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Customer loyalty – a memorable explanation

Throughout my career in customer consulting, I’ve heard many descriptions of customer loyalty, but the one that is most memorable was explained using the analogy of a marriage.

Walker is a strategy consulting firm that is focused on helping companies achieve business results through a better understanding of the voice of the customer.

One tool that we use to help our clients with their customer retention programs is a loyalty matrix.

The loyalty matrix is comprised of two key components. 1) An understanding of how customers feel about the company (the y-axis) and 2) an understanding of how customers will behave in the future (the x-axis).

Like customers, marriages can be segmented using a similar framework.  

Truly Loyal – These are the couples who are happily married and will likely stay together for the long term. Notice how I said "likely stay together." Like customers, things can change in any relationship. But, for the most part, you can plan on the two staying together in the foreseeable future.

Trapped – Have you ever been to a wedding and thought, "these two should not be getting married?" If so, that would describe the trapped group. These couples are going to continue in the relationship, but they are not very happy together. As with customers, you can count on the marriage in the short term, but if things don’t change and another opportunity presents itself, they are likely to part ways.

High Risk – These are the 40% of marriages that end in divorce. For companies, these customers are searching for alternatives to the products and services you provide and are headed out the door.

Accessible – This group is generally very small (for both marriages and customers). These are couples who decide to part ways because of a situation beyond their control. They are in love, but for whatever reason (e.g., past marriage, kids, etc.) they are not able to stay together. If the reason for their break-up changes, you wouldn’t be surprised to see them renew their vows again.

What are some memorable ways you’ve heard customer loyalty explained?

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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