In my new report for marketing leaders, “How to Align Customer Experience With Marketing Channel Operations,” we explore the customer journey in the age of the empowered consumer. Today’s smart devices and social media do more than just change the ways people consume information and see ads–they also alter the way consumers consider, select, use and advocate for products and services. As a result, one of the key goals for customer experience programs must be to map a journey that identifies new ways to deliver not just satisfaction and usage but loyalty and advocacy. Understanding the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal one is vital if marketers are to deliver long-term success with customer experience programs. For too long, brands have labeled as “loyal” any customer who consistently buys the same product or service, but this definition has a significant flaw that can lead to customer experience mistakes: Although people demonstrate loyalty through action, consistent actions can be caused by many things other than loyalty. Loyalty is defined (by everyone but marketers) as “a strong feeling of support or allegiance.” Loyalty, in other words, requires intent. People are not loyal because they unthinkingly repeat the same behavior; they are loyal because they actively intend to be so. Get the full story at Gartner