Sample Essay on Brand Loyalty in Services

Brand Loyalty in Services

Introduction

Brand loyalty is a scenario where consumers become committed to a brand that results in a repeated purchase of that particular brand. Brand loyalty results from the behavior of the consumer that in return is influenced by the preferences of the individual. In most cases, loyal consumers will continuously purchase their preferred brands regardless of the price or even the convenience. Companies employ diverse marketing strategies as a way of cultivating loyal consumers. Examples of the marketing strategies that most of the companies use in creating loyal consumers include incentives, such as gifts and samples, and loyalty programs, such as reward programs (Pearson, 2013).

In this modern era where online marketplace is the order of the day, creating brand customer loyalty is very difficult. However, companies that have managed to create one have exercised unquestionable customer service together with coming up with high quality products that are consumers oriented. Therefore, for a company to succeed in having loyal customers, it must make emphasis on the creation of the trusted relationship between it and the consumers (Eid, 2013). This implies that the company must look beyond establishing the transactions. Unless the company creates a meaningful relationship that is based on trust, it can simply appease the consumers who will purchase the product within a short time frame while looking for a better product. This paper will explore various aspects of the brand loyalty, and ways that an organization can use them in building the brand loyalty of its products (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001).

 

Service Quality, Perceived Quality, and the Perceived Value

Service quality is the general customer observation concerning a service or a product. Service quality entails the following variables: interfaced quality, physical atmosphere quality, and the resultant quality. These variables can be determined by brand quality, brand promise, brand awareness, and the consistency of the brand. One important aspect of the service quality is the fact that it creates a mutual relationship between the consumers and the salespersons. At this stage, service quality can be broadly defined as the divergence between the consumers’ perceived image of the product in an effort of developing the brand trust and the consumer expectation of the product or service. Consequently, service quality contributes greatly towards the creation of the brand trust that in return leads to the development of the brand loyalty (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001).

Perceived brand quality is the general perception of the consumers in regards to the quality of the product or service. In most of cases, it is the responsibility of the company to create this perceived brand quality through various avenues, such as the advertisements, social media, and publicities (Lee & Feick, 2001). In totality, perceived brand quality is the consumers’ feelings concerning the quality and the products’ attributes that the manufacturers create on the product. Such attributes include both the reliability and the general performance of the product or service. Therefore, the brand manufactures always strive to meet the perceived brand quality with the consumers’ expectations. Most importantly, there is a need for distinguishing between the perceived brand quality and the quality objective (De Ruyter et al, 1998).

Objective quality has little to do with the quality valuation and validity whereas the perceived product quality encompasses both the validity and the valuation of the brand (Yi & Jeon, 2003). Researchers have conducted a study by assessing the relationships between the perceived brand quality and the consumers’ satisfaction. They came up with the idea that brand loyalty can be achieved only if the manufacturers create a continuous link between the perceived brand quality and the satisfaction (Bennett et al, 2005).

Perceived brand value can be described as the value of the product compared to its price because of the perspective of the consumers. Mostly, majority of the consumers are unaware of the cost of production of a product. Therefore, they tend to perceive the product price depending on the feeling that they receive upon utilization of the product (Kapoor & Kulshretha, 2012). Consequently, they would be in a position to determine whether the product manufacturers have put the right price on the product, depending on their perceived value. At this point, the customer will be in a position of creating the image of the product either positively or negatively (Kowalski, 2013).

From this experience, the customer will decide whether to purchase the product for the second time that will in the end determine the creation of the brand trust and loyalty (Gommans, 2001). In addition, there is a close relationship between the perceived value of the product by the customers and the satisfaction. This is because the perceived product value is usually high on the customers’ perspective if they are satisfied upon using the product brand. Therefore, it can be deduced that Service quality, perceived quality, and the perceived value contribute immensely towards the development of the brand loyalty (Eid, 2013).

Brand Trust and Customer Satisfaction

Brand trust together with the customer satisfaction play a huge role in formulation of the brand loyalty. First, brand trust is the promise that the consumers see in a product that can lead to the fulfillment of their needs and expectation (De Ruyter et al, 1998). This implies that without the consumers developing the trust on the brand, they cannot achieve the much-needed loyalty on the brand. In most scenarios, consumers develop, brand trust from the brand ambassadors (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001). Brand ambassadors are the consumers that communicate positively about the brand to their friends and relatives. This is what is mostly referred in the corporate world as the word-of mouth marketing. In some cases, consumers develop brand trust through assessing the information about the product with the aim of proving whether the brand will meet their expectations. In this regard, it can be argued that brand trust has a strong correlation with the brand loyalty (Bloemer & Kasper, 1995).

On the other hand, customer satisfaction can be defined as the happiness that the consumers derive from using a particular brand from a particular company. Most of the companies strive at keeping their consumers as satisfied as possible with their products (Pearson, 2013). Consequently, the companies normally go extra mile in researching on the needs of their consumers, with the aim of addressing them with their products. This marketing strategy is mostly exercised in a very competitive market. Just like in the case of the brand trust, consumers tend to develop the satisfaction of the brand from the positive talks from friends and family members (Bennett et al, 2005). Therefore, they make a perception regarding the product that they can either sustain or rebuff upon using the product. Therefore, the satisfaction will only come after using the product or the service of the brand. Therefore, customer satisfaction is the first step of developing brand trust that goes along in developing the brand loyalty (Yi & Jeon, 2003).

Bloemer & Kasper (1995) conducted a research study to investigate the influence of the customer satisfaction with the brand loyalty. In their study, they concluded that customer loyalty is the quick response of the customer after using the product or the service. However, the customer will only develop the loyalty to the product only if he/she is satisfied with the product. However, it is worth noting that before the customer decides to use the product, he or she tends to have a perceived expectation that the product must match (Bloemer & Kasper, 1995). Therefore, they concluded that loyalty largely relies on the satisfaction level that the consumer experience after utilizing the product. Moreover, they also claimed that the initial satisfaction is the most important since it determines whether the consumer will purchase the product for the second time. They further argued that the satisfaction level of the consumers could be a great determinant in predicting the behaviors of the consumer as well as the consumer purchase intention (Bloemer & Kasper, 1995).

Quality customer service versus brand loyalty

Research conducted by the InContact and Harris Interactive has revealed that about 56% of all the consumers are most likely to switch brands when a better service option from the related product appears. The study attributed this tendency of the behavior of the consumers to their continuous efforts in looking for the better deal at a lower cost. The same study claimed that about 25% of the consumers have no loyalty to any brand (Malchiot, 2013). The study covered the role that the internet plays in providing the consumers with extensive opportunities in accessing better products and services at a lower cost. McDonagh, the InContact CMO claimed that the consumers are becoming more demanding on a daily basis because most of them care less about the brand but put more emphasis on the value of the product (Kowalski, 2013).

The same research emphasized on the need for the strategy called customer experience management (CEM) as opposed to the building of the brand loyalty. Through this strategy, a company striving at surviving this current harsh marketing environment must focus on delivering unquestionable high quality service using multiple channels. This is because the consumers are in constant look for better deals. It is important to note that customer experience management needs high level of commitments from all the levels of the organization (Hawkes, 2012).

It encompasses employees’ engagement by the help of the initiatives that are incentive base as a way of generating higher product productivity as well as appeasing the customers. Therefore, companies have no choice but to be proactive regarding their marketing efforts. The same research also revealed that most of the consumers prefer being contacted by the companies regarding the product discounts and special offers (Malchiot, 2013). Therefore, companies must hybridize both the brand loyalty and the quality consumer service as a way of survival in the current market where stiff competition is the order of the day (Kumar, 2008).

Conclusion

Brand loyalty is an imperative idea in the business field. Case in point, the two predecessors of brand loyalty; consumer loyalty and the experiences with the brand exceptionally determines if the customer will continuously purchase the product or service. The study demonstrates that either consumer loyalty happens as manifestly or latently. On the other hand, a positive connection between manifest satisfaction and genuine brand loyalty is more grounded contrasted with the positive relationship between latent satisfaction and the last. Controlling brand loyalty prompts coordinated effort between brand impact and brand assume that start inspirational state of mind towards an item that in the end leads to repurchase. In this viewpoint, brand loyalty builds the business piece of the pie while weakening the danger of competition.

 

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