Getting the Right Research to Build Lifelong Customer Loyalty
Most organisations that want to build customer loyalty gather feedback of some sort from their customers. But in my experience, many gather information that will not tell them what they need to know.
During my Customer Loyalty Management Master Practitioner Programmes, we consider what is the best type of research to gather and how to analyse and use it. Throughout this Programme I ask practitioners and specialists to share their knowledge and experience. So for this topic, last week I invited Nick Hague, Managing Director of the research company B2B International to join us. They are, in my view, the best in the country at this, with 20 years of experience behind them, an international network of offices, and the people, skill and technology that enables them to gather, analyse and present the type of research necessary to enable both strategic and tactical decisions about how to build customer loyalty.
Nick spoke about how the research they gather had developed and expanded over the years and I thought a quick summary would be interesting and help people consider what customer feedback they should be seeking.
1. When B2B International began trading, in the 1980’s, most organisations wanted information about things like Reliability (Do we deliver what we promise?), Quality (Do we meet your quality requirements?) and simple Customer Service information (Do you experience First Call Resolution? Are you happy with our Average Handling Time, etc.?)
2. The research next began to focus on broader Customer Satisfaction measures. This included things like Fulfilment (Are we providing what you want?) Complaint Handling (How do you rate our ability to deal effectively with any complaints?) and Customer Satisfaction (How satisfied are you with ?????)
3. Many organisations then moved this on to include Customer Experience measures. This involves Competitive Analysis (How do you rate us compared to our competitors?), Key Purchase Drivers (What experiences most influence your purchase decisions?), Retention (What do we need to do to keep your custom?) and NPS (Net Promoter Score analysis)
4. Today’s smartest organisations do much of the research mentioned already, it still has value, but they now also include many measures that relate to Customer Loyalty Management. These would include things like Creating Value (What could we do to make our service/product more valuable to you?), Effort (How easy are we to do business with?), Feelings (How do we make you feel?), Alignment (How do we make our organisation more aligned with yours?) and Total Business Impact (What impact does what we do have on you and/or your business?)
This progression has made it easier for management to understand what are the key drivers of Customer Loyalty and to focus their organisation on being the best at delivering them.
So, referring to the first paragraph, in my experience, too many organisations seem to be happy with research that is stuck somewhere between levels 2 and 3 above. But that doesn’t provide what I am convinced is needed to make the right decisions. Customers Satisfaction studies fall well short of what is necessary to know how to build lifelong customer loyalty.
So are you gathering the information you need? And if not, what will you do to get it?
© Copyright Chris Daffy