3 Reasons Why Customer Loyalty Beats Customer Satisfaction - The Tale of Two Socks

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Ruth Lochary

Call center leaders are always measuring something. We’re buried in data and reports. One of the things we struggle to measure is “CSat” – customer satisfaction. We try post-call surveys to assess this; but privately, I think most of us would admit that we’re not sure those reports really amount to much of anything. If the customer is satisfied, they’ll keep coming back, right?

I’ve been doing some research on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty and was surprised to learn that “loyal” is much more important than “satisfied” for a customer. I’ve got a story to illustrate.

Several months ago, a friend convinced me to start a walking/jogging program with her. I agreed and visited Blue Mile, a local walking/running supply store, to buy the right shoes.

These people are experts and they are passionate about running/walking/fitness. They didn’t talk down to me or laugh when I asked basic questions. In fact, they got excited about my new adventure. They answered my questions and urged me to come back if I needed anything else.

Needless to say, I’ve been back for purchases large and small. I stopped in the day I finished my first 5K – just to tell them what I did – not to buy one thing! It didn’t matter – they greeted me with the same enthusiasm…they offered advice…they encouraged me.

Last Saturday, after my morning walk, I had to throw away my socks. They were worn out. I bought them a long time ago at the “megamart” in town. Where did I go for my new socks? That’s right – to Blue Mile. The person waiting on me had me try on two different kinds of socks to be sure I got the right type!

So, what’s my point? I was satisfied with the socks from the “megamart.” The purchase transaction was handled just fine. The socks lasted a very reasonable amount of time, so there wasn’t a quality issue. The price was competitive (cheaper, actually). But, I didn’t go back to purchase more.

Instead, I went to the business that earned my loyalty. The staff at Blue Mile connected with me as a person. They know me and what’s important to me. They share knowledge for free and they make it easy to do business with them.

You can be satisfied, but never buy from a business again…just like me and my socks. Loyal customers are created when your people connect with those customers. In fact, the research shows three important things about loyal customers:

  • They spend more
  • They stay with you longer
  • They more easily forgive your mistakes.

Here are a couple of questions for you today: are your customers satisfied or loyal? What would it mean for your business if more customers were loyal? What is one thing your contact center agents could do today to connect and create – not just satisfied, but – loyal customers?


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