Britain’s top bosses – our Captains of Industry - were very clear about two things as they entered the New Year.
First, and for the first time for many years, they were gloomy about prospects for their own business.
And second, they stressed the importance of focusing the efforts of their organisation on their existing customers – on retention rather than acquisition.
With this in mind - and the economic climate - many expect 2009 to feature a greater focus on getting to grips with the dynamics of customer relationships. This includes getting to grips with ‘Loyalty’ and what it means for the industries we are working in and customers we serve.
In many ways, we could characterise 'Loyalty' as a fairly mature concept. Many, many organisations have loyalty schemes in place. Scoring Points is well established on executive reading lists. Loyalty and customer satisfaction measures are reported to most boardrooms. Market research companies have developed a range of tools and techniques to help their clients move beyond simply measuring their customer satisfaction scores. The emphasis is on moving towards a more rounded understanding of loyalty, the customer experience, and the potential benefits to the bottom line.
This document presents the findings of research conducted by Ipsos MORI and The Logic Group in January 2009. By taking a Britain-wide snapshot we asked customers what they were doing in the first month of the New Year, and asked them about their take on Loyalty – what they feel loyal towards, and what they think of the schemes they are members of. In doing so we have sought to complement the detailed work that is being conducted in organisations up and down the country.
The intention here is to present a “stock take” of some of the issues, and to serve as a starting point for discussion and further investigation. We hope you find the results useful and that they give food for thought as you think about the issues facing your organisation.
We have developed our report under a number of themes:
1. An overview on the nation’s mood at the start of 2009, reminding us both of the collapse in confidence about the economy, and just how quickly the mood has changed
2. A reminder of some of the “vital statistics” of the British customer – an ageing population, with extensive (but far from universal) access to broadband internet, which places increased emphasis on honesty and good customer service from the organisations they “do business with”
3. A pen-portrait of our behaviour as consumers during December and January – where we shop and how we do it
4. Our instincts – which organisations we feel loyal towards at particular stages of our lives
5. The current state of Loyalty schemes – including a general verdict for some key sectors and some pointers as to what customers say is important to them in a scheme
6. Some final thoughts, including questions for the future