Don’t make the mistake of equating customer loyalty with customer experience.
- continuing to be a customer;
- buying more (or more expensive) products and services; and
- recommending the company to others.
Companies should connect with the rational and emotional dimensions of human decisions making, which would encourage a sense of loyalty as a means of increasing the likelihood that customers continue to display these loyal behaviours.
Customers express their disloyalty by doing the converse of these things As a result, a customers’ lifetime value to a company is significantly greater if they behave loyally than if they behave disloyally.
Every customer experience, every customer touch and interaction is an opportunity to deliver on the company’s value proposition and reinforce the relationship. Customer experiences are important because they effect and are part of the customer relationship. But the experience is not the same as the relationship; it is just a link in the chain.
The customer experience can range from the fleetingly transactional, such as a stop at an ATM, to something far more planned, lengthy, complex and multi-sensorial, such as the periodic trip to the supermarket. Nevertheless, companies must attend to every aspect of the experience.
Retailers need to recognise that, with few exceptions, they need to manage the experience as a means to the ends of solidifying the customer relationship.