Google Product Lead on Growing Customer Loyalty
Google Product Lead Shilpa Vir joined Products That Count recently to discuss specific examples of how companies utilize tools like multi-touchpoint experience design, commerce optimization, lifecycle marketing, and consumerization of IT to leverage loyal customers for rapid growth.
Shilpa Vir is an accomplished Product Leader and Entrepreneur, currently serving as Product Manager at Google. Shilpa has spent 15+ years leading Product, Engineering, and Operations teams at Google, eBay, Microsoft, HP, and Yahoo, has founded two startups, and worked in several more. Being a woman of color, the first female in her family to get a STEM degree, and a first-generation immigrant to the US, she is an active diversity and inclusion leader, and an ardent supporter of empowering women in STEM. Shilpa is in high demand as a mentor and coach, providing career insight through workshops, events, and conferences including 6 sessions at the Grace Hopper Conference.
Shilpa recently joined us at Products That Count to present a wonderful webinar on how organizations can grow customer loyalty. The session was highly informative, as was to be expected from a product leader and coach with in-depth experience with one of the most widely used products in the world. We encourage all readers to check out the recording of the session to gain deeper insights into how to grow a loyal customer base.
On the psychology behind product advocation
Starting off her presentation, Shilpa dives into the psychology behind brand loyalty and the reasons why customers advocate for certain products. We all have a favorite product or brand, but Shilpa digs into the why. Using personal stories as examples, she illustrates how customers become emotional about products through their experiences using them.
“Put simply, customer loyalty is what keeps the customer not only coming back to your business time in time again, but also advocating for your brand. If they advocate on your behalf to other people, meaning if they’re willing to feel emotional about you, that is when you know that they are loyal customers.”
“If there is an opportunity of when a customer buys a product and it’s not the right product, there is still an opportunity to strengthen that relationship. Put the profits aside and do the right thing by your customers.”
“You don’t want to just build a company, you want to build a community, a feeling of belonging. Also, you want to stand for something, and you want to stand for something good, so put your mission front and center. Having a value system is great, but remember to be human and take care of customers when things go wrong. Remember, this is the perfect time to reinforce good values and use customer resolution to create loyal customers.
“Oh, and don’t forget the employees. Happy employees make customers happy. Everybody likes to work for a company that has clarity of vision and promotes a feeling of inclusivity.”
On how to measure customer loyalty
“How do you measure customer loyalty? The most common metric is the NPS. Ask the single, simple question: how likely are you to recommend this product to others? If you remember, the ultimate test of a loyal customer is that they are advocating on your behalf. This metric helps you figure out how you’re doing.
“Second is through engagement. By engagement, I don’t mean just buying your product and using your product. It’s engaging with you on a brand level. Do they tag you in their social media posts, or attend the events you organize? Do they write reviews about your product on their website? All of these are examples of engagement with your brand. If you can measure them qualitatively and quantitatively, you can get an idea of how loyal customers are.
“Number three, which I alluded to before, is the repeat purchase rate. They might have bought your item, or maybe they were given an item, or maybe they were just trying it out. However, did they like it enough that when the time came, they would come and buy it again? That’s the true test.”
This seeps into number four, which is multiple product purchases. You might be building 20 products and I might specifically like one product that makes me loyal to that product, but not necessarily to your company. However, if I buy multiple products from your brand, then I’m loyal to you. Not just that one product.
“Finally, the customer loyalty index, which is somewhat similar to NPS, but it has a little bit more questions. While it does not measure actual loyalty, it predicts loyalty down the road.