From customer satisfaction to customer experience

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Every company needs satisfied customers in order to build customer loyalty and sell their products and services. Many companies promise excellent customer service, top quality customer focus and assure their customers just how important their opinion is for the company.

According to Prof. Armin Töpfer from the Technical University in Dresden (Five requirements for measuring customer satisfaction – how to efficiently measure and increase customer satisfaction), “metaphorically speaking, customer satisfaction is keeping an eye on your rearview mirror”. Current satisfaction is ultimately based on past experiences.

However Prof. Töpfer also states that a “glance through the front windscreen with the ability to predict significant events and results” is more important for building customer loyalty. Customer loyalty doesn’t just imply keeping someone as a customer but also preventing them from trying out alternative products or switching to the competition.

What is customer experience?

It’s common practice nowadays that customers check up on companies, products and services before making a purchase by reading customer reviews and reports via smartphone or tablet – any place, any time. The customer’s own experience is consequently influenced and the expectations to find the product exactly as described are accordingly raised. Experience with the company and the customer’s evaluation are also influenced by many subjective factors, e.g. how trendy the product is, how satisfied you are with the service, how well you can identify with the brand and company values.

Nowadays, customer satisfaction can be easily and quickly measured using questionnaires, online surveys, Facebook or Twitter. However, these methods provide you with only a marginal insight into what your customers really think. All of these factors impede companies from accurately measuring and analyzing customer satisfaction and loyalty and being able to implement changes based on the collected results.

Measuring & managing customer experience

Measuring customer experience is fundamentally no different from measuring customer satisfaction. The questions for measuring satisfaction refer more so to the current situation (“How satisfied were you today with our performance?”). However, questions attributed to long-term loyalty and customer recommendations bear more importance: “Would you recommend us further to friends and family?” This type of question can be used to calculate a customer loyalty metric (NPS – Net Promoter Score).

How you deal with the results is almost more important than the collection itself. Today’s customers are accustomed to having everything in real time and therefore want to see improvements taking place in real time. At the end of the day, this is how the customer realizes that their opinion has been taken on board and this is what encourages the customer to return and further recommend your services.

Once you receive your customers’ permission to publish their positive reviews on your website or social media channels, you can begin to manage customer experience. New customers will come to you with an already positive experience and they will stay.


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From customer satisfaction to customer experience. Learn how to build customer loyalty and manage customer experience.

author: Niels Delater

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