Interview: How do I establish emotional customer loyalty?
What defines customers as fans and why are they so valuable? Prof. Dr. Gregor Daschmann has the answers. The Mainz scientist studies the emotional ties between customers and companies.
Mr. Prof. Dr. Daschmann, what is emotional customer loyalty?
The emotional customer loyalty model was developed for optimal management of customer relationships. Based on over 100,000 customer interviews, we discovered that satisfaction alone is not a sufficient indicator of customer behavior. This is because even highly satisfied customers are increasingly being disloyal, since the same products and services from competing companies are becoming more and more interchangeable in their eyes. For companies, this means that they can no longer set themselves apart from their competition solely through higher performance. And what’s more: the longer companies refuse to reject the “performance philosophy”, the more money and damage to profits it will cost them.
If customer satisfaction is not enough, then what do you recommend?
We advise companies to focus on emotional loyalty, which our research has shown to be a reliable metric. It incorporates aspects such as the willingness to recommend, trust or the image and appeal of the provider in the eyes of the customer. Companies which increase emotional loyalty automatically increase their fan rate and have been proven to enjoy greater economic success. With the help of the fan portfolio, they can then segment their entire customer landscape according to their relationship quality and identify the fan rate.
What exactly defines fans and how do customers become fans?
Fans are customers who are highly satisfied and exhibit above-average loyalty. They are loyal, buy more and more often, forgive occasional mistakes and recommend the company to others as active ambassadors. Customers become fans if, in the customer's perception, their key needs are better satisfied than by the competition. And not just one time, but repeatedly and at every point of contact – from the product to marketing and customer service. This creates a monopoly position in the eyes of the customers. The second approach to increasing the fan rate is to boost the business relationship through excellent customer contacts in order to make it unique for the customer. This is where the "employee dedication factor" comes into play.
How can I implement the fan principle in my company?
There are many approaches to implementing the fan principle in a company. Using the fan portfolio for customer segmentation helps companies use their resources and capacities with much greater efficiency and success. Integrated into a CRM system, this helps implement a service and targeting approach which is tailored to each specific customer. For example: companies should give priority A to processing requests from fans, because the order probability is high and the price does not play a big role. Requests from so-called mercenaries, however, can be processed with priority C because the order probability is relatively low and this customer group haggles over price. What's important: you have to know which of your customers belong to which group. This is based on a customer survey, which does not have to be elaborate.
Thank you for the interview
Prof. Dr. Gregor Daschmann is a university professor of communication science at the University of Mainz and scientific advisor to the market research and consulting company forum! Mainz. Together with the director of forum! Mainz, Roman Becker, he wrote the management textbook "Das Fan-Prinzip: Mit emotionaler Kundenbindung Unternehmen erfolgreich steuern" ("The Fan Principle - Managing companies successfully through emotional customer loyalty").