How to Build Customer Trust and Loyalty

Many companies underestimate the value of customer trust and loyalty when it comes to driving higher revenue growth. It might sound counterintuitive, but convincing existing customers to return is more important than gaining new ones. This is because the cost of finding new customers is far higher than the cost of selling to existing customers. In fact, returning customers spend 67% more than first-time buyers.

It’s clear that executives need to put customer loyalty at the center of their company’s values, but how do you actually go about doing building customer trust and loyalty? Let’s jump right in!

3 Ways to Build Customer Trust and Customer Loyalty

  1. Create Personalized Experiences to Build Trust
  2. Go the Extra Mile to Listen and Understand
  3. Quality, Quality, Quality

Action #1: Create Personalized Experiences to Build Trust

Throughout the customer journey, your brand should meet customers where they are. The more personal you make the customer experience, the more trust you’ll cultivate. 

For instance, in the pre-purchase stage, in-store employees should have substantial knowledge about products and understand what customers need. Employees should be trained to create positive interactions from the beginning all the way up to the final moment of purchase. Asking small questions like if a customer found everything they needed—and stepping in if they didn’t—can make a huge impact. Little actions like that help add a nice personal touch to a customer’s experience—and lead to a stronger level of trust!

Action #2: Go the Extra Mile to Listen and Understand 

Trust often leads to loyalty, but your brand has to make the first move. To cement a longstanding relationship of trust, your business needs to show loyalty to customers first. 

An effective approach here would be to engage with and respond to customers, because engaged customers are more likely to promote your company than unengaged customers. Actively responding to customer questions, comments, and complaints can grow loyalty by putting a human voice to a brand. 

One best practice for engaging with customers in this way is to design an open communication and feedback channel. Of course, we recommend utilizing not just a help center as a method to reach out, but any adequate resource, from employees on the front line to digital surveys. Additionally, you should look to other indirect forms of feedback to understand your customers such as review site data and social media mentions.

Action #3:  Quality, Quality, Quality

At the end of the day, even if their customer experience was amazing, if the product doesn’t meet a customer’s expectations, all that work you did to build trust and loyalty is in vain. Customers expect value for what they pay for and no amount of sales gimmicks can hide the truth of your product, so it’s key to know customers’ expectations and develop your product/service to meet or exceed that. After all, loyal customers are coming back for a quality purchase; the positive customer experience is an additional element encouraging that return. 

Your customer experience platform is essential to identifying friction points and remedying them to improve customer trust and customer loyalty. We discussed in the section above how it’s important to keep tabs on what your customers are saying about their experience. Once you’ve collected all this feedback data across every channel, you can leverage your customer experience (CX) platform to analyze all that customer feedback and identify the areas in your business that need some attention. Check out this video below to learn how global banking giant, Virgin Money, worked with InMoment to understand the most impactful moments in the customer journey.

Now that you’ve learned how to build customer trust and loyalty, read our eBook to learn about how that trust and loyalty can drive cross-sell and upsell opportunities!

Improve the Customer Journey

If your products or services aren’t performing well, it might not be because of the product itself. Instead, there could be a problem with the customer journey. Your customers’ journey can drastically affect how your customers experience your company—and whether or not they eventually become loyal to your brand. And it’s because of this fact that improving your customer journey is vital to overall business success. Wondering how to get started? We’ll walk you through the first steps to optimizing your customer journey. 

What Is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the process a customer goes through from awareness to purchasing and beyond. To provide an exceptional customer journey, you need to  understand your customers—how they interact with your website and what they’re really looking for. It’s important to point out that the customer journey is different from the customer experience (CX). Customer journeys are what your customers are doing, while the experience is how they’re feeling. A fully optimized customer journey can help improve your customer experience. 

While the exact steps in the customer journey can vary, these are the six most important parts of the journey: 

The Problem

First, customers need to realize they have a problem, a need, or a want that must be solved. Once they recognize a problem, they can begin looking for solutions, which should hopefully lead them to your company. 


During this stage, the customer is gathering information, researching, and looking for options to solve the problem. Hopefully with your marketing efforts and channels, the customer will come across your company and become aware of your solution to their problem. They’ll still be weighing options and researching what suits them best, but this stage is a great place to use content to showcase your brand. 


During this stage, your customer will be considering using your product or service. They may be deciding between you and another option and debating pricing options, prioritizing features, and weighing drawbacks. When a customer is considering, brand recognition is crucial. Having a trusted and well-established brand could be what sways a customer toward your product during this stage. 


The customer decides on your product and makes the purchase. Even once they’ve purchased your product, companies benefit from reaching out to customers and acknowledging the purchase. 


Once a customer has bought a product or service, it doesn’t mean they will return to your company again. A key part of the customer journey is retaining the customer for future purchases. Providing support is important for retention. You want customers to come back again and again and to look for your product or service when faced with a problem. 


Once your customer comes back to you a few times, they’ll start to develop loyalty to your brand. Loyal customers will almost always come to your company if they can because they trust your products, services, and customer experience. Getting to the loyalty stage takes effort, but loyal customers are the goal of every company. 

A Customer Journey Example

Let’s walk through what the customer journey could look like. A hypothetical manager at a finance company recognizes an ongoing issue with managing data for customers. She starts looking for a data management solution. Her friend in the industry recommends the data management solution he uses while another networking contact recommends a different one. She also uses internet searches and reviews to find more. Targeted ads on Google and company social media also bring in a few more options. She pulls together a comprehensive list of all of her options for high quality data management solutions. 

Using reviews and priorities, she whittles her list down to two companies. Once she has her two favorites, she then uses the companies’ software demos and pricing packages to consider each one. She makes her selection based on which one works best for her company and is the most affordable. Once she purchases the data management software, the company acknowledges and thanks her for her purchase, which helps her feel valued as a customer. 

A few months later, this same manager is looking for data architecture solutions that will provide security and big data management. She remembers her experience with the data management company and starts her search on that particular website. When she sees they offer software for her needs, she spends less time in the consideration stage and moves quickly into purchasing. She also begins recommending the company to other people in the industry when they’re looking for similar products. Someday, this manager could be loyal to this company and go to them for all of her data needs. 

The Importance of Improving the Customer Journey 

Understanding how your customer moves through the customer journey and planning for it is important to gaining and retaining customers. The Aberdeen Group did a study on the use of formal customer journey improvements in companies and discovered some key benefits: 

  • 18 time faster average sales cycles
  • 10 times improvement in customer service costs
  • 5 times greater revenue from customer referrals
  • 54% greater return of marketing investment

Overall, this study shows that companies that focus on customer journeys can benefit in revenue and profitability. Optimizing the customer journey also helps decision makers at the company to stay focused on customers. It also helps improve the customer experience and your brand. A well-optimized customer journey makes the purchasing process easier and more enjoyable for the customers, which improves their experience. 

Optimizing Your Customer Journey 

Improving your customer journey is crucial to improving customer experience and benefiting from increased revenue and profitability. These are some of the best ways to improve your  customer journey: 

Understand Your Customer

To fully understand how to improve your customer experience and journey, you need to know who your customers are. There are many ways to go about understanding your customers: analytic research, informal qualitative research, carefully crafted personas, and more. These methods will help you know what your customers want, what they need, and what your brand can provide. 

Identify Touch Points

Anytime a potential customer interacts with your brand, you have a touchpoint. Your touchpoints could be ads, your website homepage, a physical storefront, reviews, newsletters, phone calls with sales, or emails. Once you identify all the touchpoints, you can then find the obstacles that might make the journey difficult or cause potential customers to drop off. A broken website link, no set-up voicemail, or unclear ads could cause unnecessary difficulty and lose you customers. By keeping track of your touchpoints, you can optimize them to keep your customers moving through your customer journey seamlessly. 

Create a Customer Journey Map

Customer journey mapping involves visualizing the journey your customer takes through the process of gaining awareness of your product to purchase. This map will illustrate how your customers move through their journey for your company and on your website. Using customer research and touchpoints, you can map out exactly what steps a customer takes and what you can do to make it simple. Creating this map will give you greater insight into where your potential customers are falling away and where your company can fill needs. 

Improving your customer journey will help your customers learn about your company, products, and services. It will also help you keep your customers moving seamlessly through to the purchasing stage. But ultimately, your customer journey can help you improve your customer experience. Your customers can enjoy the ease and support your company offers them. 
To improve your customers’ journey, you’ll need tools to understand your customers and to utilize your touchpoints. InMoment CX solutions provide feedback and active listening tools to help you understand where to tighten your process and bring more customers to your brand. Improve your customer experience with InMoment.

True Customer Loyalty Starts with The Basics: Which Of These Are You Missing?

Every company executive will agree that having loyal customers is a key to business success. But what are executives really doing to encourage customer loyalty? Most businesses will point to their customer care training or customer relationship management (CRM) system and count on these tools to build loyalty. Some will point to their monthly newsletter or discount program to demonstrate their efforts. All of these are good attempts. 

However, they are not enough. They might make an impact, but creating customer loyalty is something that must be the center of the company. Fostering true loyalty and engagement with customers starts with the basics—and we’re laying those out for you in our top tips, listed below!

  1. Aim Toward Ideal Business Outcomes, but Stay Agile
  2. Have the Right Data Collection Tools in Place
  3. Act on the Data You Receive
  4. Continuously Improve Your Processes Based on Market Changes

Customer Loyalty Tip #1: Aim Toward Ideal Business Outcomes, but Stay Agile

Ideally, you’ll know where your business is heading in 12 months, three years, and five years. But, since the onset of the pandemic, we have learned the hard way that everything can change in a heartbeat. For these reasons, an agile customer listening strategy is critical to survive and thrive. 

Providing your customers with an open channel for communication and feedback engages your customers and strengthens your relationship with them. Engaged customers are more satisfied, more loyal, and more likely to promote your company than unengaged customers. They go out of their way to show their association with your company. An engaged customer also supports you during both good and bad times, because they believe that what you have to offer is superior to what your competitors have to offer. 

Engagement takes your customers beyond passive loyalty to become active participants and promoters of your product. Engaged customers will want to give you more feedback—and you should be ready to handle it! All this translates into more engaged customers who will spend more money with you over time.

Loyalty Tip #2: Have the Right Data Collection Tools in Place 

Enterprise feedback management (EFM) is more than just collecting data. EFM adopts a strategic approach to building dialogues with your customers. By wrapping customer dialogues with technology, your company creates a structured, searchable, and quantifiable body of information that can be used to drive critical business decisions. 

By having the right feedback collection tools in place, you:

  • Empower customers to give feedback through common advertised channels
  • Centralise reporting for proactive surveys and complaint management solutions
  • Structure quantitative feedback into a drill-down or rollup report
  • Make open-ended feedback intuitively searchable

Loyalty Tip #3 Act on the Data You Receive 

Collecting data is a great start—but taking action on customer feedback is the next and most important step for creating loyal customers. Once you’ve validated the data against your program goals and established trends and patterns, it’s time to make a plan. 

Businesses use a variety of statistical techniques to make predictions about the potential for future events. Furthermore, predictive analytics may be used to ascertain the degree to which answers from a survey relate to particular goals (such as loyalty and engagement). Tactical knowledge of action items that impact an outcome preserves resources wasted on ineffective programs, and competent statistical modeling reveals which tactical options have the most impact.

Analyse data using a statistical technique to reveal the most important areas of focus. Then, ask your analyst about common statistical methods including correlation, multiple regression, factor analysis, and logit models. Finally, recognise that the important areas of focus may change over time to respond with changes in the economic, competitive, and demographic environment of your business.

Loyalty Tip #4: Continuously Improve Your Processes Based on Market Changes 

Whether you are applying lean principles, 6Sigma, Kaizen, or a combination, a continually improving experience program is what we are all striving for when it comes to best practice. Every time you seek to optimise your program, you have the opportunity to eliminate non value adds and other waste components which get in the way of operational processes. Every improvement should have a “customer first” approach, which will help customers feel valuable and more loyal with every action. 

Want to learn more about what it means to continuously improve your customer experience, customer loyalty, and your bottomline? Check out this paper which outlines the Continuous Improvement Framework, InMoment’s unique approach to truly value drive experience programs.

How to Humanize Customer Experience & Drive Meaningful Customer Relationships

There’s a problem with how many businesses view customer experience (CX) data: human beings cannot (and should not) be distilled down to numbers. For many years, experience programs have hailed numbers as a sort of holy grail, but the reality is that numbers are no substitute for genuine human connection.

None of this is to say that metrics aren’t important, but companies should remember that they can only reveal so much about why customers may be experiencing an issue or even why they remain loyal to the brand. With that in mind, we’re going to dive into a few things to bear in mind while creating more human and more connective customer relationships!

Numbers Alone Can’t Tell a Story

Before we get into how to humanize and improve customer experiences, we first need to understand why structured data can’t give us all the answers. For instance, it’s common to send out Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT/OSAT), or Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys after a customer interacts with a brand, but what do these scores actually tell us? A higher ease-of-use score, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean you made the customer happier or that you improved that customer relationship. You can speculate about numbers, but they don’t reveal the exact, organic reason why customers feel one way or another.

So, how can companies compensate for this lack of context? The answer lies in unstructured data and the Experience Improvement (XI) solutions that can turn it into actionable intelligence. That actionable intelligence, in turn, gives brands the chance to create a more organic, more connective, and more human customer experience.

How to Humanize and Improve Customer Experiences

Only when a business listens to human feedback can it respond with a more human customer experience. This means tapping into the voice of the customer by allowing customers to express feedback in their own words. 

Consider platforms like Instagram, Yelp, and YouTube. People can use these platforms to freely (and frankly) express themselves in a way that numbers cannot allow. The result is a form of unstructured feedback that your brand can not only use to trace the root causes of experience breakages, but also to empathize with your customers.

After accumulating enough unstructured data, the next step is to analyze and act on what you’ve learned. However, that’s easier said than done, especially if your CX resources are limited. That’s why it’s important to desilo data and share customer intelligence with your entire company. Then, you can get multiple departments to collaborate and act on their role in humanizing the customer experience (this approach also creates a single, holistic view of the customer for your organization).

If your brand can offer experiences that are far more human, that’s far more valuable than achieving any high metric score. And it goes hand in hand with customer loyalty. When a customer feels empathized with and known as a person, that customer will return to your brand—even if there’s a lot of competition—because their relationship with you has transcended mere transactions. This is the heart of Experience Improvement—answering customers’ search for meaning while strengthening both your bottom line and your marketplace leadership!
To learn more about what makes doing business so dehumanizing and why brands need to challenge themselves to humanize and improve customer experiences, watch this video!

How Operational Excellence Now Leads to Experience Improvement Later

Operations have everything to do with both your business’s bottom line and its relationships with customers. This makes ops’ importance to Experience Improvement (XI) pretty self-explanatory.

However, as foundational as operational excellence is to a company and its experiences, there’s more that brands can do to build a bridge between operations and Experience Improvement. Today’s conversation focuses on that bridge’s two main elements: optimization and innovation.

Element to Connect Operations with Experience Improvement

  1. Optimization
  2. Innovation

XI Element #1: Optimization

Creating operational excellence isn’t a one-and-done. It’s a process that requires constant attention and tweaking. Your experience initiatives can help here by shining a light on systemic issues that might need a closer look. That spotlight can also be used to help come up with fixes for those problems. Of course, a tried-and-true process for identifying and then responding to problems like these is a must here.

Fortunately for brands and organizations everywhere, a lot of the optimizing work has already been completed by the time you hit a stride with your operational excellence! Being good at ops means skillfully gathering the deep analyses and intel your brand uses to be better. This means you’ll already have some idea of what your north star should be as you begin the optimization phase. Desiloing data and sharing it with every team in the organization is also key here.

XI Element #2: Innovation

Innovation is what optimizing your operations builds toward. It’s what allows brands to actually implement their proposed solutions, study how they go, and realize their benefits. Having operational excellence in place makes it easier for brands to forecast market trends and, ultimately, predict exactly what their customers will want. In other words, ops-fueled innovation keeps your company robust and ahead of the curve.

Staying ahead of the curve is a major part of Experience Improvement, and it can only be enabled by:

  1. Operational excellence
  2. Optimization
  3. Innovation

Anticipating what your customers want before they may even know goes a long way toward building the relationships that cause them to ignore the competition (and that let them know you care about them as people). Unstructured feedback, especially from Voice of Customer (VoC) programs, is one of the best sources of additional intel on how to stay ahead of the curve and keep pleasantly surprising your customers.

Click here to learn more about how operational excellence leads to Experience Improvement. Expert Jennifer Passini, Ph.D., goes over additional means of using ops to better your experience and how it all feeds into the grander goal of meaningful transformation for your bottom line and your customer relationships.

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