What Customer Loyalty and 50 First Dates Have in Common

10 years ago Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore starred in 50 First Dates, about a man in love with an amnesiac woman who needs to be refreshed daily on what has happened in her life. Sandler's character would have amazing romantic experiences with Barrymore's character, but it was all for naught: she'd wake up the next morning with zero recollection of him or their experiences together.

Barrymore's short-term memory loss is never fixed, but the couple eventually find a way around it by creating a brief "life recap" video she could watch every morning that ended with a call for her to come to breakfast, where Sandler and their daughter were waiting for her.

Besides being the last decent Adam Sandler movie, 50 First Dates is turning out to be eerily prophetic when it comes to the state of consumer loyalty. Today, everyone has a certain level of amnesia, and we require frequent reminders and great experiences to remember what brands we love.

Widespread Short-Term Memory Loss

As we’ve mentioned on this blog several times, modern loyalty mirrors daily engagement. An amazing experience guarantees nothing in return from the customer. There are just too many options, too much information, and too few dollars for consumers to ignore all other options on any purchase.

Everyone has amnesia when it comes to the brands we do business with. But loyalty can be earned, and most customers do have a moment where their love for a brand is triggered (often subconsciously).

The kicker? Brands have to create that moment, then do it again. And again. And again. And again, ad infinitum.


Creating Aha! Moments

Those moments happen when a brand stops treating customers like walking ATMs and starts building a mutually beneficial relationship. Every interaction is a possible Aha! moment, whether it's a making a purchase, reading a tweet, calling customer service, talking with a low-level associate at a cash register, or opening an email. Conversely, each of these moments is a chance for a brand to fall flat on its face.

These moments become customer wins when a business delivers the experience a customer expects and adds a little bit more value on the top to drive it home. Loyalty happens when the business repeats the valuable experiences over and over. And in between, it’s reminding the customer what it did for them, whether through a thank you letter, a customer loyalty program benefit or even an email newsletter full of tips.

In other words, creating more valuable touchpoints, also known as earning engagement.

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Your Customers May Not Know They Love You

78% of customers aren’t loyal to any particular brand. That doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of great companies out there providing amazing experiences for consumers. It just means consumers don’t have any real reason to devote themselves to a particular company or brand.

As far as they're concerned businesses are all just out to get a few more bucks out of their pockets. And in some cases that's fine with the customer if they feel like there is a true ROI for their dollars.

In fact, we'll dare to say every business has customers that are head over heels in love with it, the brands they love just haven't engaged them in return. It's a one-way relationship that is going to be jeopardized by lower-priced competitors or someone else's slick marketing.

It's up to each business to add more value to every touchpoint and create that dawning moment of realization, sort of the same moment Drew Barrymore has in 50 First Dates.

You'll be surprised at just how many people say, "I love this company, and I didn't even know it!"

Then, you'll need to do it again. And again. And again. And again...

Loyalty Statistics The Ultimate Collection

Topics: Customer Engagement, Ongoing Incentive Programs, Member Benefits, Access Development, customer loyalty

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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