Raconteur on customer love, loyalty and devotion

pre634 raconteur on customer love loyalty and devotion

Raconteur, in addition to its generic meaning, is the name for a series of reports published in print and online by UK newspaper, The Times. They are claimed to “reach and influence some of the most powerful decision-making audiences in the UK and worldwide, being read by high-level policy-makers, C-suite leaders … and business professionals."

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The Raconteur report published on 27 July 2016, is focused on Customer Experience & Loyalty. Here are some highlights.

There’s been much written about, and much focus on ‘customer loyalty’ and ‘customer delight’, but now it seems there is an even higher goal to strive for: ‘customer devotion’. It’s discussed in an advertorial from ‘global loyalty agency’ ICLP and proclaims: “Consumers these days require the same thing from a brand that they require from their human relationships: devotion.”

The article argues customers might be ‘delighted’ but unless they are ‘devoted’ might be ‘promiscuous’. “Retailers already know that consumers are promiscuous, particularly now they have the ability to compare prices at the touch of a button,” it says.“If they’re not able to get the service or product they need there and then, and at a price they are comfortable paying, they feel no qualms about going elsewhere.”

And what’s the difference between loyalty and devotion? In the words of ICLP managing director, Mignon Buckingham: “It’s about distinguishing between a transactional state of loyalty which is fleeting and the emotional state of devotion which lasts.”

That surely is an oxymoron. Loyalty, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “the quality or state of being loyal,” and loyal means “unswerving in allegiance: as: faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government; faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due; faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.” Don’t see fleeting in there anywhere!

Well if loyalty and devotion don’t grab you in a customer experience context, how about love? Another article proclaims: “UK consumers are falling in brand love.”

The article explains ‘brand love’ with three examples: “The fanboy who queues for days in the rain outside an Apple Store to be the first to get his hands on a new product. The girl who has a Coca-Cola logo tattooed on her lower back. The grandfather who still splashes Brut aftershave all over, 40 years after boxer Henry Cooper made it cool.”

While the idea of brand love might sound rather airy-fairy, the article does go on to cite some solid scientific research, saying “Although being loyal to a brand has been around ever since brands first existed, the idea that it could be scientifically studied really emerged in the late-1980s.

In recent years the latest medical technologies have been pressed into service in this research, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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The conclusion of one such research project described in the article is that “brand love [is] …not the same as romantic love.” Thank goodness for that!

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