One in five consumers singled out Apple as the brand they can't live without, with Coca-Cola, Google and Amazon also topping the list, according to a brand loyalty survey by customer experience analytics firm ClickFox. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

Additionally, the US consumers surveyed said that they are most loyal to food and beverage companies (58%) and technology and gadget providers (51%). Conversely, respondents were least loyal to health and fitness companies (44%) and wireless providers (43%).

Consumers are presented with choices every day when making purchases, deciding between name brands and generic brands, or comparing reputation and price. One theme resonated throughout the survey results: quality and customer service are most important to gaining and retaining customer loyalty.

Almost all (88%) indicated that quality is a key factor in their decision to remain loyal to a brand, while 72% identified customer service as a top priority. At the same time, 87% of consumers indicated that they would tolerate more from certain companies or brands, such as paying more for a name brand.

Respondents noted that a company's commitment to quality (77%) and customer service (62%) would cause them to overlook or tolerate more from a company in other areas. And almost half (48%) said that the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty was when they make their first purchase or begin service.

Interestingly, 54% of consumers said they would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company in return for a loyalty reward, and 46% said that they had already done so. However, the majority of consumers (62%) don't believe that the brands they're most loyal to are doing enough to reward them.

"Customers are demanding quality products and top-notch customer service, and they're willing to pay for it," concluded Marco Pacelli, CEO for ClickFox. "Companies need to differentiate themselves by producing quality products and exceptional customer experiences. It's up to them to deliver on their promises by regularly evaluating customer satisfaction and making decisions in real time."