The deeper I get into the research concerning customer loyalty and engagement, the more it is pounded into me that it centers on Customer Experience (CX for short). The kicker about CX is that, while there are certain common factors and processes that carry across most customers and audiences, it really is an individual experience with you and your business. What does this mean?
First let’s look at the percentage of Loyal customers / audience you already have. Recent studies propose that you may have between 8%-15% customers that can be considered Loyal (your mileage may vary, especially given the differences in businesses: e.g. a coffee shop may have a greater opportunity for “regular” loyalty than a real estate office…). Let’s posit that your customers (a) DO have the opportunity, given your product / service, to purchase from you again within 12 months (and can certainly REFER you at any time!), and (b) this product /service is of value to them and at a fair price. The end-to-end CX for them has been better-than-just-positive overall, hence their loyalty. Their post-purchase experience has also been “positive+” (better than just OK…).
As it turns out, that bit is very important!
Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection
I’ve written a lot about loyalty, strategy, connection and relationship-building. My recent post about loyalty
went into some of the reasons that customer and audience loyalty is critical to your business. Another recent article about lining up your strategy with your actual problems
perhaps deals with a bit more about problem-solving and identifying where your strategy, such as it is, might not be a fair representation or plan that works within the realm of the daily reality you face. Another article concerned connections
, both real and perceived.
These are all related. Strategy is generally defined as some kind of innovation or reinvention process. If it doesn’t reflect the constant change the market and your business is experiencing, it isn’t strategy. It may be a corporate wish-list, a reason to have a kind of high-faluting retreat every year, or some kind of box-checking activity….although there are generally a lot of nervous, but well-meaning efforts aimed at it. However, if it doesn’t actually help your company break from old habits that are keeping you from at the very least repeating the same things every year, it’s not doing for you what it might.
Is loyalty a key component of your strategy? You realize that there is more to it than crafting good offers and making sure your customer service is stellar (both good things in the right priority….). It need not be itemized, but, since strategy with, hopefully, drive goals and action within your company (including what your employees are given as part of their roles and how they are incentivized…). Strategy that drives real change in a company is difficult, businesses rarely achieve extra-ordinary results unless they do something very strategic.
Loyalty, always a high-sounding word, is ever more in the news and on our minds.
Whether it’s loyalty to a sports team, a political cause or ideology, a leader, a brand, a long-standing relationship, a coffee shop, or the family doctor, we seem to be more concerned with it and discuss it more than ever before.
I’ve been doing (and continue to dig into…) research on loyalty. Specifically, I am interested in:
- What the drivers are for customer loyalty to businesses
- How these drivers relate to relationship and dialogue stages
- Factors / components that are online, off-line, and a blend of the two
- Other components or influences that I have yet to uncover
While this will not be the “Unified Theory of Loyalty” (with apologies to physicists everywhere….), I wish to come to a clearer understanding of what establishes, builds and maintains this stance in customers and people in general. Humans are complex, absolutely unique individuals who, nonetheless, exhibit certain related behaviors and tendencies. If this were not so, the social sciences would have to just fold up their collective tents and take up hospitality management.
As I continue to research this topic and make discoveries, I will be writing about them here first. The eventual end-product is likely to be a paper, some podcasts, a video or two….likely a combination of all of the above.
So stay tuned!
Now, having gotten the preface out of the way, let me get to the first bit: