Customer Loyalty Depends on More than a Great Experience

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Recently, I read an interesting blog post by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp., entitled “What Really Drives Customer Loyalty? It’s Not Just About the Experience!” I was excited to read it because, even though I’m a fanatic endorser of providing a great customer experience, you have to have the products and services that make the experience worthwhile. After all, even the most elegant dinner party fails if the food stinks!

Bob Thompson agrees:

“Customer experience hype is losing touch with reality. Now it seems that the customer experience is the only thing that matters. Products are all commodities, so trying to innovate is a waste of time because a competitor will just copy you. You can’t compete on price, either, unless you’re Wal-Mart.

Improve the customer experience, CEM proponents argue, and your customers will be loyal, a competitive edge is assured, and the profits will roll in!

Really? This doesn’t jibe with my personal experience as a consumer, where both product and experience are important.”

Bob goes on to talk about the balance of customer experience with other factors in a variety of industries. And it is very enlightening. But, to me, what it comes down to, and what he is saying, is that your company needs to satisfy your customers’ scenarios—what they want to achieve, their ultimate goals that are the reasons they came to you in the first place.

So, in a scenario of “I want my yard to look great,” you need lawn care products. And the things you care about are the quality of, say, the lawn mower, how easy it is to use, the price as well as the cost of fuel to run it, and, yes, the experience of choosing what to buy, making the purchase, getting it home, using it, and fixing it if it breaks. But if the mower doesn’t make the lawn look fantastic, none of the product features or customer experience will keep you loyal.

In the concluding section of his blog post, Bob asks—and answers, “Is Customer Experience important? Of course! But it’s not the only thing that matters. The point of good loyalty research is to understand what really drives customer loyalty in your target market. Then you can build a strategy to decide where to invest, which will depend on your capabilities and the actions of competitors in your market.”

You are so right, Bob! And that good loyalty research to understand what drives your customers’ loyalty is to identify and embrace their scenarios.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ronni Marshak
Patricia Seybold Group
Ronni Marshak co-developed Patricia Seybold Group's Customer Scenario® Mapping (CSM) methodology with Patricia Seybold and PSGroup's customers. She runs the CSM methodology practice, including training, certification, and licensing. She identifies, codifies, and updates the recurring patterns in customers' ideal scenarios, customers' moments of truth, and customer metrics that she discovers across hundreds of customer co-design sessions.

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