The ClickFox Brand Loyalty Survey was conducted between March 7 and March 19, 2012 to discover which brands consumers are most loyal to, why, and how they show their loyalty.
The findings underscore the critical role of reliable products, superior customer service and rewards programs on consumer perceptions, and buying habits.
Apple, Coca-cola, Amazon.com, Google Top The Loyalty List
ClickFox asked consumers what brands they couldn’t live without and some familiar companies topped the list: respondents overwhelmingly singled out Apple (20% of all responses collected), followed by Coca-Cola products, and a tie between Google and Amazon.com. Other brands mentioned by consumers included Starbucks, Target, Microsoft, and a slew of retailers from apparel, electronics and health/beauty organizations.
Survey responses also revealed which industries have the strongest brands: consumers reported being most loyal to food and beverage companies (57%) and technology and gadgets providers (51%), and least loyal to health/fitness (44%) and wireless providers (43%).
According to survey respondents, the two biggest drivers of loyalty are quality (88%) and customer service (72%), above price (50%) and convenience (45%). When consumers were asked about the best ways companies can gain their loyalty, the top choice for respondents was providing exceptional 24/7 service (34%), followed by reward programs, providing personalized products/ services and sending exclusive, relevant offers. Bottom line consumers not only want companies to delight them from a customer service standpoint, but they also want companies to better understand their needs and preferences on an individual basis.
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of consumers surveyed said that they would tolerate more from certain companies or brands because of their loyalty, with 77% of these respondents pointing to quality and 63% pointing to customer service as factors driving their commitment.
Across the entire customer lifecycle from acquisition, on-boarding, service/support and retention, companies have opportunities to build loyalty with customers. According to 48% of consumers surveyed, the most critical time to gain their loyalty is when they make their first purchase or begin service, while 40% indicated that companies gain their loyalty when exceeding expectations in resolving an issue. These findings point to the weight consumers place on those critical interactions early and during their lifecycle, and often involving customer care and support areas. Perhaps most interesting was the fact that only 0.8% of respondents believe that the most critical time to gain their loyalty is when they consider switching to a competitor. Organizations should closely examine customer experiences across each stage of the lifecycle to identify the optimum times and channels to delight customers and deepen relationships.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of consumers surveyed do not believe companies are doing enough to reward their loyalty. Although many industries thrive on loyalty programs like airlines, hotels and restaurants, some companies may be missing an opportunity to engage their loyal customers through exclusive programs and treatment strategies. Even more compelling is the finding that over 50% of respondents would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for loyalty rewards and 46% indicated that they had increased purchases due to rewards programs.
When asked how they show their loyalty to brands, consumers said they spread the word and tell others (78%), buy more from the company (69%) and wont consider other competing products (54%). Loyal consumers are vocal, more profitable and more tolerant of issues if they are connected to a brand companies should continue new ways to discover and reward customers for referrals, especially with regards to the influence of social media (think offering discounts for likes on Facebook or rewarding customers for positive or informative tweets about the brand).
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