Customer loyalty 2.014April

Customer loyalty 2.0

The days when we could afford to question the meaning of customer loyalty and to think of it as a luxury are also behind us. Instead, we are now working hard to find out which tools we could use to help us build loyalty proactively. Apart from tailoring discounts and reward point schemes to respond to different clients’ needs, what other options are open to us?

 

We need to understand that customer loyalty cannot be strengthened simply by offering concrete benefits. Customer services must be up to the highest standards and be consistent: they are the foundation on which we build everything else. We can only build customer loyalty if we show that we are able to solve problems repeatedly and systematically.

 

Big data provide an interface between social media, mobile data, marketing and informatics. Thus decisions to offer discounts must be based directly on big data analysis, gift cards must be integrated with social media and reward points should be distributed through mobile interaction. Although the big data approach might initially seem complicated, a more careful look reveals that all its constituent elements complete and support each other. It is therefore no longer possible, in customer loyalty systems as in other fields, to store customer information in different datasets that are restricted to one way actions.

 

A survey conducted by ClickFox into the key drivers of brand loyalty revealed that quality (88%) and customer service (72%) are the most important factors, while price was most important to only 50% of respondents. Customers show loyalty in different ways: 78% of them do so verbally (being given the right discounts makes them feel good), 68% buy new products (encouraged by reward points), and 54% respond by refusing to buy competitors’ products in the same category. Many different sectors should be working to develop customer loyalty using this approach, particularly retailing and banking. Combining big data with mobile devices to create special relationships with customers may provide retailers and banks with a distinct advantage to help them flourish in highly competitive markets.

 

Reward cards, club cards and similar systems are vital to maintaining customer loyalty. These can be integrated into credit cards given by financial institutions or into the services offered to customers by mobile phone operators.

 

Customer loyalty is a wheel in constant motion and must be approached with a long-term view rather than as a project to be completed on a one-off basis. For customer loyalty to finds its full expression, it is vital to make full and well-targeted use of discounts, gift cards and loyalty points.