Customer Service is the Next Brand Differential


There is no such thing as a 'customer for life.' Companies have to work hard to win, and keep customers. What used to be thought of as the customer’s loyalty to a brand has reversed to become the brand’s loyalty to the customer experience.

According to Raconteur’s 2013 IBM study, The Customer-Activated Enterprise, "customers are the 'new' business advisers." The study also claims that 90% of senior leaders expected extensive collaboration with customers within the next five years.

Everything You Do

Customer experience is the foundation of customer loyalty, comprising both emotions and feelings. When your customers enjoy a consistently positive experience with you, you earn their loyalty … for a season. But loyalty is a frail construct in and of itself; it requires continuous re-examination of your customers’ emotional and physical responses to your brand in action. Furthermore, it necessitates a dynamic customer-experience system to be built into your branding strategy.

According to a 2013 report by consulting company Interbrand, Apple and Google have become the world’s two most powerful brands. Mike Elgan reports in Forbes' BrandVoice that one of the key factors for the success of both companies' brands is that they "give millions or billions of people around the world small, positive experiences very often."

Does your brand strategy include creating opportunities for your customers to engage with you as often as possible? Have you designed ways to give your customers "small, positive experiences" at every touch point?

Some companies are even beginning to have appointed "Chief Customer Champions" who specifically focus on customers, a stark contrast to traditional models that leave customer care to middle management and entry-level employees.

The Customer Empowerment Imperative

The Internet has given consumers a way to know everything about a company and its products, and to air grievances or sing praises loudly, quickly, and publicly. Alex Cheatle, Chief Executive of lifestyle concierge and loyalty solutions provider Ten Group, says:

“While it might be terrifying to think your customers know everything about your processes, there’s an argument for embracing the move towards customer empowerment. This is absolutely crucial to loyalty … There is simply no such thing as a customer for life anymore; customer loyalty needs to be earned. Companies must show that they understand their customers, and are responding to them as individuals,” he says. “A luxury clothing brand can’t just give away a pair of cufflinks with a shirt; they need to give the customer tickets to the opera – because they know they like opera – in a city they visit regularly.”

The Future of Customer Loyalty

"The future of customer loyalty lies in engaging the emotional involvement of consumers using data, and successfully responding to mobile and social trends," says Duncan Stirling, cofounder of KEM Investments Ltd in London. Customers want a streamlined experience across channels, tailored to them. The old ways aren’t working anymore. Loyalty programs are no longer enticing. More and more, consumers are turning to mobile apps first. Raconteur reports that "there is a tendency for a more focused user experience to accomplish tasks more efficiently."

If you want to give your customers what they want and build customer loyalty, you’re going to have to leverage the data, and find the right usage scenario to add value to your consumers' lives via mobile apps, and other means.

That is why we design comprehensive brand strategies that keep customer experience and loyalty at their core — from these, all initiatives fall naturally into perfect place.

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