Understanding what motivates different age demographics is crucial for marketers as they seek to create and retain customer loyalty, according to a new study released by Vision Critical.

The study, which is titled, “Keeping Customers Happy: A Tactical Report,” examined evolving customer journeys of U.S. adults.

Interestingly, the report shows that millennials have dramatically different customer preferences and expectations than older customers; 72% of Americans will stop buying from a brand after three bad service experiences; and companies need to find a more personalized formula of customer appreciation, loyalty, service, and experience to attract new buyers and reduce customer churn

What’s more, the report says that a one-size-fits-all model no longer works when it comes to attracting and retaining today’s empowered customers.

Here are some other key takeaways:

Millennials place a high value on personalized promotions based on purchase history, access to alternative forms of payment, and companies that solicit direct customer feedback.

Conversely, the most important services for customers 55-and-older are free home delivery, in-store assistance, call center support, and a 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy.

While 72% of Americans contacted customer support at least once in 2014, millennials were more likely to do so than people 55-and-older.

Millennials contacted customer support at an annual rate of 5.24 times in 2014, compared to 3.02 times for older customers over the same period.

Today’s empowered customers are willing to shop around and investigate competitive products to make the best purchase possible. They also demand good customer service when they need help.

“Customers are demanding more from companies than ever before,” said report author Nick Stein, senior vice president of marketing at Vision Critical. “They’ve been empowered by web, mobile, and social technologies to get what they want whenever they want, and if they don’t receive a seamless customer service experience, they will switch their allegiance. Companies that don’t rise to the challenges posed by today’s fickle, digital customers risk losing their loyalty. To provide the best service and the best experience, companies need to engage with their customers for meaningful insight that drives better business decisions.”

According to the report, the following four strategies are critical to reducing churn: Customer Appreciation, Customer Loyalty Programs, Customer Service, and Customer Experience. By knowing customers’ wants, dislikes and motivations, companies can ensure customer satisfaction and retention.

Customer loyalty programs deliver value in two distinct ways, according to the report: By incentivizing future purchases through earned rewards and also through the data gleaned from customer shopping habits tethered to a loyalty card or electronic program. Customer service affords brands the opportunity to reduce customer effort, which is a key motivator behind customer retention. Customer experience is most successful for brands when they optimize the customer journey from start to finish, which requires bottom-up innovation built on rich insight about what the customer experience is really like from the perspective of the customer.

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