Customer loyalty is most often formed as a result of first impressions, and companies should forget about trying to build loyalty with customers who are considering switching to a competitor, finds ClickFox [download page] in April 2012 survey results. When asked the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty, 48% of the consumers surveyed said it’s when they make their first purchase or begin service. 4 in 10 indicated it is when a company exceeds their expectations in resolving an issue, while 10% said their loyalty is formed before they even buy or decide to do business with the company. Just 1% believe the best time to gain their loyalty is when they consider switching to a competitor.
Customer Service Drives Loyalty
Data from the “2012 Brand Loyalty Survey” indicates that providing exceptional 24/7 customer service is the most likely way companies can build loyalty with customers, with one-third of respondents citing this as the best way of forming this bond. This finding is mirrored by results from a Temkin Group report released in March, which found a a high degree of correlation between customers’ experiences and their likelihood to recommend a company and consider purchasing more products and services from that company in the future.
Rewards Programs Not Fulfilling Potential
Rewards programs are also important in driving customer loyalty, although they may not be reaching their full potential. 20% of the ClickFox respondents said that the best way a company can build loyalty with them is by rewarding them for purchases, feedback, and referrals. At the same time, only one-third said that the brands and companies they are loyal to are doing enough to reward them as loyal customers. This is despite a majority saying that they would consider increasing the amount of business they do with the company for loyalty rewards, and close to half saying they have previously purchased more from a company for its loyalty rewards.
- Quality (88%) is the most common factor cited by respondents for making them loyal to a brand, ahead of customer service (70%), price (50%), and convenience (45%). Of the 87% who said they would tolerate more from certain companies or brands (for example, by paying more for name brands), the leading factor for them doing so is quality (77%), ahead of customer service (62%).
- The leading ways in which customers display their loyalty is by spreading the word and telling others (78%) and buying more (68%). More than half also said they avoid considering other competing products and companies.
About the Data: The Brand Loyalty Survey was conducted between March 7 and March 19, 2012, and was completed by 427 consumers in the US.