Where the good ol’ days used to see customers stick with a brand they loved as if they were old pals, nowadays customers jump between brands, batting their eyelashes at one, and then flitting across to another like some floozy harlot.
In the age of the consumer, where the consumer is the conductor in an orchestra of brands, customers are basically flirts, according to Bernie Brookes, former CEO of retail giant Myer.
“If you think about any business,” Brookes said, “it used to be that you’d have the customer for life. Today, customers are flirts. They will go from one brand to another brand. They’ll go from one car type to another car type. They’ll fly Qantas or Virgin or some of the discount airlines very, very easily, where previously it might have been they were stuck to a particular brand.”
Speaking to B&T at the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference in Sydney yesterday, Brookes believed the volatility of customer loyalty in today’s world causes marketing to be just that much trickier.
“It makes it very hard for marketers when you’ve got customers that have all of the information at their fingertips and the ability to change provider or product or service is so simple,” he said.
“That’s the nature of business today.”
And yet, not all is lost is one of your previous loyal customers does the dirty and switches to one of your competitors. Rest assured, there’s always a chance to get them back.
“Everything is shorter than what it was,” said Brookes. “And what’s shorter also is people’s memories.”
If someone has received shocking service from a brand, you needn’t shove the work experience kid out the door as fast as you can. Instead with the right pricing, structure and timing, Brookes said there’s still an opportunity to nab their loyalty again.
“You should never say ‘never again, we’ll not get that customer back’,” he said.