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Do you know what customer loyalty is?

When people at your company think about “customer loyalty,” are they thinking about your customers’ likelihood to recommend? likelihood to repurchase? likelihood to purchase additional products?

How does your company define customer loyalty?

I had a situation recently that caused me to call on a provider to whom I’ve paid thousands and thousands of dollars by way of monthly premiums for the last 20+ years. I’ve never filed a claim, but I did six weeks ago. It’s not been a good customer experience since that day.

In conversations I’ve had with family and friends about this incident/relationship, they’ve questioned “customer loyalty.” What does it mean? What does it really get you? Is that loyalty about being a long-term customer and getting an experience that reflects those 20+ years as a customer? Or is that loyalty about them wanting you to be customer forever, at any or all costs?

In other words, whose side, which side, defines customer loyalty.

Why do I ask? Because, typically, after the incident I had, companies drop their customers, regardless of said “loyalty.”

Where’s the “loyalty” in that? For either one of us? (Because, hey, maybe I’ll drop them first!)

So, again, is loyalty about an individual being a long-term customer, or is loyalty about a company “appreciating” the fact that they’ve had a customer for a long term?

See the difference? Is the onus on the customer or on the company? Is it about them, or is it about us? Whose loyalty? Are you doing great things for your customers? Or are you expecting customers to do great things with and for you?

Big difference. Yet shouldn’t they go hand in hand?

Maybe there’s a better way to make this point, but when you talk about “customer loyalty” in your day-to-day role within your organization, do you mean:  loyalty to the customer? or from the customer? That is the question. (And, I believe I know the answer.)

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. -Jeff Bezos