As much as one aspires for loyalty in the context of customer connections, the whole expectation of what amounts to loyalty seems to have undergone a paradigm shift of sorts. For instance, earlier loyalty from a customer was mapped to a repeat purchase pattern; today, businesses expect customers to advocate for them as a sincere ‘show’ of loyalty. Customers, on the other hand, expect brands to acknowledge their presence and reward their patronage suitably across touchpoints. More so, millennials come with their own perspective of how loyalty is perhaps passé, particularly for brands with little differentiation. Given the dwindling elasticity of this expectation equation, how does one work towards crafting loyalty programs?
Businesses will benefit from distinctly defining what loyalty means in their context right at the value proposition stage itself. What are the markers of loyalty one is expecting from its customer group? What is the value delivery by the brand itself to demand loyalty? Remember, loyalty is a reciprocal phenomenon. Once these fundamental aspects are looked at, specific metrics to manage and communicate the expectation can be arrived at. This may help in coming up with truly customer-centric experiences that usher in patronage that go beyond redeeming thousands of loyalty points all in exchange for an electric iron box, which is most often rusting in the attic.
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