Nearly all of our customers conduct a customer satisfaction study. Some deploy both relationship and transaction based studies. One question that we often receive has to do with the discrepancy between the number of customers saying they are satisfied versus the number of customers who engage in loyal behavior. It is not uncommon to learn that while many of your customers are satisfied, they may not necessarily be loyal; that is, your company isn’t necessarily their provider of choice nor a company they recommend. Yet, customer loyalty is an important measure of business health.

It is wise to be concerned because the research suggests that loyal customers are going to repurchase at two to four times the rate of just purely satisfied customers. They’re going to enthusiastically recommend your company to others, are also willing to pay more for your services, and will be the first to try your new products/services.

Satisfaction is not the same as loyalty.

Improve loyalty among your satisfied customers.

How to Improve Customer Loyalty Among Satisfied Customers

Some of the suggestions offered by Dr. Mark Royal of Korn Ferry Hay Group’s  who conduct the annual research with Fortune magazine to identify the World’s Most Admired Companies provides insight into how you can improve your customer loyalty. According to the research, the factors that determine whether satisfied customers will become loyal ones: the outcome that customers experience, whether it’s a product or service, and the process by which they receive it.

Here’s an example we can all relate to that conveys these factors is buying a car. When we go to purchase a car, the car we bought might be the most wonderful car, so the outcome was positive. But we may decide not to return to the dealership we bought it from for service or the next car because the process of making the purchase was hard or painful. In this instance, the process was negative. This is why service quality plays such an pivotal role in customer loyalty.

According to the research, about 85 percent of customer loyalty leaders are fanatical about measuring loyalty. They focus their measures on what matters to the customer. These companies regularly check the pulse on their customer base’s loyalty as many as two or three times a year at critical junctures in the relationship, so they can act quickly on issues that arise.

Increase Customer Loyalty By Knowing What Matters

You want loyal customers?  First, you need to know how your customers define success and their expectations. The answers to these questions should be the starting point for your loyalty research. Some of the questions you want to ask and monitor that will help you gain insight into whether your customer loyalty is improving include:

  • Are our company’s products or services having a positive impact on your business?
  • Do you believe you are receiving a strong return on investment?
  • A quality rating for both the products and services.
  • A rating on how easy you are to do business with.
  • A rating on how much they want to work with your people?
  • A rating on how much your people embody responsiveness, integrity, trust and professionalism.

Investing in customer loyalty is a long term commitment. For any initiative to have staying power we recommend you take the following course of action.

  1. Incorporate customer loyalty into your strategy and your mission statement
  2. Involve employees, customers and managers in the process and action plan
  3. Measure and monitor your loyalty on a regular basis
  4. Demonstrate quick resolution to customers’ issues and concerns
  5. Hold employees accountable
  6. Set customer loyalty targets.

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