MUMBAI: Once loyal to a brand, affluent Indian consumers become dedicated customers and score significantly above the global average when it comes to attitudes towards loyalty programmes, a new survey has revealed.

However, brands have to earn that loyalty because Indian consumers are also some of the most demanding in the world, according to Collinson Group, a UK-based consumer insights firm.

Indeed, four in five (83%) Indian consumers expect high quality and consistent customer service irrespective of how they interact with a brand, compared to the global average of 69%, the Economic Times reported.

Similarly, 81% expect brands to be easy to do business with – again, higher than the global average of 69% revealed in Collinson Group's survey of 6,125 consumers across ten countries, including China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

These consumers belong to the top 10-15% income bracket in each country and the report showed there is now a global shift away from customer loyalty programmes, although India is bucking the trend.

Whereas, globally, 66% of these affluent middle-class consumers agree that loyalty programmes make them purchase more, and another 65% would recommend a brand that offered a loyalty programme, the figures rise in India to 81% and 82% respectively.

Furthermore, middle class consumers around the world are less likely than they were a year ago to make a repeat purchase, recommend a brand to friends or refrain from switching their custom to a competitor.

But consumers in India, China and Brazil continue to place faith in brand loyalty programmes, which the report suggests is because they have yet to experience the frustration of uninspiring programmes seen in more mature Western markets.

"This is a critical wake-up call to brands using points-based programmes offering only generic rewards," said Anurag Saxena, India country manager at ICLP, a subsidiary of Collinson Group.

"Brands must lift their game and rethink how they recognise, engage and reward customers. Despite lower membership numbers, the results show that personalised and relevant loyalty initiatives do positively influence consumer behaviour."

Data sourced from Economic Times, Collinson Group; additional content by Warc staff