According to a recent poll from marketing think tank Loyalty 360, 78 percent of respondents believed having great customer experience makes their customers stay loyal, Retail Customer Experience reports.
However, customer loyalty and satisfaction is constantly evolving, as creating return customers isn't just about earning points, discounts, miles or rewards anymore.
Loyalty 360 recently revealed marketing trends it predicts will headline customer loyalty in 2012, starting with a rerouted focus on customer engagement. According to Retail Customer Experience, deeper involvement with customers throughout a lifecycle is critical to forming an allegiance with consumers, while retention will likely take on greater importance as opposed to customer acquisition.
For example, daily deals sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial may not last in the long-run because marketers are realizing that price-based initiatives aren't effective at building customer loyalty. They can actually hurt businesses who aren't prepared with enough inventory or can't make up the revenue lost through one particularly generous deal.
Furthermore, every single touch point must be taken into account when thinking about customer experience - even call centers.
A survey from mystery shopping network STELLAService recently analyzed how effective retail customer call centers were at mitigating wait times during Cyber Monday, and found mixed results.
In general, the average call wait times were 139 percent higher than normal for the top U.S. 25 retailers, with each call taking around seven minutes to reach a live customer service agent.
Sony, HSN and Kohl's were the three retailers with the longest average call wait times, while Nordstrom, Overstock.com and L.L.Bean customers were able to reach live agents the quickest. each store averaged less than one minute, with Nordstrom the leader at just 18 seconds. Zappos, Target, Sears, Amazon and Toys "R" Us all kept times under two minutes.
Another trend mentioned in the article is mobile couponing, which Juniper Research forecasts total worldwide redemption value to reach more than $43 billion by 2016. Also, a recent PriceGrabber survey of more than 3,500 U.S. online shoppers revealed that 65 percent plan to download coupon apps during the holiday season.
Juniper also noted in a separate study that the value of mobile transactions will reach $240 billion by the end of the year, RCE reports.