Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Long Wow

Making a loyal customer ...

"The Long Wow is a means to achieving long-term customer loyalty through systematically impressing your customers again and again. Going a step beyond just measuring loyalty, the Long Wow is an experience-centric approach to fostering and creating it.
First, A Little Context

Businesses have begun to realize that the lofty goal of customer satisfaction might in fact be a red herring. A satisfied customer isn't necessarily a loyal customer, today's satisfied customer might find even more satisfaction in your competitor's offerings tomorrow.

And so we've started to see the rapid diffusion of tools like the Net Promoter Score which try to quantify loyalty. Such measures are popular because they track behaviors that create economic value: a customer recommending your brand to a friend, or a customer returning to buy from you again. But measuring loyalty doesn’t create loyalty.
Loyalty Can't Be Manufactured

It’s no surprise that the MBA-knee jerk reaction to a loyalty problem is to create a loyalty program , but you can’t manufacture loyal customers by issuing them bronze, gold, and platinum ID cards. Such shallow solutions don’t resonate deeply with customers. Instead, these artificial attempts at loyalty create extra overhead in the customer relationship, they deliver pseudo-benefits the customer never needed, and they may even create barriers, resentment, or revolt.

At Adaptive Path, we’ve observed this superficial nature of loyalty programs first hand. When talking to customers of a well-known financial institution who were enrolled in a loyalty program. We found multi-millionaire, “platinum-level” customers that didn’t know (and didn’t care!) about their special status and benefits, even though the company considered that program an essential advantage and an attractor. The customers simply wanted the good products and services they were paying for in the first place.

In the children’s book, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the antagonist-turned-protagonist Grinch realized, “that Christmas isn’t something you buy from a store, but that Christmas, perhaps, means little bit more.” Like Christmas, customer loyalty can’t be bought or bottled. It’s not something you can capture in an ID card. Loyalty is a sense that grows within people based on the series of notable interactions they have with products, services, and companies.

True loyalty grows within people based on a series of notable interactions they have, over time, with a company’s products and services. No card-carrying programs are necessary: Apple doesn’t have a traditional loyalty program; neither does Nike or Harley-Davidson. These companies impress, please, and stand out in the minds of their customers through repeated, notably great experiences.
"Wow” Engenders Loyalty

Notably great experiences are punctuated by a moment of “wow,” when the product or service delights, anticipates the needs of, or pleasantly surprises a customer. OXO’s Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup triggers such a moment of wow. A set of angled markings on the OXO cup lets you quickly measure liquids for recipes without having to stop cooking and bend over. Suddenly a little part of your life is easier, because OXO thought carefully about the way you cook. This delightful surprise resonates because it feels tailored to your needs."    (Continued via UIE, Adaptive Path, Brandon Schauer)    [Usability Resources]

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