The way to earn it is through trust.
Loyalty is not about how your customers feel. It’s about how they behave.
So you can keep asking a customer how loyal they feel towards your brand until you’re blue in the face, but you won’t learn anything.
What you should be asking is how much they trust your brand. Why?
Because trust is about emotion plus action. It's not a vague notion like “satisfaction with the past” or “likelihood to recommend in the future”. It's far more visceral.
When a call centre agent takes ownership of a problem and actually follows up with you, it’s trust they’re creating.
When you feel that an organisation that really gets you and you keep going back no matter what, it’s trust that’s moving your feet.
When you spot that “Swiss Made” sign on a mountain cable car and climb aboard, it’s with a following-wind of trust. Earning trust isn't easy, and it can take a long time. That’s what makes it so valuable.
You can only gain trust by earning it through the entire experience your customers have with your brand over time—and across every point of interaction. But first you must understand what “flavour” of trust is going to provide most value to you and your customers.
Knowing what type of trust your customers are looking for from you is one thing. Knowing how to deliver it credibly is even harder.