As Christmas approaches many people begin to reminisce on what has happened over the past year as well as past holiday seasons. I am no different and recently have gotten into multiple conversations about what Christmas Day was like growing up and how that is different for the routines for this year. As kids, one of the most important things about Christmas was the gifts – we just couldn’t wait to see what new toy was under the tree. But as you grow up, the focus shifts away from the toys – even though there is still an element of excitement for what new gadget might be under the tree – and onto other things, such as time with family, a few days off of work, or just a little relaxation.
After dinner with a friend where we talked about our Christmas routines as kids and then for next Friday, I went home and was doing some analysis on customer loyalty. So that got me thinking about how in any relationship that lasts over time, there are going to be shifts in what is most important, even business relationships. So what does that mean for companies that collect feedback from customers?
A lot of companies solicit feedback in order to understand how to make their customers more loyal. After they have looked at the results they come up with a way to implement the drivers of loyalty in the customer experience, but they don’t factor in the fact that there are shifts in what is important to a customer. In fact, a lot of companies treat customers the same regardless of how long they have been working with the company.
Not surprisingly, research supports the idea that the drivers of customer loyalty differ when you segment the data by customer tenure. In the beginning of a relationship, customers tend to focus on satisfaction and price; however, as time goes on, trust as well as the relationship aspects (such as account teams, etc) become more important and have a greater impact on customer loyalty. This implies that depending on how new a customer is to your organization there may be different things that the account managers/contacts should be focusing on.
While this does not mean that you should never look at customer data in total, it does suggest that organizations should have a way to identify customer tenure and should use some time analyzing if there are differences between various customer tenures. The results may shed light on ways to improve relationships for different tenure classifications or help explain why changes impact customers differently.