2021 Customer Loyalty Strategy – Relationships over Transactions
According to the Salesforce Connected Customer Report, 90% of consumers expect companies to clearly demonstrate their values and 66% expect brands to demonstrate empathy. In other words, when thinking about customer loyalty strategy, you need to understand that customers want you to CARE.
Why do you think these numbers are so high right now? I venture to say if enough brands already displayed these characteristics, values and empathy would not have made the list of consumer expectations. In other words, these stats prove brands still do not offer empathy driven, human-centered experiences.
And why is that so important? Because empathy and trust are the basis for relationships/ And creating relationships is the core of your 2021 customer loyalty strategy.
2021 Post-COVID Consumer
Even with the vaccine rollout, many are anxious about experiences. There is still so much uncertainty surrounding us. This makes commitments hard to execute.
In addition, cash is tight across industries. However, if you have a real relationship with your consumer, all these uncontrollable factors diminish. What remains is the respect and loyalty you have for each other.
Customer Loyalty is Impossible When a Customer becomes a Credit Card Transaction
Let me show you what I mean. When it comes to working out, I am an old school person with an old school gym membership. I know that my gym is struggling due to the events of the last year. So, I was on the fence over whether to resume my membership when things open up. My gym experience was not good pre-COVID, but as a consumer, I had empathy for the business. I felt bad for them. However, the gym sent me a total of one email during the pandemic: the email alerting me to the temporary closure.
They sent a second email (nearly ten months later) on 12/29/2020. It stated only that they would resume monthly charges in January. Now, I do not know what you usually do at the height of the holiday season, but reading bi-yearly emails from my gym is not high on my list.
Had the gym applied empathy, at the very least there should have been a follow-up email providing a “you will start paying again” heads-up. But that didn’t happen. Why? Because, for them, I (like my fellow gym members) am nothing more than a credit card transaction.
And they are going to town transacting on that credit card. Since my card on file with them expired, I am now getting charged the monthly fee for a gym I don’t use, as well as a monthly “penalty fee” of $15. As you can imagine, the nameless, faceless transactions are over. I am now no longer a member of the gym. My empathy for them is exhausted. And their empathy for me never existed.
Creating and Maintaining Relationships is the Core of Customer Loyalty Strategy
Relationships of any kind are hard to create and maintain. They require effort, consistent investment, and bearable compromises. In brand speak, that means launching that extra email campaign, or assigning employees to make those quarterly phone calls to check in and offer support.
Building loyalty relationships can also mean taking your client out to dinner more often than you originally budgeted for, to reinforce your connection. After all, relationship building is about the small things, not the big things. And, like everything related to customer experience, it requires intentionality and strategy.
What about Brands with No Customer Loyalty Strategy?
Surprisingly, many brands do not have a customer loyalty strategy. Bigger enterprises are particularly lacking in this area. In many cases, they equate loyalty points programs with customer loyalty strategy.
The problem is, points and cards are not for everyone. So, you run the risk of missing an entire segment of customers who may be equally loyal. Loyalty programs create almost a caste system of your customer base. This can be isolating to many, another significant limitation of these kinds of programs.
The legacy airlines business model, for instance, is based on the premise that loyalty programs equate customer loyalty strategy. With COVID, they lost that customer loyalty overnight because their customers were never actually loyal to the brand. They were only loyal to the points system. Once there was no ability to accumulate points, the entire model deflated.
Make Loyalty Part of Customer Experience Strategy
Customer Loyalty Strategy should be part of your Customer Experience Strategy. Creating relationships over transactions necessitates an investment in technology. This investment is functional: allow customers to remove credit cards from autopay! It is also experiential: build seamless user experience. For instance, think about what the digital experience actually looks like. Then, invest in designing the digital experience to serve customer needs and build customer loyalty.
But creating loyal relationships does not stop with investing in technology, just like customer loyalty strategy does not stop with points systems. It requires an investment in hospitality training. How you speak to your customers matters more than you know. Your tone of voice (in person or in written communication) makes your customers feel a certain way. Relationships grow from feelings of protectiveness, security, and empathy, all of which you have the opportunity to create. And remember, this needs to happen consistently in order for the brand customer loyalty to follow.
So what does all this mean to you? It means that even if you are terrified because of COVID, you must be cool, calm, and collected in front of your client or customer. It also means that you are not penny wise, pound foolish. In other words, GIVE and you shall RECEIVE.
Do not punish people who are busy with a $15 penalty fee. And, definitely, do not call the fee penalty! Elevate your game. And never forget, you are working hard to build a relationship with everyone who uses your service or buys your product. This is what makes your customer loyalty strategy successful.
Travel Experience Stories: How Not to Leave Customers Stranded
Meet Diane. Diane is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is the one annual trip she takes. And she…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. They highlight advances in artificial intelligence in retail and other technologies. See all audit stories. Two years…
Customer Experience Survey: Why Customers Are Not Responding
When you solicit customer feedback sometimes matters more than how you ask the questions. In the case of a survey about new biometrics boarding initiatives my team and I created for JetBlue, we had a list of feedback that was most important for us.
Airport Experience – Are You Letting Down Your Precious 2021 Travelers?
A month and a half ago, as part of our ongoing conversation about airport experience, we introduced the concept of revenge travel. We pleaded with the public to trust us…
Freelance Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. That’s just one of the key…
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. One such way, as Liliana explains, is to create magical customer experience…
How to Prepare for AI: Dispatches from CR Summit, Charleston
On the eve of the #CRSummit in Charleston, customer experience leaders from various industries held the first AI Committee meeting. AI is a challenging topic to cover because it has…
Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”
Once a year I look for an event to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year, I attended an event hosted…
What is the best question for your CX Survey?
As customer experience professionals, we need to factor in this disconnect when we design surveys. And when we react to survey results. Customers have an image of who they want to be. However, their behaviors do not always reflect that image.
Customer Facing Experience: Communication and Hospitality
Today, we are talking about communication as part of the customer facing experience. This is one of the most misused and misinterpreted notions both in our professional lives and our…
Paperless Customer Journey – JetBlue Deviceless Boarding
JetBlue Biometrics – Innovation and Disruption This year, JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who disrupt industries by applying customer experience technology. They not only imagine the future. They…
Hospitality Experience and Why We lack Seamless Travel Experiences
Hospitality is taken for granted across government agencies, airlines and hotels. In my line of work, I often hear “I want to have the JetBlue customer experience.” Although many claim…
Why Customer Retention is the True Measure of SaaS Success
Guest Post by Callie Reynolds for The Petrova Experience In SaaS (Software as a Service), like in most businesses, sales is king. Sales gets the glory, and while I’d like…
Customer Experience Plan is More Important than Ever
Last week we published eight Customer Experience Trends to look out for in 2021. Today we are diving deeper into the first one: Customer Experience is more important than ever…
What is Telemedicine? Keeping Medicine at the Heart
Guest Post by Dr. Melynda Barnes for The Petrova Experience. In this post Dr. Barnes answers the question “what is telemedicine,” and reminds us to keep medicine at the heart…
How ChatGPT Can Help with the Healthcare Quadruple Aim
How ChatGPT can help healthcare and other industries is consuming conversations far beyond patient and customer experience. As much as we are leading the charge about AI regulation, best practices,…
2021 Customer Loyalty Strategy – Relationships over Transactions
According to the Salesforce Connected Customer Report, 90% of consumers expect companies to clearly demonstrate their values and 66% expect brands to demonstrate empathy. In other words, when thinking about…
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
I want to tell you about my recent passenger experience. Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport…
Customer Experience Audit: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster
In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series, we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands…
Would You Pitch In To Save Toys “R” Us For Your Children To Experience? #ToysRUsGoFundMe
Last week we laid out the big moves that the leadership of Toys ‘R’ Us failed to take to evolve with customer needs and thus joins other brands as examples of…
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
How to Build a Customer-Centric Culture for Highly Effective Teams
When we look at how to build a customer-centric culture, we must look inside the organization first. True customer centricity happens when an organization masters group dynamics to harnesses the…
Create Your Tribe: How Great CX Makes a Lifestyle Brand
Newcomers to the market realize that their business is only as strong as the growth of their customer base. With that in mind, senior leaders work hard to shorten the distance between them and the customer.
Why CX Design Needs to be in Your Transportation Project RFP
Ever heard this line while working on an RFP? “I know your value, but I don’t know where to put you.” We hear it all the time. Why? Because, historically,…
Organizational Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
3 Ways to Create a Better Employee Experience Strategy
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP for The Petrova Experience The relationship between employee experience strategy and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult…
Customer Experience Audit: Starbucks Bets On The Physical Experience
Starbucks is opting in for the physical experience in order to become a lifestyle brand while other brands are investing in omni-channel experience.
Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team
The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI on your Customer Experience initiatives quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.
Why Bt2B Businesses Must Think Like B2C in the Next Decade
B2B vs B2B thinking makes a real difference when it comes to customer experience. According to Gartner at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as…
WeWork Does Customer Experience Right with a Wow Moment
Used at the right time and place along the customer’s journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship.
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
This is Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience. She shares customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year. And dives into organizational culture…
How To Define Your Purpose And Have Unique Culture
If you Google the word “purpose” you get the definition “the reason for which something exists.” This is a challenge if you think about it in the context of organizational…
3 Challenges of Hybrid Working and How to Overcome Them
According to a Gallup study, 53% of Americans expect to work in a hybrid arrangement in 2022 and beyond. This number is significant enough for corporate America to get hybrid…
What Can Casino Consulting Firms Learn from Airlines?
Today we’re talking about casino experience. Casinos and airlines are similar in their operational complexity and sense of wonder. They also are similar in the way they can implement technology…
Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX
If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.
Customer Experience Trends – 8 Actionable Tactics in 2021
As we begin Q4 of an eventful 2020, it’s time to look out for the 2021 customer experience trends and tactics for creating exceptional experiences in increasingly complex environments. We…
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
Are You Ready to Go Exclusive with Jane, Your Digital Concierge?
In 2015 JetBlue introduced bag fees. Seven years after the competition. The media exploded. Many publications were negative. They blamed the airline for “selling out.” One headline read “A New…