizza recipe). Domino’s gained a lot of respect by being up front and genuine about not being known for providing great-quality food. And most importantly – they gained respect by owning that notion and changing it.

They even released a documentary and website dedicated to their “pizza turnaround.”

What can you do today to make your customer interactions lead to long term loyalty?