Anna Brian Lee, Head of Loyalty & Marketing Strategy at LoyaltyEdge, LLC, sat down with Loyalty360 to discuss customer expectations, brand loyalty, and data usage.
How have your customers changed in recent years and how have you adapted to those changes as they relate to customer experience?
As recently as 5 years ago, our clients were primarily focused on web loyalty service, and loyalty transactions via the mobile device were more of a “nice-to-have”. As of late, full end-to-end mobile solutions are now must-haves for loyalty program delivery. And as such, we’ve incorporated mobile into our full solution, with Customer Experience and Journey maps by mobile channel as well.  
What is the biggest challenge you face today as it relates to earning and maintaining brand loyalty?
As expected, customer acquisition has become increasingly difficult as brands are expected to pivot their strategy and channel as quickly as turning on a light switch.  However, the bigger challenge today is maintaining loyalty: The customer lifecycle curve has shifted right, and the right-tail has grown longer. Additionally, the number of moments in which a new customer disengages with a brand has increased. The combination of these two changes makes it even more imperative for brands to leverage customer insights and data to identify key moments in which to engage customers after initial contact.
There is so much focus on customer data and around creating actionable insight now. So how should brands be managing data in a way that is less complex, easier to understand, and more impactful?
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of variables and attributes that you can measure and evaluate, especially if you are using this data as inputs to form your business/enterprise goals. Therefore, we advise our clients to start with company/program goals first. Next, determine which KPI’s will help measure success/failure. In our experience, this makes it much easier to pivot as a company/program goals change.
Can you define what the phrase “customer journey” means to you? What does it mean to brands? And how do you see it changing?
Customer Journey is one of those precise, self-explanatory phrases that somehow becomes extremely complex very quickly. From our point of view, Customer Journey is an end-to-end experience-map that is built from the customers’ point of view. We advise our clients to first segment their customers, using data and analytics. Then map out Customer Journey maps for each of those customer profiles. For many brands, Customer Journey has historically been more of a “touch-point” map that highlights the various times in which customers may interact with the brand. The definition of “brand-loyalty” has already shifted from “a customers’ loyalty to a brand” to “a brand’s loyalty to their customer.” Therefore, brands will eventually be forced to map out Customer Journey from the customers’ point of view if they want to remain relevant and competitive.

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