08May Don’t Get No Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is not the same as customer loyalty – too many businesses think it is.
Let me explain: I buy a sandwich from a shop – the sandwich is ok, so I might go back. I might even tick the ‘satisfied’ box on the customer feedback card. That still doesn’t mean I’ve become ‘loyal’. I’m ‘satisfied’ as it did the job, but so would lots of other sandwich shops. Loyalty is about ‘wanting’ to go back, it means walking past lots of other sandwich shops to get there, it means me creating some sort of ‘attachment’ to that sandwich shop.
What can the sandwich shop to do to develop my loyalty? Consistency in terms of quality and service are a starter, but it’s more than that (in fact you could argue that they just get you to the ‘start line’). These form the base of a relationship – you do what you say you are going to do, and that produces ‘satisfaction’. That’s good, but it’s loyalty you’re after and there’s a big difference. Satisfaction isn’t loyalty (Incidentally if my sandwich wasn’t good, I definitely wouldn’t go back – customer dissatisfaction definitely does mean customer disloyalty!)
Loyalty comes from making me feel ‘special’, engaging with me, recognising me as a customer, making a difference, doing things I couldn’t get anywhere else (things that I want, by the way) – It’s very little to do with the actual ‘core’ product, and these are the things that differentiate businesses in increasingly crowded markets. The best businesses develop loyalty in a proactive way and focus their people on this.
So forget talking about customer satisfaction, start talking about customer loyalty. What does that look like in your business? What do you need to do to build more? Here’s an interesting paper on this from Brookeside, experts in customer loyalty, that explains some of this stuff in a bit more detail.
And by the way, this wasn’t just a bit of advice for sandwich shops, it applies to all businesses! Anyway, off for lunch!