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Could the brand loyalty that we all worked so hard to gain over the years really be in danger of extinction? A new study by in Contact and Harris Interactive suggests it might be so. In their research, the study found that 25 per cent of US adults no longer feel any loyalty to any type of brand, and to add fuel to the fire, educated opinion suggests that this number is likely to grow.
But before you begin panicking and designing new customer loyalty programs, the Harris study does also give some pointers as to what can be done to improve customer loyalty. Some of the key findings of their research will give us a clue as to how we can work harder to retain our customers in a tough and variable marketplace.
1. 56 per cent of customers would be likely to switch to another brand based on customer service.
How is your customer service? When did you last give your communication channels an overhaul? If your customers find it hard to get you on the phone when they need you, or find you don’t respond in a timely fashion on social media channels, your business could be losing out.
If your target market is in the 18-44 age group then revising your customer service strategies could be even more important. Of the consumers in this group, 64 per cent said they would change brand based on customer service alone, so make sure you are offering a solution tailored to their needs and making the most of the new channels available.
2. 63 per cent said brands offering only free phone numbers for communication were outdated.
The last thing any brand wants is to be seen as old-fashioned, so make sure your customer service facilities are keeping pace with the changing face of communications. The idea of a more personal, flexible approach to dealing with customers is no longer just ‘nice to have’; it is critical.
Consider if and how you use mobile apps, text messaging services, social networking and online chat. Modern communication offers myriad ways to keep in touch, so get your customer services ready for the future.
3. 86 per cent expect their brands to offer multiple options and flexible timings for interaction.
As well as the options for multi-channel communication discussed above, consider when your customer services are open for business too. The days of nine-to-five are seriously outdated, and your customers want what they want, when they want it. Make sure you are ready to give it to them.
4. 82 per cent said that multiple options for customer service contact would increase their brand satisfaction.
Brand satisfaction ultimately leads to brand loyalty, so these statistics confirm that companies willing to give their customers the personalized, flexible service they desire will be rewarded with a greater loyalty to their brand. While it is true that customers are expecting more than ever, brands should see this as an exciting opportunity to develop the services they are offering both for now and for the future.
This post was paid for by ICLP.