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Introducing the Customer Loyalty Mosaic™

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A Mosaic is defined as a decorative art involving small pieces of glass, stone, or other material. It is an art form that represents the product of human creativity and captures the eye. Mosaics date back to AD 64 when In Rome, Nero and his architects used them to cover the walls and ceilings of the Domus Aurea. The size and color of each individual tessera, or small tile of stone or glass used to make a mosaic, is determined by the artist and it is unlikely that any two mosaics are exactly the same.

This aspect of singular design is shared by the proprietary planning methodology employed by Hanifin Loyalty to arrive at a Customer Loyalty Mosaic™ , a desperately needed and innovative approach to Loyalty Program design.  Any business with the will to listen to its customers and adapt its product or service offer to serve their needs is, in theory, on the road to success. To build long term brand loyalty and improve lifetime customer value however, a business must go further by matching transactional and qualitative customer data as the basis of a value proposition that is defensible and set apart from the competition.

Every business is capable of creating its own Customer Loyalty Mosaic™, the components of which range from brand message to operational efficiency, quality, and price. If you visualize the Customer Loyalty Mosaic™ (CLM) of familiar companies as a mix of shapes and colors, the idea takes shape.

Walmart’s CLM would emphasize tessera (elements) related to price and distribution, while Apple would have larger stones representing Innovation and Service. Federal Express might have larger components of Operational Efficiency and Distribution, while American Express would showcase Brand Message and Service.

In today’s difficult economy, it seems that the mosaic pieces of Service and Customer Satisfaction are increasingly in the spotlight. There is a unique challenge to consumer facing companies – do more with a diminished marketing budget and somehow meet the needs of customers who not only understand their value to the business, but carry a sense of entitlement about being recognized for their patronage. In other words, business is challenged to provide stellar service and more individual attention to customers when resources have never been more scarce, and work forces more skeptical about pitching in for the good of the enterprise.

Business Week recently chronicled this service phenomenon and noted that business resources are quietly being shifted to retain and delight more valuable (“best”) customers while deemphasizing acquisition plans. The magazine noted a renewed emphasis on segmenting customers by tiers and designing service and benefit packages customized to these tiers to improve retention. Business Week formed its own methodology to rank the top “Customer Service Champs” in 2009. Tops on the list was Amazon.com, followed by USAA, Jaguar, Lexus, and The Ritz Carlton in the top 5.

The trend towards customer retention and a more sincere approach to customer service is heartening as both are core elements of the Customer Loyalty Mosaic™. Loyalty Marketing is desperately in need of innovation. Let’s hope that the leadership exhibited by the companies on display in Business Week strike a chord for a more holistic approach towards building customer loyalty. Both consumers and business will benefit as these ideas filter throughout industry and, more importantly, have staying power as the economy improves.

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