Are satisfied customers always loyal?


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Are satisfied customers always loyal? I think that’s an interesting question and wanted to get some answers from this group.

Too often, companies assume that satisfied customers and customer loyalty are interchangeable terms. They end up being shocked when they lose customers who previously appeared satisfied with service levels. As a result, many companies are struggling with the new reality in today’s experience-based economy — satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal.

Having a satisfied customer means you are giving your customer what you said you would. A satisfied customer places trust in the product and may feel comfortable buying it from any number of suppliers. The loyal customer trusts the supplier and may feel more comfortable switching products or services than buying from someone else. Further, they extend their loyalty not only to that product or service, but also to the whole portfolio of the companies’ products and services for the better part of their lifetime.

Recent research only emphasizes this distinction, showing that between 60 and 85 percent of customers who chose a new vendor indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their former vendor – satisfied, but not loyal.

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.


  1. Great point. A decade ago a consumer would typically go to one vendor for their needs, but the Internet has opened up new avenues beyond the brick-and-mortar, allowing more competition, better research and access to all kinds of special pricing (coupons, promos, etc). But is customer loyalty determined solely by these factors? Or is our current economy the big influencer? Or as a culture are we just fickle shoppers by nature?


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