I have read several blogs and articles lately that seem to be into dissing customer satisfaction as a legitimate call service center metric. Some of the authors of these articles go to great lengths to point out the reality that satisfied customers are consistently bolting from one product to the next.
We must move beyond customer satisfaction, as the thinking goes, and find a more meaningful measure to help us develop effective strategies for customer retention and profit optimization. What happens then is a big push to abandon satisfaction in favor of Net Promoter Score (NPS) or other loyalty measurements.
Can we step back and get real for a moment?
Customer satisfaction is not a poor measurement unless it happens to be where you stop in the progression of moving your customers. In other words, customer satisfaction is only a problem insofar as most companies who measure it seem to settle for satisfied customers.
I believe that customer satisfaction is still an important building block in creating customer loyalty and that we should keep on measuring it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that loyalty is an absolute – that customers are either loyal or they’re not, that they’re either faithful to your brand or they’re not, that they’re either with you 100% or they’re not with you at all.
Such thinking is not only faulty … it’s unprofitable.
While it’s true that satisfaction is not where we want our customers to live, for most customers in most markets within most industries, the road to loyal behaviors is a progression, one that moves through a multitude of touchpoints and customer experiences.
Shouldn’t we want to make all of those customer touchpoints and customer experiences satisfying to our customers so that we can eventually guide them to loyalty, the ultimate destination?
As long as we realize that it is not enough, satisfaction can still be a satisfying and useful measurement, a valid benchmark to demonstrate that we are on our way incrementally via touchpoints and experiences to a good, healthy and loyal place with our customers. Let’s keep customer satisfaction as a meaningful metric to ensure that we are pointing our customers in the right direction down the loyalty highway.