By: Kristina Blanco, Project Manager, The Spectrum Services Group
As our economy enters an upswing, it is now more important than ever to create loyalty among your customers and keep them coming back. Moreover, business owners must consistently remember that customer loyalty brings increased referral opportunities. The age old saying that “Satisfied customers are loyal customers” isn’t exactly true because satisfaction and loyalty is not the same thing. Just because someone leaves an engagement satisfied doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come back, and refer others.
So what is the difference between customer satisfaction and loyalty? According to an article by Dr. John T. Self, http://www.sideroad.com, Customer loyalty is created when a relationship is formed, when a customer becomes involved with the company above and beyond a normal impersonal transaction. This can be when an employee forms a relationship with the customer by providing individual service, remembering their name or their ‘usual order’, or when the employee or staff goes above and beyond to solve a problem. Customer loyalty most often occurs when proactive employees, management and business owners take the extra step to engage the customers on a deeper level than the simple transaction at hand. Caring about more than their purchase will be evident in your actions.
The difference between satisfied and loyal customers is trust. Some of the key characteristics that differentiate these two groups are:
- Continue doing business until something better comes along.
- Do not have a relationship or a unique connection to the business or its employees.
- Do not engage in personal interaction.
- Will see business as impersonal, as a company, not a person.
- Forgive and understand minor problems.
- Are not as price sensitive.
- Help the business through referrals.
- Will not make a change easily.
Obviously having loyal customers far exceeds those that are merely satisfied. Once you have identified your loyal customers you have a unique opportunity to build an excellent referral group for your business. This unique group of people is not only satisfied with your service and product offering, they have committed their trust and loyalty and make the best marketing team for your organization.
To learn more about building a referral marketing program see our blog: Building a Referral Program that Brings New Business.
Adapted from, Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction, by Dr. John T. Self, www.sideroad.com.