Driving loyalty through fantastic customer experiences

Huw Watkins

What do Travelodge, First Direct, Addison Lee and the John Lewis Partnership have in common? Loyal customers? Strong brands? Empowered staff? Whichever answer you favour, all are succeeding in the face of severe competition in sectors where costs have been cut to the bone. All manage to deliver fantastic Customer Experiences that differentiate them, drive revenue and profit, and engender loyalty, fulfilling the old adage that successful marketing is 'selling products that don't come back to customers who do'.

While luxury brands like Lexus and Mandarin Oriental are rightly renowned for achieving high levels of customer loyalty by placing the customer at the heart of everything they do, the delivery of great Customer Experiences is not – or should not be – the preserve of premium brands. Achieving this does not have to increase costs: in fact it can actually reduce them. The Six Sigma rule of thumb states that approximately 30% of business costs result from correcting errors – failing to identify and provide what it was that customers really wanted when they first requested it.