Is Loyalty More Important Now? No!

I just read an article in Advertising Age called Marketers Put Emphasis on Loyalty which talks about how companies are focusing on loyalty programs during the economic downturn. According to Adam Burke, Hilton Hotel’s senior VP-customer loyalty:

Like a lot of people in the [hospitality] industry, we’re starting to see some slowing. Our Honors members tend to be the group that buoys us through a downturn. They are the core audience and tend to stay loyal and sustain the business especially through those downturns.

That dynamic is true in other industries; loyal customers really help in a downturn. So is loyalty more important in a downturn? Absolutely not! Loyalty is ALWAYS important.

Let’s consider a simple loyalty lifecycle: (1) Engage customers, (2) build loyalty, (3) reinforce loyal activities. Downturns are the worst time for (1) and (2) because there are fewer customers. It’s the time to really hone in on (3). So if you just start thinking about loyalty during a downturn, it’s too late.

The bottom line: Loyalty is an asset that you build up when you need it the least.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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