Can’t Buy Me Love: Emotion Trumps Monetary Reward When it Comes to Customer Loyalty

Can’t Buy Me Love: Emotion Trumps Monetary Reward When it Comes to Customer Loyalty image Money Heartdollar heartWhile many online consumers initially select a brand for its points or rewards system, a recent eMarketer article reports that this type of customer love and loyalty is fleeting, only remaining as long as the monetary incentives stay in place or increase.

It turns out that lasting customer love and loyalty is more a matter of the heart – of the brand and the customer getting to know one another better – which is why content, brand authenticity and personalization have made such an impact in the last few years, requiring behemoth brands to become, well, more “human.”

Ease of Use Also Lands Long-Term Loyalty

As a recent report shows, multichannel and web-only retailers can also earn loyal customers by mitigating the pain points consumers encounter while shopping online. Intuitive technology and consistent experiences across channels are keys to keeping customers.

As an example, Lowe’s Home Improvement, one of the top scorers in Forrester’s annual Customer Experience Index (CXi ), launched a myLowes website with personalized content to help customers navigate the world of home improvement. The site lets customers ask questions of store associates online and remembers customer purchases – and the content and look and feel mirror Lowe’s social and mobile offerings.

Says Forrester analyst Kate Leggett in a new report, Understand Communication Channel Needs to Craft Your Customer Service Strategy, “Customer service leaders must ensure that consistent experiences are delivered across channels. This means that each interaction must: 1) provide the same data and knowledge; 2) add value to the overall interaction journey that a customer has with a company by providing him with new information that addresses his questions in a timely, accurate, and personalized manner; and 3) reinforce the experience, data, and knowledge delivered in prior interactions.”

Maximizing the Multi-Channel Connection

Social media, mobile and big data are the customer experience trifecta retailers plan to focus on more to improve customer loyalty, says a Edgell Knowledge Network survey:

  • 68% of respondents plan to develop more personalized offers through the use of existing customer data
  • 64% are looking to focus on improved social media engagement
  • and 40% will look to achieve more agile cross-channel integration.

These three focuses rank higher in the survey than introducing or improving monetary rewards programs, or offering discounts or special offers based on exclusive membership plans.

So what are the rewards for retailers who get customer loyalty right? A recent ClickFox survey shows:

  • 78% of loyal customers will spread the word by telling others about the brand and their experience
  • 69% say they will make more purchases
  • and 54% say they don’t consider other competing products or companies.

Forrester calculates that a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion in revenue.

Loyalty rewards will always have their place in this world, but consumers are increasingly telling big brands that they want more than points and discounts can buy – a better, more personalized customer experience, a brand worth telling others that they love.

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