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3 factors critical to customer loyalty

Cheap. Fast. Good. Pick Two. These words are on a 1950’s era sign at my local barbers. Every time I see the sign it makes me smile. Partially because this sign essentially describes my barber to a T, but also because I don’t want to pick just two. I want it all. That’s the thing about consumers; consumers will choose a brand to work with based on essentially three factors:

  • Value
  • Convenience
  • Experience

Whether they know it or not, consumers put all of the known factors into their heads and do a simple calculation that results in a psychologically prompted impulse – to buy or not to buy with you.

Make your customer feel special

This brings us to why consumers come back, and even more importantly, why consumers advocate for our brands to their friends. Of course, they will do it based on the three factors above; but they will enjoy doing it if they FEEL special. People love to feel special. That’s where the secret sauce comes in:

  • Gamification: Consumers are special because they achieved something
  • Personalisation: Consumers are special because we recognise them
  • Amazing Customer Experience: Consumers who receive extra special experience will return that favour in kind. They feel gratitude. An emotional bond. This is the best ingredient by far.

Create consumer confidence

In the absence of feeling special, consumers will continue to use a product or service because they have confidence from past experience. It’s easy. It’s a known entity. Done and done.

And companies that can deliver on these ingredients well, over and over, generate stickiness, customer advocacy, brand advocates, and most importantly – brand loyalty.

Find your competitive differentiator

These three values explain any competitive differentiation in the market place. It explains why Costco does so well even though their ecommerce and in-store experience is disconnected – they over deliver on value and service. It explains why business travellers are loyal to companies like Epsilon’s client Marriott, because they are recognised and get increasingly richer value the more they frequent Marriott properties.

Create your tailored Loyalty programme

To drive competitive differentiation and consumer preference, brands have to move the needle on the above factors. In my job, I see clients who ask questions like “should I add gamification to my programme?” or “should my programme be points or punch card?”. These are good questions but ones like the latter are just the tip of the iceberg. Absolutely we need to come up with a loyalty programme structure. But more importantly, we need to come up with a value proposition for consumers that is going to drive top line sales growth and share movement. This is a nuanced but incredibly important distinction. Winning is not going to be guaranteed solely by new marketing technology. Yes, the technology is a critical enabler. But it’s not a panacea. Marketers must solve the business and marketing outcomes that will drive brand preference among consumers.

At Epsilon, we bring together multiple disciplines to help clients solve for the right objectives and outcomes, across:

  • Loyalty programme design
  • Marketing and business strategy & insights
  • Process and workflow optimisation
  • Technology strategy and, separately, technology integration
  • Analytics, data, and measurement strategy

This way, similar to solving for a Rubik’s Cube, we help our clients bring together the right strategies and resources to create an entire solution – not just an off the shelf tool or loyalty programme.

At the end of the day, your customers, who are people that make emotional and rational decisions, will be thinking about value, convenience, and service when choosing to trial or be loyal to your brand. And your brand can only win by being better than everyone else.

My barber gets this by the way. He knows that I keep going back because I like him. Regardless of his humorous sign, the reality is that I don’t just ‘pick two’, but instead I get a consistently great experience that is fast, good, and cheap (enough for me) all in one, along with some other things. Not every business is as simple as a barber shop. For those of you looking to figure out how to deliver it all to your customers, we at Epsilon are here to help you.

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