Whether you're just starting out or trying to 10x your business, loyal customers will make it a lot easier to achieve your objectives. Most entrepreneurs prioritise purchase satisfaction to keep their customers coming back. However, it turns out that isn't actually a reliable indicator of customer loyalty.
There are good reasons why a satisfied customer may shop elsewhere. They might be curious whether the grass is greener somewhere else or simply crave variety. Conversely, unhappy customers may persist with incumbent suppliers out of habit or because the cost of switching feels too high.
So what actually drives customer loyalty and how can you harness it?
Research carried out at Texas State University provides some valuable insight: emotional attachment is a far better predictor of customer loyalty than purchase satisfaction. Until your customers care deeply about your business, there will always be a risk that they might wander away.
Surefire tactics for cultivating emotional attachment include delivering consistently and personalising service as far as possible. A simple "thank you" will also go a long way, but be careful about overdoing it because excessive gratitude can annoy your customers and drive them away.