Don’t Get No Satisfaction

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 gotick-box 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!

3 Comments
  • John Lyle
    Posted at 11:01h, 08 May Reply

    I think you are exactly right.

    Too many brand owners have thought of ways of making their product cheaper as customers never notice. But they do. Always.

    Our viewpoint has always been to think how good could we make this product or service for the money we need to charge for it.

    Loyalty comes from love, not from just being satisfied.

    A brand that gets its customers to love it will always do better in the long run as they are allowed a few mistakes along the way as they are seen to be trying to do the right thing and not overtly profiteer from their loyalty.

    Profit from customers is best measured as a whole life number and not from a single sale. The sooner brand owners understand this the better it will be for them.

  • Andy
    Posted at 09:44h, 27 May Reply

    Cheers John

    The ‘lifetime value’ of a customer is still one of those concepts that a lot of businesses simply don’t get!

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