Study: Loyal Consumers Want Special Treatment Year-Round

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Three-quarters of consumers think they should receive specialized treatment at stores that they are particularly loyal to during the holidays, according to a study released today by Grizzard Performance Group.


Grizzard, Atlanta, a company that specializes in database-driven customer-based strategies, conducted the study in early November to learn about consumer expectations and retailer offerings regarding customer service during the holidays.


The 75 percent statistic is further supported by a Grizzard survey done in May that found 78 percent of consumers expect year-round special treatment from stores they are loyal to.


The current study, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in addition to the top 25 retail companies based on revenue, also found that retailers meet the desires of the consumer only 33 percent of the time when it comes to the preferred types of special treatment they expect in return for their loyal year-round patronage to specific stores.


The top three forms of special treatment retailers provide: special pricing, including special credit terms, promotions or enhanced gift certificates; more personalized, customized customer communication; and special access to phone numbers and Web pages.


Meanwhile, the top three forms of special treatment requested by consumers are: special pricing, including special credit terms, promotions or enhanced gift certificates; first access to new and sale merchandise; and invitations to loyal-customer-only events.


"Consumers want special treatment from retailers, they don't want what many retailers are offering -- such as specialized Web pages or phone numbers or customized communications that retailers today can easily flip a switch to start," said Michael King, group vice president of Grizzard Performance Group. "Retailers have to take an extra step to reach these loyal customers. They have to make an emotional connection to these people."


One of the most important statistics, King said, was that one out of two consumers admitted they are bothered that the retailers they patronize frequently seem to recognize their value only just before or during the holidays.


"The key here is that consumers are not stupid," he said. "They don't want to be called two days before the prom. Retailers have to show value to their loyal customers throughout the year, not just during the holidays."


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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