April represents a confluence of events. Not only is it Customer Loyalty Month. It's also the tail end of the Passover and Easter holiday weeks which, in the U.S. anyway, includes an annual rite of passage: a network broadcast of Cecile B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." Forgive me for mixing religion with customer experience, but since I still have Charlton Heston on the brain, it inspired the following headline for this post.There are a number of steps that companies can take to encourage customer loyalty, as 1to1 Media Editor in Chief Mila D'Antonio notes in a related blog on the topic. A critical starting point for any company is to gain a thorough understanding of its customers. This includes collecting and analyzing information about customer behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and their transactional histories with a company through all of the touchpoints that customers use to interact with a company.
As Swiftpage president and CEO John Oechsle recently shared with me, the challenge for many companies is that this information is often spread across the enterprise, making it difficult for marketers and other decision-makers to gain a comprehensive view of customers.
"If you don't have one place where you can capture all the information about customers and prospects, it's going to be difficult to put together any kind of a loyalty program," says Oechsle.
While there are multiple factors that can persuade a customer to remain loyal or jump ship, the consistency and quality of the service experience a customer has with a company can have a dramatic impact on loyalty, as evidenced by various studies that have been conducted. Providing customers with relevant and timely service is critical. But another key component is fostering a customer-centric culture that's focused on delighting the customer in each interaction.
Gaining a deep understanding of customers and providing them with frictionless experiences is a key component for achieving loyalty.