5 Ways to Master Customer Loyalty
Half the difference in customer loyalty between high- and low-performing companies is due to the mastery of five marketing and customer-management capabilities, according to a new study from Accenture. "In our annual global-awareness tracking survey, the focus has changed from costs and supply chain management to a focus on growth," says John Freeland, global managing partner for Accenture's CRM. "But the old ways of achieving growth aren't working. Historic market leaders are constantly under assault."
Of the five prerequisites for marketing and customer-management excellence, according to the study, is developing and delivering a "branded experience." Freedland says that the essence of the brand should be apparent in every interaction a customer has with a company, enabling customers to form an emotional attachment with the brand. It includes: training and enabling front-line employees who interact with customers; developing high-impact marketing campaigns; defining the brand's promise; and segmenting customers on the basis of value.
He points to credit card and insurance companies as doing a particularly good job at this. Credit card companies mail different offers to different customer segments. Some insurers like GEICO and Progressive are doing more generic mass marketing, but they're very selective about the customers they accept.
Top-performing companies also create and shape demand, according to Freedland. This requires constant innovation, such as being first-to-market, developing value propositions that address latent demand, and implementing leading marketing and customer management techniques. A good example is Cadillac, which has revamped its marketing campaigns to make them more appealing to today's auto buyer.
People and technology are important for the top-performing companies, according to Freedland. This includes hiring, managing, training and retraining the most talented people and giving them the technology and processes to work efficiently, share best practices, and applying technology to routine processes. Numerous companies have the technology, but they forget the people side of the formula, Freedland says. For example, a call center might have an efficient IVR, but it hurts customer loyalty if customers can rarely get to a live agent.
Top-performing companies also:
translate foresight and insight into marketing productivity. Leaders use advanced analytics that transform data into useful information, which provides the basis for sound marketing and customer management decisions;
look at marketing mix, not just at total marketing dollars;
drive marketing to meet performance objectives. High-performance marketers have an organizational structure that enables work across functional areas, incorporates clear job descriptions, and aligns with business goals.
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