Our approach on customer satisfaction
Customer Loyalty = Satisfaction + Experience (+ well designed incentive programs)
When you think about retaining customers (especially as a marketer), there are a lot of phrases that come to mind: satisfaction, loyalty, experience, retention, journey and others. So where do you focus? How do these concepts work together? Why are they important? These are all questions we’re going to tackle below.
Customer Satisfaction Definition
Customer satisfaction is the measure of how happy a customer is with a product, service or experience. Traditionally this means a B2C relationship, but around here ‘customer’ can be a loose term meaning anyone you’re interacting with, like: partners, distributors, reps, employees, customers—anyone you’re reliant upon to either drive your business forward or bring in revenue.
This type of measurement is usually done through a survey asking the customer to share how they feel about an interaction or purchase with your company/brand. This could take the form of a sliding scale (quantitative) or an open-text response (qualitative). We’ve also seen some brands use NPS scores, sentiment measurements and reviews to benchmark where their satisfaction ratings are.
Customer Loyalty Definition
In its strictest definition, it means being faithful—or steadfast in affection and allegiance.
In our definition, customer loyalty means a preference and willingness to buy from a specific brand or seller. Most commonly measured by repeat purchase, size of spend and word of mouth (advocacy). It’s important to note the slight difference in customer loyalty versus brand loyalty.
Customer Satisfaction + Experience = Loyalty
The customer experience is so tightly woven into the outcome of customer satisfaction and ultimately loyalty that we can’t wrap this up without at least touching on it.
To define customer experience is simple: every interaction a customer has with your brand or company. It’s everything—even the things you can’t control.
Customer satisfaction measures only one or a few of these interactions at a time (usually). Customer experience is harder to measure. This is almost an intangible that spans across all departments in an organization and sprawls out into the world. Their world. The customers’ world.
There are some interesting perspectives out there that argue the customer experience is out of a brand’s control, completely up to how others are defining it through reviews, testimonials and word of mouth. I think this is partially right. To me, experience has three pillars:
The Customer’s Perspective. This is the ultimate source of truth. This is what the customer brings to the table. What they value. What they have experienced previously. Their risk tolerance (willingness to pay, switch, try something new). The combination of these things creates a foundation for which they will make all decisions.
The External Voice. These are the spheres of influence, anonymous review leavers, the testimonials, the recommendation requests, the people and partners who are representing your brand/company.
The Brand/Company Actions. The interactions you can influence, the messages you share and the value proposition you put out to the world. But don’t forget that actions speak louder than words. Your actions are the things people will remember, talk about and come to expect out of your brand. Don’t disappoint your customers.