The New "V" in "MVP": The Psychology Behind Customer Loyalty

Many entrepreneurs regard disruption as a positive in a fast changing world of ideas. More is always better has been the status quo for entrepreneurial disruption ever since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s famous motto “Move fast and break things.” But rushing to market is not longer the competitive advantage, at least that’s what research is showing us. Consumers are shifting the focus of desirability from faster to meritorious.

In the same vein, customer loyalty psychology is changing, as consumers attribute value to companies and brands that address social issues, environmental problems or even economic ones. Consumers are looking to be inspired, in fact, they’re expecting it now. Consequently, minimum “virtuous” products will quickly replace minimum “viable” products, so how will your business sustain the virtue of your service or product in front of your customers? And how will you gain their loyalty in this new playing field?

How can customer loyalty psychology help your brand?

Marketing campaigns are often designed around moving products, when in fact they should be revolving around moving people. Harvard Business Review published a CeB study that showed the great significance of shared values for customer loyalty. The research included 7,000 consumers in the United States, UK and Australia and concluded that brand loyalty is impossible to achieve without knowledge of and affiliation to what the brand stands for. 64% of the respondents claimed that “shared values” is the main driver for a strong brand relationship.

So what does that mean for you? It means that consumers are not loyal to your company or your product, they’re loyal to what you stand for. That shows emotional attachment. Customer loyalty psychology research also showed that consumers often rally around a brand when the brad faces an enemy. The best case study in point is Apple vs PC campaigns that have been at the center of Apple’s marketing strategy since 1984. And neuroscience proved it worked. A recent research showed that “the same areas that light up in the brain when thinking about religion also light up for Apple fans when they’re thinking about Apple products.”

Loyalty to virtuous products

So there are two different current happening simultaneously: virtue and merit take place of viability, and consumers focus on building strong brand relationships. These are your two main pillars when building your loyalty strategy in the years to come. This means you may have to answer different questions than before. Questions like What systemic, societal change do you aspire to create with your product? How do you drive the greatest impact on an individual level? How will you sustain the virtue of your product? What do you think is an optimal growth rate? How will you keep yourself accountable as you scale?

From findings to practice

In order to understand the impact of customer loyalty and whether the efforts are worth it or not, you first need to take the findings of the research and studies and put them into a practical strategy. You would need to look at what are the rewards of customer loyalty. You would also need to look at what are the consequences of not putting in the effort.

The rewards of great service

Whether this is based on shared values or the innate customer loyalty psychology that attributes emotional attachment to certain brands, today’s customers place great priority on receiving great service. 3 out of 5 customers in America are willing to renounce a favorite brand in favor of a better service experience. A Customer Experience Impact Report showed that 9 in 10 consumers would spend more time with a business that they believe provides excellent customer support.

The report also mentioned that 80% of the respondents believed that small businesses are more inclined to provide good customer service than larger companies. In today’s highly entrepreneurial world, that means a great deal. It means your success is dependent on customer satisfaction and therefore loyalty. This is your way of competing with big business.

The high cost of bad service

bad service is bad for customer loyalty illustration

A White House Office of Consumer Affairs report showed that “news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience”. That statistic is an irrefutable example of the high price you’ll pay for bad service. Even in today’s digital market, consumer psychology has revealed the power of word of mouth, either though social proofing or wisdom of the crowd.

91% of customers will not return if your service is not on par the first time around. And as the standard of quality keeps shifting and rising, building that strong bond and brand loyalty has become crucial. This effectively impacts your bottom line. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs also revealed that for every complaining customer, nearly 26 others remain silent. This means you’ll be losing customer without warning.


Outperforming your competition in a world where it’s all just one click away will mean two things moving forward: building a virtuous brand that inspire loyalty and giving your customers the right avenue to remain loyal.

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