Six ways you can use data to drive your customer relationships towards devotion

24 March 2017
In our latest report, we took brands and consumers to ‘couples therapy’ in order to better understand the ins and outs of six different customer relationship types – empty, liking, casual, romantic, companionate and devoted.

Our recent research points to the importance of knowing and understanding customers, in order to build loyal relationships in the retail world.  To achieve this, a solid data strategy is crucial. 

How can you use data to build the passion, intimacy and commitment required to drive your customers towards the most desirable of these relationships - devoted?

1. Measuring participation
Take some time to analyse the level of participation you’re seeing from your customers. Are they part of any loyalty programmes you’re running? And if so, are they redeeming points or allowing them to expire? Are they using the vouchers or discount codes that you’ve sent them, and are they taking part in the special offers you’re making available to them? If the answer to these questions is no, then you need to reignite the passion that’s required for a devoted relationship. Use the data you have available to you to find out which customers are not participating, and get the ball rolling by sending them an offer that’s simply too good to refuse.


2. Personalising communications

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the worth of their data, yet our research shows that those in ‘liking’ and ‘casual’ relationships don’t feel that retailers will use their personal information with their best interests in mind. Look back over the data you’ve collected so far and consider which elements you could use to better personalise your communications. Build intimacy by offering your customers a stronger value exchange and prove to them that you are not using their data for self-serving reasons.


3. Creating a single customer view

In order to build the commitment required to drive customers in ‘liking’, ‘casual’ and ‘romantic’ relationships towards a state of devotion, you need to demonstrate that you recognise your customers as they move between your online and offline channels. Research shows that 41% of mass affluent consumers would shop with their favourite brand more frequently if they received relevant/personalised offers when they entered the store or website.*  24% would also shop more frequently if they received suggestions or product recommendations based on past purchases when in store. Empower your employees by making data on preferences and past purchases (whether made online or in person) available to sales assistants in order to help them enhance customer experiences and connect with customers on an individual level.


4. Understanding pain points

Showing customers in ‘empty’ and ‘casual’ relationships that you care and understand their pain points can go a long way to building intimacy. Use what you already know about them to identify potential problems, and then offer them solutions that enhance their shopping experiences and encourage repeat purchases. For example, if you know that customers are getting items delivered to their workplace, make their lives easier by offering them home delivery in the evening, at no additional cost.


5. Creating unexpected experiences
Customers in ‘empty’ and ‘companionate’ relationships are likely to have gotten a little complacent, and though they are still shopping with you regularly, expectations and opportunities to increase spend are low. Our research shows that the majority of customers in ‘devoted’ relationships expect their preferred retailers to offer them experiences that they wouldn’t get elsewhere. Use your data to understand the value of your customers and segment them accordingly. This will allow you to provide different levels of experience-based rewards – all of which will elevate from the purely transactional towards surprise and delight.


6. Listening to the conversation

Many retailers make the mistake of thinking that the only data available to them is the data that they’ve collected directly from customers. In reality, there is a wealth of information to be mined from various social media and review sites. As online and social channels increasingly become a forum for customer service and interaction, being part of the conversation helps to build passion and intimacy. Use the information available through social media not just to resolve issues, but to identify and reward the individuals who are acting as advocates for your brand by engaging in activities such as brand tagging. Demonstrate that you’re listening to your customers and you are more likely to move them towards a ‘devoted’ relationship.


Need to refresh your memory on the six brand-consumer relationship types? Download the full report.



*Mass Affluent Research undertaken by Survey Sampling International, on behalf of, Collinson (formerly ICLP), February 2016