Some 59% of consumers say their decision of when a brand becomes a favorite of theirs occurs right after their first purchase or when their service begins, per recent survey results from ClickFox. That represents the third consecutive year that respondents to the loyalty survey have noted that first impressions are critical to their loyalty (see 2013, 2012 results). The importance attached to the first impression is likely due to the factors that consumers believe are most influential in their loyalty to brands.Â This year, a leading 35% of respondents to the survey cited brand quality and image as the most influential factor in their brand loyalty, with customer service next-most influential (27%). Such factors are more easily established at the beginning of a consumer’s relationship with a brand, as opposed to the factors considered least influential, such as convenience/ease of use, maintenance of consumer privacy, and corporate responsibility.
It’s surprising to see that consumers don’t consider a brand’s handling of their privacy to be an important factor, particularly because recent survey results from Thunderhead.com have found that 45% of American adults would change providers or consider doing so simply on the basis of receiving communications they consider an invasion of their privacy.
But the ClickFox survey notes that while maintaining consumer privacy ranks low on the list of influencers, loyalties predictably take a sharp turn for the worse if an actual data breach is involved.
It should be noted that the ClickFox surveys rely on a small sample (~300 consumers) to arrive at their conclusions – but the consistency with which respondents ascribe importance to their first impressions with brands lends further weight to the results.
Also consistent with prior years? Apple’s reign at the top of the list of brands in terms of customer loyalty, for the third time in as many years. Amazon, Dell and Coca-Cola were tied for the second place this year, though ClickFox notes that they were a fair way back from Apple.
The study indicates that loyalty rewards influence purchase decisions for a majority of respondents, while about one-third are swayed by targeted coupons based on previous purchase/service history. Meanwhile, respondents indicated an unwillingness to be contacted in person about a brand and its special offers and upgrades. Instead, almost two-thirds want to be contacted via email or text. And despite indications that consumers still want to pick up the phone to call companies about service issues, the ClickFox survey respondents prefer to engage with brands via email or text (35%) or through a website (33%) rather than over the phone (14%) when looking for help with a product or service.
About the Data: The ClickFox 2014 Brand Loyalty Survey audited 309 consumers in April 2014 on brand loyalty. Respondents were 47 percent male and 53 percent female. The research evaluated a broad range of generational attitudes with 16 percent ages 18 to 29, 31 percent ages 30-44, 35 percent ages 45 to 60, and 18 percent ages 60 and up. Consumers polled included 25 percent earning under$50,000, 33 percent earning between $50,000 to $99,999, 12 percent earning $100,000 to $149,999, and 30 percent earning $150,000 or more annually per household.