The recent Gallup report on the State of the American Consumer#, much discussed due to the findings on social and influence (my thoughts on understanding social data), also highlights long term trends and changing habits that impact businesses and commerce.
At the core of the protracted economic hardship many faced going into and after 2008 is the validation of a renewed attitude and evergreen truth:
Consumers give more of their money to companies that have a strong brand promise and follow through on it.
Delivering a consistent customer experience is the product of a consistently vigilant and internally aligned organization and goes a long way to building a point of differentiation for brands. In other words, businesses that walk the talk, hire and communicate well inside and keep their promises to customers do better.
According to Gallup:
- FULLY ENGAGED CUSTOMERS are emotionally attached and rationally loyal. They’ll go out of their way to locate a favored product or service, and they won’t accept substitutes. True brand ambassadors, they are a company’s most valuable and profitable customers.
- INDIFFERENT CUSTOMERS are emotionally and rationally neutral. They have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward a company’s product or service.
- ACTIVELY DISENGAGED CUSTOMERS are emotionally detached from a company and its products or services. They will readily switch brands. If switching is difficult or impossible, they may become virulently antagonistic toward the company. Either way, they are always eager to tell others exactly how they feel.
In the special section on banking, the report highlights what I call a necessary shift from point of sale to point of need mindset. For retail, no surprises here, service is the differentiating factor; it is Nordstrom's big secret.
Hotel guests that feel valued create preference. This is what gives the Ritz Carlton treatment its name and a reason to return and not the so-called loyalty programs, a misnomer for what is a bribery scheme in the absence of a commitment to service.
Are your customers slipping through leaky experiences? How does it feel to do business with your organization?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.