What exactly does customer loyalty mean in 2019?

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We all know that every business wants loyal customers, but in 2019, does ‘customer loyalty’, in the traditional sense, still exists?

There is so much talk about millennial expectations and how the buyer of today expects instant gratification – writers talk about how all businesses should all be like amazon or be inspired by Uber, with their fleet of drivers with GPS tracking that customers can summon with the touch of a button. Technology and connectivity have put knowledge, and therefore power, in the hand of the customer. We all read this stuff, but have we then gone on to really assess the implications these trends bring to business today?

 

It’s fair to ask ‘is today’s customer really capable of loyalty?’

Before we answer this question, let’s take a step back and define what we actually mean by ‘loyalty’. In this context I’ll be using Matthew Dixon’s definition from his book, The Effortless Experience, conquering the new battleground for customer loyalty. He defines ‘loyalty’ as three specific behaviours:

  1. Repurchase – customers continue to buy from your company.
  2. Share of wallet – customers buy more from you over time.
  3. Advocacy – customers say good things about your company to family, friends, co-workers, even to strangers.

Now referring back to the question at hand…. The answer is of course yes. However, businesses must acknowledge that the traditional understanding of what motivates loyalty is archaic.

Customers are not loyal just because you are exceedingly nice to them

The customers world is so much bigger now – they are a goldfish that escaped their bowl and landed in the sea – an infinite sea that provides them with an endless amount of possibility at their fingertips.

Today’s Customers are not loyal because you are nice to them, they are loyal because you make their life easy. Because you make purchasing from you easy.

Businesses should now be challenging the traditional thinking that creating an extraordinary service will build stronger customer relationships and loyal customers. This strategy is very hard to achieve on any kind of consistent basis.

In fact, business leaders should stop asking ‘how can customer service help drive customer loyalty’ and start asking ‘how can operational efficiency help drive customer loyalty?’