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Building blocks to brand loyalty – part 1

02 August 2017Myra Knoesen

Growing and maintaining long-term client relationships goes beyond good customer service. It is often said that if you truly care about your clients, they will care about you. It is important that client relationships are nurtured and clients receive the best care at every point of sale, including during and after the sales process.

Clients tend to do business with people who care about them and go the extra mile. That type of treatment makes them feel important, and they come to rely on businesses they know they can trust to have their needs and interests at heart.

On the other hand, businesses need to understand how customers feel about their institutions, why customers select and defect from institutions, reasons for customer churn and customers’ preferred communication channels.

Data uncovered

In July and August 2015, Verint Systems Inc, a global leader in Actionable Intelligence solutions for customer engagement optimisation, conducted interviews amongst 18 000 consumers in Germany, France, Netherlands, Poland, UK, South Africa, U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The research highlighted the importance of quick, easy and personalised service in securing customer loyalty. It uncovered deep divisions over attitudes to how personal data is used to deliver this service.

Focusing on the new rules of customer service, the research emphasises the need to make life easier for customers in order to build loyalty.

Let us look at the data uncovered in South Africa based on South African consumer responses.

Brand loyalty and service

The research finds that while just about all respondents (94%) in South Africa agreed that good service makes them feel more positive about brands, two thirds (59%) also said they are suspicious about how their data is used. Furthermore, 54% of South African consumers felt that customer service was more of a transactional relationship than personal and 46% think that customer service is an experience that should reflect them as a person. They were less concerned about companies knowing their mood and responding accordingly (15%), and more concerned about getting their questions answered (85%). A significant number (59%) said mistakes make them think about switching.

South African consumers prefer companies that can deal with their requests quickly (55%) with the person they spoke to being able to make decisions without their manager (42%). The respondents describe themselves as most loyal when they love a company’s products (29%) or because the company understands their needs as an individual (27%).

This study also explored the impact of poor service on switching behaviour, as well as the benefits brands can reap if they get it right. Though cheaper pricing is the single biggest motivation for switching (24%), rude staff (18%) and too much effort to get what they need (13%) are second and third on the list. The research also found that good experiences can have a powerful impact on customers’ attitudes to brands. In fact, 79% of respondents said they would tell friends and family about their experiences, while half (49%) would write positive reviews. Also, 46% will renew or upgrade products and services even if it wasn’t the cheapest option.

In part two we will look at factors set to building solid customer relationships and brand loyalty.

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