By successfully leveraging social media, today’s businesses are able to communicate directly with their customers on a much larger scale than ever before.
Social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs keep businesses in constant contact with their customers. The only downside to most social media sites is a lack of dialogue. So the question becomes, “What do my customers think of my business?”
For more than a decade, customer satisfaction indicators have been a great way for any sized business to understand how their customers are feeling.
But are satisfied customers enough?
Surveys on satisfaction may yield results that show a high percentage of “Completely Satisfied” customers. However, a survey of the same group can often show an alarming percentage of customers who would be willing to purchase the same service from a different provider.
In “The Customer Satisfaction Survey Snag,” Bloomberg Businessweek’s Kevin Poyne says that a new scale is needed to measure customer loyalty. In Poyne’s scale, satisfaction becomes the midpoint. Satisfied customers may have no complaints, but will they remain loyal to your business?
A higher rating would be, “Better than I could expect from another provider.” This rating begins to imply loyalty.
Of course, it should be noted, that studies have also shown that in tough economic times (i.e., now) customers are likely to reduce their own “total satisfaction” in favor of “purely the lowest price.”
According to Poyne, the ultimate test of loyalty — the willingness to tell friends — should be the top rating: “This was so great I will mention it in conversation later today.”
Companies that are able to create and maintain satisfied and loyal customers stand a much better chance of survival. Those who strive for satisfaction alone may be fighting a losing battle.