Your brand loyalty is only as strong as the service it provides. This service could come in many forms whether consulting or an online membership site. Whatever the form your service takes, your brand is making a promise to your customers that you will deliver on. And how you deliver on that promise will determine your brand loyalty.
An Opportunity for Membership Sites
Membership sites are all the rage from a business point of view. They provide stable, recurring revenue, a candid audience who has chosen to develop a relationship with your brand, plus many other benefits.
However, there is a huge disconnect between building the membership site and operating the membership site. It all comes down to customer service, which determines brand loyalty. Many membership sites are built as “self-service” resources in which a user logs in, finds what they need, interacts with the community, and leaves. The goal for the brand is to design a brand experience that creates deeper engagement and makes users want to stick around and contribute to the community, adding value and extending the footprint of the brand.
The Problem with “Self-Service” Membership Sites
I love the concept of membership sites. There is an opportunity to build, curate, and develop a community and membership site around any and every idea imaginable. In theory, the “self-service” membership site sounds great. You can identify a target audience, figure out what they want, build the site, and let it run itself.
But in practice, this is rarely the case. Those who operate and maintain membership sites know there is a lot more behind the scenes. Membership sites are about building long-term relationships and brand loyalty. The opportunity is rich for those willing to put in the work and deliver on their brand promise.
When the Brand Promise Breaks
I recently joined a membership site that offered good value in terms of resources, knowledge, and community. Or so I thought. Ever felt like you are sold one thing and when you enter the members-only area it is a complete letdown?
I have no problem using membership sites as resources and never communicating with the founders of the site or community (if there is one). What I do have a problem with is when a membership site says it offers support via email, only to find out it simply does not exist. The sales page full of features and benefits becomes a promise to the customer. When your product does not align with what is being sold, your brand loses credibility, loyalty, and trust.
How Does it Make Your Customer Feel?
Think about the user for a moment. Step into their shoes. They have just invested in your membership site for a lifetime membership, monthly subscription, or annual subscription. In order to keep them engaged, you must consistently deliver on the promises you made to your customers. In other words, the membership site should deliver on each feature and benefit that was on the sales page. Simple right?!
If it doesn’t, it is hurting the performance of your brand promise
and makes brand loyalty much less likely.
As new members join and try to use a feature they thought was available, how do you think they will feel? Most likely, they’ll ask for a refund. Worse, they may leave a negative review, or even tell their friends about the poor experience. This drives down your brand value and hurts your brand loyalty overall.
If the feature set includes support via email, then by all means, deliver on that promise. Otherwise, do not offer it.
It is worse, from a brand loyalty perspective, to offer a service that doesn’t exist versus not offering it at all. Your brand’s credibility and trust are incredibly fragile, meaning they can gain or lose value rapidly. In order to sustain and grow your brand loyalty, you must deliver on your brand promise consistently, which includes the features you claim to provide.
Get Clear About Your Product and Promise to Increase Brand Loyalty
It pays to get absolutely clear on what your brand offers. A membership site is an excellent way to deliver content, build a community, and build a trusted authority brand. Take the time to clearly define what your membership site will provide and what the outcome will be (the promise). The more definition you give to your product, the easier it is to understand and deliver on. The goal is to increase your efficiency on the delivery of your product or service in order to enhance the customer experience. Consistency over time builds trust.