At a time when the tourism sector is going through one of its most complex crises in its recent history, it is a good time to reflect on the challenge of loyalty.

Loyalty has stopped focusing on retention and is directed towards building a relationship ‘from you to you’ with the client [1]. Today the consumer is empowered and feels capable of establishing a direct relationship with the brands both as sender and receiver.

Loyalty means building a relationship with the brand in question. And that way of relating to brands has been modified in recent years, it has accelerated with the current circumstances that we live in. This link must bear in mind the social networks, since they are a tool to generate a closer brand-client connection.

Today we seek not only the purchase, but the prescription, and make our clients evangelizers or fans of our company. For this reason, retention is no longer enough, we must awaken attention so that they access our brand. Ultimately, we have to seduce our customers.

In order to design personalized experiences and be able to build a good customer relationship strategy, it is essential to take the “customer journey” into account. In order to build a relationship of continuity with the client, it is necessary to bear in mind all the points of interaction that are had with him. That is, their experience, benefits and services offered to them.

Below, I share some examples of brands that, taking advantage of the confinement situation, have decided to continue building a relationship of continuity with their best clients despite the almost inactivity of the company. In this sense, companies have understood that the lack of operation did not imply forgetting their customers, and have used creative ways to grow their relationship with them. For example, Avianca, offered varied multimedia content (dance, concerts, cooking lessons, yoga, travel information, etc.) with the aim of maintaining the aspirational component of the trip. Another case was Iberia, which made a digital library available to its best customers. Other companies outside the airline sector, such as American Express and Master Cards, have followed this line of communication by offering entertainment content to their customers.

We must take into account the importance of keeping the database “alive” in order to achieve our loyalty strategy. Not only does it provide the foundation for the business, it enables us to plan for the future. Hence the importance of the “Life Time Value” of our clients, which allow us to measure the ROI (return on attracting a client through the loyalty strategy) of loyalty in the medium and long term.

This pandemic has accelerated the digitization process in all sectors and, therefore, has streamlined the relationship with the customer. However, this process needs to be very aware of the human component and, for this, it is vital to humanize the relationship with the client. Hence the relevant role that people play in any digitization process. In other words, the client has to perceive the human component through their “customer journey” with companies. In this line, the emotional approach becomes a fundamental piece in the strategy to be followed, since it generates a greater bond, facilitates the creation of links of union and generates exit barriers that make it difficult for the client to break easily with the brand.

Of course, this digitization process is accelerating the implementation of new technologies (artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented reality, etc.) and the use of big data. These innovations allow us to better segment and personalize with criteria of emotions, tastes, habits and behavior; in addition to the traditional variables and anticipating customer needs.

Tools that help us to identify which customers should be loyal, in which customers we should invest and which of those customers provide a greater “Life Time Value”.

Finally, the use of new technological developments, facilitate the customer experience and simplify the processes of linking with brands (geolocation, mobile payment, iris identification, social networks, instant communication through applications, etc.).

 

 

 

In short, smart digitization is and will be an unavoidable path in future customer experience processes towards loyalty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] – According to the study “Uses, evolution and trends in loyalty strategies”, prepared for ESIC Corporate Education together with Inloyalty, the loyalty process towards companies must be based on a balanced relationship.

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