The benefits of building customer loyalty are clear to most brands, but recognizing and acting on the fundamental drivers of customer loyalty can be a complex task that if not done correctly—and can lead to damaged reputation and negative perceptions among consumers, new research from CX products and solutions firm Sitel Group affirms.
In fact, one third of consumers considered breaking up with a brand while another 65 percent severed ties with a brand as a result of a poor customer experience (CX). This is according to the firm’s latest report, Driving Customer Loyalty: Perception, Effort and Action, which analyzes how brands create loyalty and the key considerations for what consumers value.
Understanding what consumers value from a brand may be even more complex in a post-COVID-19 economy as they have been forced to adapt how they interact with brands due to the pandemic. Despite changes in communication, nearly all respondents (97 percent) believe brands are working to deliver a positive CX. But, only 43 percent of all respondents agree this effort is making a tangible difference, meaning that 57 percent of customers believe brands still need to do more to align with their expectations.
“As we move into a post-pandemic environment, heightened competition for customer loyalty will create a greater emphasis on CX,” said Martin Wilkinson-Brown, CMO of Sitel Group, in a news release. “The 2021 Driving Customer Loyalty whitepaper confirms the importance of positive customer experiences and the correlation to customer retention. Although our research found that customers trust that brands are working to deliver positive experiences, unless consumers see this translated into action, the effort to improve CX will fall flat.”
For brands curious about how to drive customer loyalty, the report finds that 42 percent of consumers say the perception that the brand offers good value for money is a top driver. This sentiment holds true across all age groups and demographics in the U.S. and UK. Furthermore, the attributes customers most closely associated with a brand’s commitment to the delivery of a positive customer experience are helpful and friendly staff (69 percent), fast response to questions (53 percent) and an easy-to-use website (51 percent). Across industries, geographies and genders, these are the must haves that brands should commit to as the foundation for a best-in-class CX geared towards driving customer loyalty.
Additional findings from the report include:
Consumers crave live chat with brands
Two in five (40 percent) respondents and nearly half (47 percent) of millennials believe brands committed to meeting their CX expectations should be providing online chat facilitated by live agents for effective issue resolution without the need to move to another channel.
Positive CX drives positive word of mouth
Twenty-seven percent of consumers will always share a review, if invited to do so, and 28 percent always leave a review if it is part of an incentive program.
Social visibility means positive CX
Twenty-two percent of all consumers and 31 percent of Gen Z respondents feel a strong social media presence is synonymous with a commitment to positive CX.
Positive customer experiences influence how consumers consume
More than half (58 percent) of consumers say it is one of the most important factors when making a purchasing decision. Millennials (63 percent), Gen X (71 percent) and U.S. consumers (65 percent) are the most likely to let customer experience dictate how and with whom they spend their money.
An organization’s commitment to social causes influences CX
More than one in four (27 percent) consumers prefer to buy from brands they know are committed to social causes, while a fifth (20 percent) have no interest in whether a brand supports social causes or not.
The Driving Customer Loyalty: Perception, Effort and Action whitepaper is based upon proprietary research conducted and analyzed by Sitel Group® in the first quarter of 2021. The data was compiled from results of a survey completed by 2,000 consumers, 1,000 in the U.K. and 1,000 in the U.S.