Brands might be earning customer satisfaction and loyalty simply by attracting the right crowd, a new study released by Michigan State University reveals. The report, Understanding the Influence of Cues form Other Customers in the Service Experience: A Scale Development and Validation, was co-authored by Clay Voorhees of Michigan State University, Deanne Brocato of Iowa State University and Julie Baker of the Texas Christian University.
The study found customers were most often loyal to a store or brand when they shared the same appearance and behavior of other customers. Research conducted in a clothing store, theme park and restaurant revealed customer loyalty increases when a patron is surrounded by others he or she can relate to.
"Basically, do I feel like they’re the same type of person as me?" said the study's co-author Voorhees. "Do they look good? Do they behave? These factors increase the likelihood of people returning to the store."
In fact, the research predicts brands could increase loyalty by 30 percent if they incorporate customer base management strategies. According to an experience analytics firm ClickFox, Apple has some of the most loyal customers. The company could be driving this by attracting a client base that wants to be seen as an early adopter of the newest technology.