Building Customer Loyalty Is About Finding the Right Value Exchange

In this age of constant innovation, someone somewhere in the world is building exceptional usefulness into their customer experience and as a result is gaining competitive advantage.

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Who are the masters of loyalty marketing in the UK? Tesco Clubcard? ASOS A-List? Amazon Prime? All plausible contenders. But I would suggest a left field challenger for the title: MoneySavingExpert.

Sure, MoneySavingExpert is not a retailer, a coupon site or a subscription business. But it is a compelling destination for millions of highly active, savvy shoppers. 12 million of them, who come back time and again, year after year. Why? Because it’s newsworthy, it’s on the customer’s side, it talks human and, most importantly, it’s exceptionally useful.

Say, for example, you’re a cash-strapped 30-something setting out to buy the basics for your new starter home. Who do you turn to first? John Lewis, Britain’s favourite department store? How long will your budget stretch there? Amazon or eBay? Good luck with the trawl. Bargain specialists like Trade Secret or Bedsos? Nice prices but are they really the best on offer anywhere? Or, like many price conscious shoppers these days, you could start your search at MoneySavingExpert, the consumer champion site set up by Martin Lewis, and try out their budgeting tools.

Customers are looking to get value for money. From the Haggling on the High Street guide, telling you how to negotiate instant discounts at the checkout, to the Cheap Energy Club that could get you a crowd-sourced electricity deal. Personalised sales alerts surface the latest extant discounts on kitchen appliances. The Downshift Challenge shows you how to curb your weekly outgoings. Signposts to sites like Zeek and Curiua help you get the best deals from Amazon across Europe or snap up discounted gift cards from shops and ecommerce brands. With its tools, checklists and guides, MoneySavingExpert arms you to become a more powerful customer.

And it’s not only militant bargain-hunters who demand usefulness if they are going to give loyal engagement in return. With a best-in-class reservation and store collection service, Argos is a shining example of a high street retailer who fully understands the importance of exceptional usefulness to customers. Mobile banking? Barclays gets 5 star ratings for top class security functions, like instant freezing of lost debit cards at the touch of the screen. Subscribers to The Economist can add daily editor’s highlights with their mobile Espresso service. Pick your category and choose your tool.

In this age of constant innovation, someone somewhere in the world is building exceptional usefulness into their customer experience and as a result is gaining competitive advantage.

So when we help our clients design customer propositions that build customer loyalty, we ask questions that go beyond price, rewards or points:

  • Are you considered useful by your customers?
  • How does your usefulness compare to your competitors?
  • How can you make your current offer more useful?
  • What innovation could you introduce that would be considered exceptionally useful to current and future customers?

It’s not always about cheap and convenient. Is your brand delivering?


Terry Hunt

Advisor, The Future Customer

Terry is co-founder of customer loyalty consultancy, The Future Customer. Established in 2013, TFC specialises in designing complete membership solutions for major brands, including Three, The Economist, Nectar, Daily Mail and Rakuten. Previously Terry co-founded the pioneering DM agency, Evans Hunt Scott and led its merger with Brann to create the fully integrated direct, digital and data agency EHS Brann. He was voted Direct Marketer of the Year in 1990, elected a Fellow of the IDM in 1997 and named by Marketing Direct as top of its Power 100 in 2005. Terry was closely involved in the creation and development of Tesco Clubcard and co-authored Scoring Points, the international best-selling book on Tesco’s pioneering customer programme. He consults and lectures worldwide on loyalty and customer programme development. In 2010 Terry was appointed President of the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM). He is Trustee Board Member of World Child Cancer. Specialties: CRM Loyalty marketing and customer programme development Brand and marketing strategy