What is Loyalty?

I got an email last week from a friend/client asking for my thoughts on loyalty. It said something like this: "If you have 5 minutes can you reply with your opinion on what makes a customer “loyal”? Curious as to what you thoughts are…"  At my friend's suggestion, I've made our topic into a blog post. Loyalty certainly is situation specific - meaning if we are talking about product loyalty vs friend loyalty, we might have different definitions.

Age can affect one's opinion about product loyalty, in my view. People will often say - "No one is loyal anymore." I'm not sure that is true, people are loyal, but what makes them loyal, the elements that need to be engaged may be different from before. Today, product loyalty is largely based on customer experience, and to a much lesser extent price.

I define product loyalty like this: Given other compelling choices, the customer stays with a product/company because they so appreciate the entire experience that is provided - the product itself, the customer service, and any other value related or benefit related offering that is connected to the product/company.

Certainly every person has a different benefit-to-price/value ratio. Some only value price, so their ratio favors price above all - mostly they are not considered loyal in this type of conversation. The challenge in our world today is finding what level each customer's benefit-to-price/value ratio is - and trying to have their experience match their loyalty expectation.

Any of your thoughts are welcome, as this is an ongoing debate.