"Customer satisfaction is not a differentiator, it's a lagging indicator," said Leigh Benatar of Brand Keys at last week's Loyalty Expo trade show. Customers expect to be delighted these days. So instead of focusing on satisfying customers, companies need to look at new ways to build true loyalty and advocacy. During the show Loyalty 360 CEO Mark Johnson highlighted seven trends he sees in customer loyalty. Most of these trends take the idea of loyalty beyond just a tactical points program or campaign, and look to drive loyalty across the organization using the common elements of a customer-centric approach.
- Using deep analysis of data
- A prolonged shift from acquisition to engagement, customer experience, CRM, retention, and ultimately loyalty
- Operations plays a larger role in loyalty strategy. They are responsible for getting things done, after marketers design programs.
- New models make data actionable and sustainable. It's not a one-and-done approach
- Enterprise loyalty, which encompass the total touchpoints with which you interact with a customer. If you make a mistake in any touchpoint, it can threaten overall loyalty
- Customers want genuine experiences, not slick advertising or empty promises
- Loyalty must be a priority of the entire C-suite, not just the CMO
The biggest challenges, Johnson added, come from understanding who your best customers are, differentiating service based on needs and value, and building loyal customers into brand advocates. It's much easier said than done, but it can be achieved.
How prepared are you to make the most of these trends? Are your loyalty efforts aligned to this new customer reality?