Customer satisfaction is not always a differentiator, it’s a lagging indicator. Customers expect to be delighted and cosseted these days. So instead of focusing on satisfying customers, companies need to look at new ways to build true loyalty and advocacy. Recently I picked up on an interesting article by Mark Johnson CEO of Loyalty 360 who 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 organisation using the common elements of a customer-centric approach.

  1. Using deep analysis of data
  2. A prolonged shift from acquisition to engagement, customer experience, CRM, retention, and ultimately loyalty
  3. Operations play a larger role in loyalty strategy. They are responsible for getting things done, after marketers design programs.
  4. New models make data actionable and sustainable. It’s not a one-and-done approach
  5. Enterprise loyalty, which encompass the total touch points with which you interact with a customer. If you make a mistake in any touch point, it can threaten overall loyalty which is why Social Media programs are becoming increasingly important
  6. Customers want genuine experiences, not slick advertising or empty promises
  7. 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.

Looking at these comments it brings me back to the basics of using customer data and history to understand your customers purchase history by segmenting them by Recency, Frequency and Monitory value to the organisation as this quickly illustrates where you should be focusing your efforts in up selling, rewarding and even incentivised attrition if you have a segment that is actually costing you money.

How prepared are you to make the most of these trends? Are your loyalty efforts aligned to this new customer reality and are you taking into account the rapid advances in Social Technology?