What if we all could measure the loyalty of the people around us? That’s indeed impossible for our share of friends and family and probably this is for the best.
At the same time, the loyalty of a brand’s customers can be measured if we have the intent and purpose for it. My fifteen years as a relationship and loyalty entrepreneur has given immense opportunities to be closer to the scenarios where brands want to measure loyalty but are clueless. Or if they have the desire, they are directionless on how to do it. And while the few who know how to do it, keep postponing this for some or other reason – finding a right time to attempt. A large number of marketers who our team has met often cite funding a loyalty initiative as the second biggest reason to not do it.
The difficulty comes from loyalty being an intention of the brand. And one that people are not always honest about. The benefits of having it are greater than sum total of all other desire and initiatives we run for the brand.
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Without delving into why one should measure loyalty, the single biggest reason is the threat perception that one day your customers will cease to be your own after someone with a fatter muscle and better intent can overpower your brand’s aura and will surely overrun you. And at that time one would realize that their latent desire ultimately led to a lost opportunity of developing customer affinity leading to loss. Everyday millions patronize and buy a particular brand and a few thousands switch over to the competition without notifying. They all probably have a reason. And their reasons may span from customer satisfaction, product superiority, poor availability and better value or just better relationship. What would you do? And imagine this switch happening across a million brands spread over a few trillion outlets, everyday. And your problems are multi-fold, if this attrition is happening across the value chain comprising of distributors, dealers, retailers every single moment and day. We have been witnessed to scenarios where brand managers approach us when the problem areas have outreached the panic zone and then all eyes wake up and start accumulating all resources, intent, and funding to start a loyalty program. So do you have to sow the seeds of a loyalty initiative only in times of a crisis? Probably not! Lets see why?
Because loyalty does help you stay relevant, differentiate, generate recall and define better value. And when done in a business to business scenario, helps you create the disruption in your supply chain. A disruption which leads to highlighted importance in the mad, bad clutter is what brings your brand to the fore. And I’m sure you don’t mind that. Further, if loyalty is attached to the ability to accomplish and fulfill goals. If customers are presented with newer and innovative means for accomplishing their goals, then they may choose these alternatives. This is the broad principle, which makes loyalty further relevant and important.
My recommendation is to start now before it is too late. Start small but make a beginning. And while you are deliberating on this fact, factor in your imagination of the risks associated with losing one customer and then you wouldn’t delay it beyond today.