Customer Experience and Loyalty Are One and the Same
By Jeanne Roué-Taylor
Customer experience is a hot marketing term, but it has far less meaning if it isn’t connected to a customer loyalty program. The reason is very simple—what customers experience are key to whether or not they feel trust and loyalty to a brand. A customer’s loyalty is the difference between purchasing for price and purchasing for experience. Loyalty programs, likewise, are the key to whether customers have a gradually improving experience because of their repeat business. For these reasons, customer experience and loyalty are connected at the hip, inseparable.
This is why customer experience and loyalty can’t be planned or managed separately. Too often, however, a brand believes its loyalty program is in place—maybe it has been running for years—and they put the focus on customer experience management instead. This is flawed thinking. Both customer experience and loyalty need to complement and support each other rather than being distinct programs. A single strategy for both is essential because customers need a reason to get close enough for great experiences.
In our highly digital world, customer loyalty programs give brands an ability to hear and see the customer at an individual level, without unwanted attention and intrusiveness. The customer experience can be modeled and closely monitored without feeling as though a brand is stalking the buyer (the fastest way to create a barrier between brand and consumer). This is a virtuous cycle, as customers who feel rewarded for being open to a brand are far more likely to offer greater interaction and greater access to their likes and dislikes than a customer who is simply a transaction.
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