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How to guarantee brand loyalty from consumers

How to guarantee brand loyalty from consumers

Industry ExpertRetailStrategyTrade & Logistics

Businesses around the world are dependent on their clientele and establishing a good customer base. Once, that has been developed, however, another question arises: how do businesses guarantee brand loyalty from their consumers? Intelligent CXO spoke to four more experts from across industry verticals to gather their insights and thoughts into how to ‘lock in’ brand loyalty and customer engagement.

A new study reveals the significant payoff (and penalties) associated with customer experience quality in today’s marketplace. Widely loved brands with strong consumer feedback ratings enjoyed an average shareholder return that was nearly 110 points higher than the market index, while widely loathed ones lagged by an almost identical margin.

The data comes from new research conducted by customer experience advisory firm Watermark Consulting, which analysed shareholder returns for companies that inspire customer raves versus rage. The findings reveal something that Main Street and Wall Street can agree on: A great customer experience helps build business value, while a poor one erodes it.

The study vividly illustrates the vital role customer experience plays in business success.

“Many companies excel in frustrating their customers, whether it’s from a complicated purchase process, unintelligible assembly instructions, difficult-to-use products, hidden fees, long lines or just plain poor service,” said John Picoult, Founder of Watermark Consulting. “Our study reveals that businesses eventually pay a price for subjecting consumers to such indignities.”

To gain more insight into consumers and their loyalties, Intelligent CXO spoke to four experts from Auth0, Rufus Leonard, Insider and Genesys for their thoughts.

Marc Power, Regional Vice President, UKI and MENA at Auth0:

For any business, creating safe and simple access to online services is essential for customer and brand loyalty, however, very few executives are used to paying attention to customer identity management (their login box). As many of us emerge from the pandemic more digital than we’ve ever been, businesses are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with identity as a CX tool. Identity is about providing a convenient yet secure way for users to register and log in, which is crucial for building loyalty, driving conversions and gaining insight.

Businesses still lean too heavily on passwords though, which consumers can find both insecure and clunky, impacting the overall experience. Recent research with YouGov found that UK consumers rank having to create a password that meets certain requirements and needing to create a new ID and password for every new app or online service as their main frustrations with sign-up processes.

On the other hand, 44% of the British consumers we surveyed were likely to sign up for an app or online service if a company offers biometric authentication – yet only 14% of businesses offer biometrics as an option. Customers want greater choice in login technologies and actively seek them out, but there is still a concerning disconnect between this expectation and what businesses deliver in reality.

Beyond inconvenience, poor login experiences have the potential to seriously impact the business bottom line, given the increasingly clear correlation with cart abandonment. We found that a full 85% of UK consumers will abandon their cart or quit signing up to an app altogether if the login process becomes too onerous. That’s potentially eight in 10 lost customers due to a poor login experience, which impacts brand perception and ultimately loyalty.

Right now, businesses have an opportunity to optimise the overall user experience by getting the basics of identity right. Identity is the key to protecting online transactions, gaining insight into customer journeys and their buying patterns – all of which feed loyalty. It can be easy to overlook the login box, but first impressions count and brands must consider this widening gap between consumer and business expectations. Ultimately, the use of digital services has become unavoidable, but if the login process is too cumbersome, customers will take their businesses elsewhere.

Ross Timms, Head of Strategy, Rufus Leonard:

 The pandemic accelerated digital customer behaviours and amplified the importance of empathetic experiences. Current consumer behaviours explicitly show the need for a clear, personal and responsive relationship with the brands they use. Providing a brilliant opportunity for your brand to deliver genuine value to customers and boost its reputation simultaneously. To do this successfully, you need to listen to and learn from your customers’ behaviours, in real-time. 

Taking a progressive and modern approach to using your business’ data will enable you to create genuine customer centred products and services that are responsive to changing behaviours and emerging needs. Delivering value to your customers in this way should be at the heart of your sustainable growth plan as it also encourages long-term loyalty.

To do this, it’s important to tackle the disparity between your processes, people and platforms. After all, for most brands Digital Transformation is driven by their customers moving faster than they are able to. If your organisation isn’t aligned, it will create a data challenge that makes it increasingly difficult to embrace data-driven empathy. It creates a data challenge for the data you have, the data you use and what you learn from it.

Chris Baldwin, VP Marketing, Insider:

To foster customer and brand loyalty within your business, personalisation will, hands-down, give you the most bang for your marketing buck. Not only will it open up new ways to boost revenue and conversions, to acquire and retain customers, but it will also help you get more out of your existing marketing spend. Abandoned carts, app uninstalls, soaring customer acquisition costs, high bounce rates, declining traffic – these can all be the result of poor or badly targeted user experiences.

There are many ways to approach these issues, but the key to actually fixing them is to understand how your users behave and tailor their experience accordingly.

Consumers increasingly expect their experience to be hyper-personalised to their interests, representing a need for brands and retailers to adopt a granular level of personalisation. They expect to be remembered when they visit a brand’s website, but they are also channel-agnostic and so wish to jump from different devices or channels, with ease and without relevance suffering.

Using AI, it is possible to deliver a customer experience that is personalised at a 1:1 level – at scale, without reliance on IT or taking up too much marketing resource. 

Helen Briggs, Senior Vice President and General Manager for EMEA at Genesys:

The world and the way we interact with each other has changed forever by the events of the past year and a half. Our recent survey shows people feel that the companies they work for have actively listened, understood and acted on their feedback, resulting in a significant proportion feeling more seen and heard by bosses than ever before. In fact, nearly half of workers (45%) believe the organisation they work for is more empathetic towards staff today than it was prior to the pandemic – with 35% of respondents stating that they now receive more emotional support at work.

It is vital for brands to follow suit, using technologies to digitally scale and orchestrate empathetic experiences as we enter a landscape of even greater digital adaptation and possibility. Our survey found that over two-thirds of respondents (69%) state it is important for brands to act with empathy when dealing with them as a customer today. Additionally, it also discovered that more than one in ten (12%) believe brand empathy has decreased. Over half (57%) of respondents want brands to get better at assigning the best available resource (bot or human) to engage with them in real-time depending on the issue they experience. Companies must take on board these findings, understanding that the key to their survival now will involve actively listening to what consumers have to say and taking the appropriate action.

Taking these findings on board will help businesses foster even greater customer and brand loyalty. When orchestrated cohesively across every channel, businesses can offer the same level of empathy to each consumer as they do to their own employees. This approach has the power to differentiate organisations from their competitors, drive deeper emotional connections with customers and establish companies as loyalty leaders in our increasingly digital economy.

When you put the consumer at the centre of their experience with a brand, you have a great understanding of their needs, intents and preferences. You can make them feel remembered, heard and understood. This is the foundation of an empathetic customer experience that gives the customer exactly what they want and need – exactly at their time of need. It’s also the only way to build the loyalty and trust that’s critical to business survival now. This will continue to be a signature characteristic of successful businesses beyond the pandemic too.

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