2016 The Year Of ME! We Are Too Busy To Be Loyal

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‘Exceed my expectations and I might sing your praises, but it does not mean I will keep coming back for more’.

This is not a new concept, or a particularly difficult one to grasp. Two critical findings emerged from a study conducted by CEB on customer loyalty that should influence every company’s customer loyalty strategy. Firstly, delighting customers does not necessarily build loyalty; reducing their effort and the work they must do to get the outcome they want, does. Secondly, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, which in turn reduces customer service costs, and decreases customer churn.

Single Stone found that high effort interaction result in negative brand impression and decreased purchase intent by 15% compared to a simple transaction. Yet we don’t see enough organisations stepping up and delivering what today’s customer truly wants. An effortless journey – for both purchase and problem solving!

It is commonly thought that when you exceed someone’s expectation they will become loyal to your brand and bring repeat business. Reality, however, is quite different. Research shows that exceeding expectations during service interactions (for example, by offering a refund, a free product or a free service) makes customers only marginally more loyal than simply meeting their needs. We have more options available to us than ever before. Competition is fierce – simplifying customer purchase experience should be any company’s priority.

Why is this important?

We are used to living in a world of immediacy, where our curiosity and thirst for knowledge is instantly satisfied. We can Google the answer to any question, Shazam a piece of music we don’t know or pay our restaurant bill with our phones when it suits us best. Being able to complete a purchase effortlessly is something we have come to expect.

Let’s bring this to life.

I must admit, I’m an Amazon addict! I can’t recall how many times I’ve thought of something (vitamins, swimming goggles, protein bars, peanut butter, noodles… name it) and purchased it within 5 minutes. It’s also true that I often receive an Amazon delivery and can’t recall what I purchased. It appears I’m not alone.

Amazon knows what I like and uses my purchasing history to ensure I am getting the most relevant suggestions. But that’s not it. From the moment I think of something, it takes me less than 5 minutes to complete the purchase leaving me with no time to reconsider. All of my details are stored for ease of use and I know I will, more often than not, receive the product the next day. It is an effortless purchase.

But it gets even better.

The new Dash buttons from Amazon are a perfect example of the importance of effortless purchase. The Amazon buttons make it so easy to purchase that you are bound to become loyal to one particular brand for a given product. Once your Dash button is set up, you won’t shop around for alternatives because all you need is the click of a button to get what you need.

“I need more washing up liquid” Click. Fairy Liquid delivered to your door. “Almost half way through my coffee supply” QUICK CLICK! Could I have found it cheaper elsewhere? Is there a brand that I might like more? Probably, but the Dash button eliminated 90% of the effort necessary to get those products.

Another great example of reduced effort resulting in increased customer loyalty and revenue for the business is the Starbucks mobile app. The mobile app now let’s loyalty members order and pay without standing in line.

As it turns out, waiting in line at a busy coffee shop is a major time sink for busy people. So why not skip the lines all together and just head straight to pickup? Starbucks mobile app allows you to do just that. You can order your flat white on your way to the store and find it waiting for you when you arrive. And yes, you have already paid for it too.

Thanks to the app, Starbucks reported a 10% increase in loyalty members, which spend 3 times as much as a non-member.

Your customers are busy. Finding ways to minimise their effort is going to be your most efficient way in ensuring they remain a customer. A simple way to get started is to proactively seek out customers that have undergone a high effort experience and ask for their feedback. Look at their journey and understand how you can make it better by making it easier.

This post previously appeared on Linkedin

Jasveer Matharu
Jasveer Matharu is an experienced Digital marketer and a MSc Consumer and Business Psychology student. Taking charge of the Digital and Social Media Marketing at Business Systems (UK) Ltd, blogging and content creation is a vital element of what she specialises in, sharing insights on how workforce optimisation technologies can be used to drive employee engagement and build better relationships with customers to drive retention and acquisition.

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