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I Just Need to Know You Care

March 11, 2009  

What's the key to keeping customers loyal during the downturn? A new report from Forrester Research says it all comes down to showing that you care. "Customer experience" is the top determinant of customer loyalty right now, the research says. Bruce Temkin, VP and principal analyst, customer experience, at Forrester, and author of the report, says that these days, "Customers will do more business with companies that serve them best." Period.

The Forrester report measures loyalty by a customer's willingness to repurchase from a company, reluctance to switch companies and likelihood to recommend a company, according to a recent article at DM News. Customer experience is measured by whether the company meets a customer's needs, whether the company is easy to work with and the "enjoyability" of a consumer's interactions with the company.

So who won? There were three companies whose customer experiences were most linked to loyalty in the report. Office Depot led in customer willingness to repurchase. US Airways was the winner in reluctance to switch, and Charter Communications scored in likelihood to recommend.

"[I]n down times, customers become even more alert to the way they're being treated and get even more sensitive to the experiences they have, so that was the big 'a-ha!' from the research this year," Temkin concludes.

The Po!nt: Make time to take time; give your customers that special TLC. "[I]n this economic environment, every purchase [consumers] make, every service interaction they have, is a large portion of what they care about," Temkin notes.

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