Customer Loyalty: Putting the Customer at the Centre of the Business

Russell Loarridge, Janrain’s Director of Customer Acquisition in Europe, shares his latest views on marketing, social user management and customer engagement.

Previously, I have discussed how we are closer than ever to putting the customer right at the heart of ‘customer loyalty’ as we look for ways to increase engagement with our consumer audiences. As I continue to explore what Customer Loyalty really means to consumers and businesses in today’s emerging social environment, I want to consider the three key truths that should underpin all customer engagement strategies.

1. Customers want a more relevant online experience

Recent independent research commissioned by Janrain revealed that simply driving customers to the corporate website is not enough. Many are increasingly disenfranchised by the lack of relevance – not least due to the fact that some 96% of individuals have received information or promotions that are mistargeted.

On the other hand, consumers are now increasingly comfortable with the concept that their personal data is an asset, and are willing to share that data in exchange for a more relevant experience, with almost 6 in 10 (57%) of UK respondents to the Janrain survey liking the fact that social login offers the choice to have a more personalised experience when visiting a website without needing to re-enter preferences. In addition to eliminating the clutter of receiving ads and promotions for products or services that have no relevance, sharing a profile enables the site to transform the way it engages. Two thirds (64%) are more likely to return to a website if the experience is personalised, while 54% will recommend the websites to others.

2. All engagement starts with knowing who the customer is and what he or she is saying – ask ‘Who is saying what?’, rather than ‘What is being said?

Social information has always underpinned the sales experience. In store sales assistants do not need to know a customer’s name, address or telephone number; obvious information such as age, affluence and shopping preferences can often be established at a single glance as an individual walks into a store.

This information influences the way the assistant interacts with the customer without requiring any overt customer input. Applying such social insight online can transform performance: with information on customer hobbies, recent films or TV programmes watched, friends, marital status, etc., an organisation can transform customer understanding and exploit that understanding to make the content and offer more relevant and engaging.

As the Global Vice President of Marketing at Johnson & Johnson recently said, “We have to move from a reach and frequency mindset to a reach and relationship mindset.”

3. Brands must make it easy for customers to engage

Despite the disenfranchisement with irrelevant offers, promotions or content, 78% of UK consumers regularly provide inaccurate information to organisations when registering for a web site – both due to the process being time-consuming, onerous and crucially, a lack of trust between the consumer and the brand. How does the consumer know why a brand is asking the detail it is or how that will be used?

A social login option can help solve these issues, by, allowing a business to keep the initial registration process simple and focused. But more than that, it allows for progressive, permission based sharing that builds trust over the course of the customer relationship.

As I mentioned, there are businesses out there currently who are excelling at building customer loyalty, in the sense that I perceive the market to be going. Next time, we will be looking at some of these case studies and their approach to putting the customer at the centre of the business.