Research conducted by Allegiance reveals that companies typically have three types/groups of customers. These are:
Engaged – These customers, known as the “Love Group”, feel an emotional bond with a company and are most likely to share the positive experiences that they have with a company with their friends, refer business, purchase more products more frequently, avoid competitors and forgive mistakes. These customers also let companies know when their products or service did not meet expectations, which provides the company with the information it needs to make better business decisions and improve its customer experience.
Disengaged – These customers, which we refer to as the “Hate Group”, often feel a negative emotional bond with a company, and therefore, tend to answer survey questions with disagreeable or ambivalent attitudes. Sometimes these disengaged customers are compelled to continue purchasing product due to some externality, but continue to damage the reputation of the company with bad mojo.
Swing – These customers answer survey questions in ways that indicate passive satisfaction with a company without active engagement, which is why they’re referred to as the “Swing Group”. For the most part, this group has the potential to be swayed either way – to the Love or the Hate Group – depending on their future experiences with the company.
Obviously, engaged customers are the best customers because of the strong emotional connections that they have to a company, and their genuine willingness to assist a company in improving its customer experience.
However, as Dr. Gary Rhoads, Allegiance Engagement Expert and Co-Founder points out: don’t underestimate the value of your company’s Swing Group, as there is a tremendous opportunity to move more of these customers and employees to your Engaged Group. By doing so, not only will it help your company retain more of its customers, but it will also enable you to increase employee engagement and loyalty. “If companies can move 1% of their disengaged or swing employees into the engaged group, they are likely to see improvements in their company culture and customer satisfaction, as well as a reduction in employee turnover.”
And, one of the best ways to do that is by beginning to foster true loyalty and engagement with your customers and employees via these steps:
- Establish communication channels (electronic, phone, written) to build engagement one customer and employee at a time.
- Implement solutions to help you collect feedback and measure engagement.
- Encourage customers to provide feedback and let their voice be heard.
- Segment customers by engaged, swing and disengaged. Then, optimize your business’s outcomes specific to your circumstances. (i.e. Determine whether your engagement outcome is best measured by satisfaction, likelihood to purchase again, likelihood to recommend, or another voice of the customer (VOC) metric.)
- Use statistical technique to reveal the most important areas of focus as well as predictive analytics to optimize your action plans. (Note: Recognize that the important areas of focus may change over time in response to changes in the economic, competitive and demographic environment of your business.)
- Target customer and employee segments with programs that increase engagement.
- Measure…act upon new information/data…and re-measure.
- Recognize that changes in loyalty/engagement scores generally precede changes in business outcomes – typically by 45-60 days.
By understanding these principles and putting them into practice, your organization can foster a culture of greater loyalty and engagement that will reward you with greater profits. And if you can’t tackle all of these steps right away, start with just one, then move on to another one after that, etc. The most important thing is that you start as soon as possible. As you practice these and track results, your loyalty levels will rapidly increase.
For more information on how to move your company’s Swing Group customers to its Engaged Group, contact us or read one or more of the white papers listed below on this topic:
Download “Engagement: The New Competitive Advantage” by Peppers & Rogers Group and Allegiance [no longer available]
Download “The Positive Economics of Customer Engagement” by Allegiance
Download “Top 9 Ways to Increase Your Customer Loyalty” by Allegiance