Whoever solves the loyalty problem wins the future” – Brian Boero

Is loyalty a diminishing commodity?

A variety of studies have sought to determine whether or not millennials are brand loyal with some finding them more brand loyal than the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations and others like a study from Cadent Consulting Group saying that the more than half of millennials have no preference between a private-label and the bigger national brands.

This is good news in some ways. What it means is that millennials are open. They don’t trust what they’ve been sold. They don’t base their decisions on flashy marketing campaigns and you don’t need tons of money to capture their attention. They trust their own experiences and the experiences of others more than any marketing campaign. Their loyalty isn’t something that is earned once and remains fixed; it must be renewed experience after experience, connection after connection.

The loyalty challenge

The challenge in maintaining loyalty is in keeping track of people post-purchase. A friend of mine had a great experience with the agent and bought a very expensive gift that he planned to give to the agent the next time the agent contacted him after the sale of his house. The gift sat on a shelf for years before he eventually opened it as housewarming gift to himself. This man travels the country and interacts with real estate agents all year long, he could have provided plenty of referrals, but more than that, he was a good loyal customer who had genuine affection for his real estate agent. Studies show that less than 10 percent of agents have a follow up strategy for keeping in touch with past clients and even those that do rarely keep in touch for the five-to-eight year cycle that can be typical between home purchases.

One of our users recently said about the product: “Helps me keep my commitments to my clients with follow-up to eliminate the complaint I hear most often: My agent never got back to me.” These situations don’t just reflect badly on the individual agent, they reinforce negative stereotypes in the industry.

Many agents talk about the pain of finding out that a past client whom they sold a house to listed with another agent. They know the client was happy at the time and wrote a positive review, they may have even exchanged gifts at the time and promised to keep in touch. As time went on, they simply lost touch. Often this experience feels like disloyalty but disloyalty is an active act, this situation is more of a mutual forgetting.

Transactional vs. Relational

We tend to think of loyalty as transactional when truly it’s relational. Loyalty isn’t always measured in purchases or referrals, it’s often measured in engagement which is a two-way street. We are loyal to brands that we feel “get” us, that subscribe to our same set of values, that mirror our way of being in the world. We want great treatment, of course, but more than that, we want to be seen, recognized, and appreciated. The first year Amazon was in business, when it was still an online bookstore, it sent out gift mugs to all of its early customers. The clothing startup Everlane sent handwritten notes to its best customers the first year.

Appreciation drives loyalty.

Loyalty is a muscle. It gets stronger over time if used. A tech-solution can be akin to a gym membership if you don’t use it, it isn’t going to magically make you better. However if you do use it and you get into a routine, you’ll discover benefits that go far beyond what you think it’s going to provide.

An intelligent CRM doesn’t just do what you tell it to, it keeps track of what you may have forgotten. (disclosure I run a CRM company). It’s a discovery engine working behind the scenes to make sure that as you move forward in your business, no one gets left behind.

Loyalty isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to make real connections, to engage, to share and to be the advisor your clients turn to again and again.