Focusing on customer satisfaction and loyalty is important at the best of times. Right now, when times are tough in many industry sectors, developing a loyal customer base is even more vital to business survival.
We at B2B International always extol the virtues of customer loyalty. And, on the face of it at least, it would seem that customer loyalty is on the rise – that is if membership figures for loyalty rewards programs are a good indication of a wider trend.
According to new figures released by Colloquy, membership in U.S. loyalty rewards programs has now reached 1.8 billion, which amounts to a 24% increase on their last loyalty marketing industry census published two years ago.
The average U.S. household has signed up for 14.1 loyalty programs – from financial services, airlines and hotels to department stores, restaurants and much more – although it should be noted that the average household only actively participates in 6.2 schemes.
However, don’t fall into the trap of just reading the headline figures. The emphasis for any company should not be to concentrate solely on increasing membership numbers. It must be to focus on creating and developing a program that offers value, which can revive lapsed members and can turn its engaged members into profitable, loyal customers.
While loyalty schemes are obviously not appropriate for all organizations – especially those in industrial and b-to-b sectors – the underlying principles remain the same. It’s a well known fact that it’s more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to find new ones. Listen to your customers; find out if they are satisfied and if you could be meeting their needs better. Whilst customer satisfaction may not necessarily lead to customer loyalty, it’s a valuable first step in the process.
The white paper Loyalty – How To Win Devotion From Your Customers makes an interesting read for anyone wishing to find out more about customer loyalty.