“Are customers loyal?”

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By: Yayu Javier

There are many marketing and even digital experts who challenge loyalty programs and say there is no such thing as a loyal customer or say that loyalty programs don’t work.

I agree that loyalty programs don’t work if you look at programs as merely transactional. Loyalty programs should be more emotional than transactional. Dr. Donald Lim, a world-acclaimed digital expert and Agora Winner, challenged me and said that I should come up with a framework on the emotional process of a Loyalty Program.


“Great idea!” , I said. So I am doing just that and you will be the first to see my initial attempt of the framework. To start off, the loyalty program’s best contribution is to provide the information that will drive the emotional attachment to the customer. It is really all about knowing your customers, which products they are buying, when they are buying, where they are buying , when they are buying, what are they buying it with and which triggers (promotions, communications) work for them. Results of the triggers or campaigns have to be measured to determine which worked or not. CX Metrics is used to measure the Customer Experience throughout the Customer Journey.


The framework presented above demonstrates that all of these are cross-functional which requires a cross-analysis of data. As you can see, the loyalty data is only one aspect and loyalty is the channel that can be used to entice customers to keep on buying and hopefully to become your brand advocates. It is only when you are able to master each group or pillar will you be able to know your customer well enough to create the right trigger and campaigns to achieve the ultimate goal of advocacy.


Can you actually make customers loyal or are they only patrons for a moment and will switch to the next best offer or the next best customer experience?

Just like any relationship in life, we have to work on our relationships to make it work. The continuous learning and all the components in the Loyalty Emotional Framework will keep on evolving as environment and customers also change. Products and customer experiences have to evolve as quickly as customers evolve.

Brands who have been able to establish their strong positioning can keep that emotional attachment with their customers if they know how. Apple continues to evolve but have kept their same promise. Will Starbucks continue to be the “Third Place”when more and more people are going virtual or will coffee be delivered wherever you want it to be “My Place”but still give you that great coffee experience. You have seen businesses that are no longer run and owned by one entity but becomes a brand that anyone can own like Air BNB, Grab/Uber and many more , empowering brands to expand its market as fast as one shares and likes a post in Facebook.

When brands evolve, so should the whole customer experience, so should your loyalty programs. Even my framework may evolve as customers and environment change. At the end of the day and as I always say, if you know your customers, you will know how to keep them.

About the Author:

Yayu Javier is the President and COO of Avanza, Inc., who has
acquired more than 20 years experience in loyalty and customer
relationship marketing and has extensive exposure in
various industries such as retail, consumer goods, banking, and
institutional products.



*First published on Philippine Retailing newsletter.