Moving from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty

I came across a very good article published in the Harvard Business review some time ago that spoke about the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer and of the fact that the chance of a satisfied customer buying a service or a product again from the same company is one sixth of that compared to a loyal customer.

All the discussions in the world of advanced analytics talks about acquiring customers and reducing the cost associated with the acquisition process. On the other side of the spectrum we are talking about predicting customer churn and identifying the reasons for churn. There are also products and solutions that talk about customer experience and how can one measure if experience is good or bad in relation to market perception. The fact is that these insights however actionable they might be don’t really address the main question ‘Is my customer going to buy from me again and again?’

There is definitely a need to look at this problem or opportunity from a different perspective so as to get a very holistic view of the customer. Customer acquisition and retention bring in a whole number of touch points between the organisation and the customer each having its own influence on moving a customer from being satisfied to loyal. It is time for organisations to start looking at their data from this point of view and in some cases start collecting data if none exists.

One of the challenges is to be able to quantify the feeling a customer has towards the organisation and then the product or service in that order. Some may call it sentiment but in my opinion sentiment is just one aspect of measuring feeling and sentiment can change with other influences.

With all companies using mostly the same methods (products) to enhance customer acquisition and predicting customer attrition the possibility of a customer giving an organisation one more chance might sound utopian in the near future. The winner is clearly the one who focuses of customer loyalty right from the beginning – Is the world of advanced analytics moving in this direction?