The unbreakable bond: How outstanding service = brand loyalty

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One irrefutable reality stands out in the fast-paced world of business, where competition is tough and consumer expectations continue to evolve: outstanding service is the cornerstone that holds the customer/brand connection together.

It’s true: what you know to be the case from your own interactions with brands is borne out by research. And unsurprisingly, excellent service is the key to making customers come back time and time again.

However, it goes far deeper than just return business. The strong correlation between excellent service and brand loyalty is also a driver for long-term business success, as the 9 trends explored below explain.

The data speaks: 96% of customers value outstanding service

Recent research and polls have indisputably proven the importance of great service to clients. A massive 96% of consumers say that exceptional service is critical in their choice to stay loyal to a business[i].

This overwhelming majority demonstrates that service excellence transcends other considerations and has a big influence on brand views. In addition, 89% of consumers moved to rivals after having a bad customer experience[ii].

Companies may reduce customer churn and create long-term client connections by concentrating on providing excellent customer experiences.

Companies that prioritize and deliver a great omnichannel experience increase revenue by an astounding 9.5% year on year[iii].

This statistic emphasizes the necessity of providing a consistent and integrated experience across several channels, allowing businesses to capitalize on growth prospects.

Deskpro COO, Paul Davies, emphasizes the significance of prioritizing customer experience as a central growth strategy. “At Deskpro, we firmly believe that exceptional customer experience is the cornerstone of business growth. By placing customers at the heart of every interaction, companies can foster loyalty, drive repeat business, and unlock their full growth potential.”

With those statistics in mind, here are the 9 trends underpinned by the statistics that Deskpro have pulled together that will be reshaping the customer service landscape for the foreseeable future.

1. Service and loyalty are a virtuous cycle

The bond between service and loyalty is a virtuous circle in which one aspect enhances the other. Customers who receive exceptional service feel cherished, appreciated, and cared for, resulting in a greater emotional connection with the company.

As a result of this emotional tie, customers are more likely to advocate for the brand among family, friends, and peers.

Apply this in your projects

Map out the customer journey today and what an exceptional customer experience would look like. Then plug the gaps!

2. The impact of personalization and empathy

Personalization and empathy are key to the concept of exceptional service. Customers want experiences that are customized to their own interests and demands. When businesses truly grasp their consumers’ needs, pain areas, and goals, they build a sense of belonging and emotional resonance.

User stories can help project teams put customer needs at the heart of what they build.

It’s worth it, because the data is clear: 88% of shoppers are more inclined to continue shopping on a retailer’s website that provides a personalized experience, and that rises to 96% of Gen Z and 97% of Millennials.

Some statistics that support the trend of personalization include:

  • 64% of survey respondents previously stated that they expected to receive an individualized experience, with 83% of people believing that personalization was important
  • 61% of consumers declared that they were loyal to brands that tailored experiences to suit their preferences and needs. 

Apply this in your projects

Code software to add in customers’ names and default to their location. Don’t ask for information you already have in the system. Even simple tweaks like adding, “Welcome back, Elizabeth!” when someone logs in can bring personalization into the customer journey.

3. The rise of self-service to empower customers

Empowering clients with self-service choices has evolved as a significant strategy for providing exceptional service in the digital era. Customers may access information, find answers to their questions, and resolve difficulties on their own with the help of a powerful self-service platform.

This degree of empowerment not only improves customer happiness but also increases brand loyalty since customers value the convenience and autonomy it provides.

Apply this in your projects

Build in ways for customers to access information without having to call in or go to a store. Think tool tips, a well-populated online help section, FAQ, searchable terms and conditions, AI chatbots. All those ideas can also apply to initiatives that support internal project customers – staff need decent self-serve help too!

Check out more project management trends shaping how we deliver projects successfully this year for other ideas of how to empower teams.

4. Seamless and consistent experiences make a good customer journey

Every encounter with a brand along the customer journey contributes to the overall opinion of service quality. Delivering consistent, smooth experiences across all touchpoints is critical for cultivating brand loyalty.

Customers want a consistent experience regardless of whether they interact with the business online, in-store, or through customer service channels. Brands that meet this expectation position themselves as trustworthy partners in the lives of their consumers.

Apply this in your projects

If your project is customer-facing in some way, walk through the journey and identify touchpoints where the experience may have variation. For example, in interactions with humans. Provide scripts and training, but empower team members to do what’s right – even if that means going off piste.

5. Offer the human touch for exceptional service beyond automation

As technology advances, there is a greater emphasis on automation and AI-powered solutions. While these advances clearly improve efficiency and streamline operations, companies must not neglect the importance of the human touch.

Genuine human interactions make an indelible impression on clients, building an emotional connection that AI cannot mimic, as evidenced in an Ipsos poll where 77% of US consumers declared that they preferred human interactions compared to speaking to a chatbot.

Apply this in your projects

Automate, systemize and streamline everything you can, but make sure human customers can still talk to human service agents if they need to. Lloyd Skinner shares some tips for AI in project management in an interview, so have a read of that if you want more ideas on how artificial intelligence is shaping project delivery.

6. Turn mistakes into opportunities: the power of service recovery

As much as we strive for Six Sigma levels of quality, errors are unavoidable (even in a truly Six Sigma environment). However, how a business responds to a blunder may make or break its reputation.

When done correctly, service recovery may turn a poor experience into an opportunity to strengthen client loyalty. Promptly resolving complaints, sincere apologies, and going above and beyond to make things right demonstrate to clients that they are valued and respected.

Apply this in your projects

During project execution, use the Voice of the Customer, Product Owner or customer reps to review the deliverables to try to prevent problems in the first place.

Build in a mechanism for feedback, try a beta launch with ‘friendly’ customers and make sure helpdesk staff have a process for resolving complaints.

Add these tasks to your requirements documentation so they are included in project scope from the beginning.

7. Customer feedback is a goldmine for improvement

To continually provide excellent service, firms must cultivate a customer-centric culture across their organization. This culture begins at the top, filters through all divisions, and avoids the 6 barriers to customer-centricity.

Employees who believe they have the authority to prioritize client demands are more inclined to go above and beyond to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Listening to consumers is critical for providing excellent service. Customer feedback is a treasure of information, revealing pain points, places for development, and changing preferences.

Brands that actively seek and respond to criticism exhibit a commitment to ongoing development, which builds trust and loyalty.

Apply this in your projects

Listening is the basis of lessons learned! Check out Elizabeth Harrin’s book, Customer-Centric Project Management, for examples and a real-life case study of how to implement a new way of thinking about lessons learned.

The video below is me speaking at the Øredev Conference in Sweden, sharing the case study from the book. It’s 40 mins long and will give you a fantastic overview of what it means to put customers at the heart of everything you do.

How being customer-centric improves IT success from Øredev Conference on Vimeo.

8: From loyalty to advocacy: Customers as brand ambassadors

When businesses continuously provide exceptional service, they build devoted consumers who become champions. These brand advocates become ardent supporters, sharing their great experiences with friends, family, and social networks.

Word-of-mouth marketing from delighted customers drives new business and strengthens the link between service, loyalty, and growth.

Apply this in your projects

During project delivery, use the right leadership approach to build a trusted, fun culture. Make your project team a place that people want to be so they advocate for the project.

During handover and go live, pass that sense of achievement on to the teams who will be supporting customers going forward. Try virtual team building activities to keep engagement high and pass the good vibes on to customers!

9. Service as the bedrock of sustainable growth

Finally, exceptional service is the keystone that strengthens the link between consumers and brands. The vast majority of customers associate outstanding service with brand loyalty, making it a potent driver of long-term success.

Brands can develop emotional connections that generate steadfast loyalty and advocacy by embracing individuality, empathy, and empowerment.

Prioritizing great service as organizations traverse an ever-changing marketplace is more than a strategy; it is the foundation of long-term success.

Apply this in your projects

Delivering service that surpasses expectations and makes a lasting impression on hearts and minds is the way to customer loyalty and corporate growth.

What will you do to make sure your efforts at work build loyalty across your team and customers?

For some ideas, check out these easy suggestions:

[i] Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report, 2017

[ii] RightNow/Oracle, Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive, 2011

[iii] Research by Aberdeen Group, 2013, no longer publicly available but notes from the study are available on the WayBack Machine.