Where Is the Attitude?: Getting Closer to Customer Loyalty

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Once again I received one of those customer surveys via email from a company I have recently spent money with. After having submitted my feedback I reflected a bit over the structure of as well as the questions in the survey and wondered “what does this company actually know about me and my behavior now?”

Roughly, the 20 questions could be split into the following two categories:

  • 18 of the questions were satisfaction related
  • 2 of the questions were (behavioral) loyalty related

Looking at my responses to the survey, there is no doubt that the company will know what I felt about my past “interaction” with them and also gain some insight into whether I would be likely to spend more money with them? However, actual insight into my future behavior as well as my attitude towards the company or its products overall is rather limited. They also don’t know why I purchased from them, are they my preferred company for this type of product, how do competition stand in relation to them and how would I actually describe the company or its services to others? All of these elements will affect my future interactions with this company as well as my “voice” in the market – bottom line, the company lacks key information about me in order to determine 1) if I am or could become a loyal customer and 2) how (potentially) profitable I am?

Just like the many definitions of CRM, there are many approaches to analyzing and measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. Over the years I have looked for simple models that can be applied or used as guidelines, but most descriptions are either very vague or very detailed – and hence quite difficult to apply in real life. In my day to day work and as a guiding principle to getting a thorough understanding of customers and the relationship a company has with these, I use the following model:

The model is simple and illustrates that insight into the satisfaction level as well as behavioral as well as attitudinal loyalty is needed. Most surveys today only give very little insight into behavioral loyalty and fail to give any insight, whatsoever, to attitudinal loyalty. One reason is that it can be quite difficult to include questions in a survey that touches upon all the elements but as Jim Dickie mentions in his recent blog, a survey can then be complemented with other initiatives.

No matter if a single survey or several initiatives are being used, it is critical to ensure that ALL three elements of the model depicted above are covered. This is the reason why this simple model hangs above my work desk and that all customer analyses initiatives are connected to one or more of the elements – ensuring that we at the end of the day have an in depth view into all three.

Whether using a simple or complex model, surveys or initiatives that don´t bring insights into all three elements simply don´t deliver what they were intended to deliver in the first place, namely insights into customer loyalty.

PS. Following the information gathering, there is of course a lot more work to be done. Connecting the elements (e.g. creating a link between attitutional and behavioral loyalty) and making a link to (customer) profitability are just some of the next steps. I am open to replacing some of the other models I have hanging on my wall, so if good strong – and simple – analyses or guidelines models exist out there, let me know.

Kristian Gotsch
Loyalsticity
Kristian Gotsch has more than 15 years experience within the world of CRM. As CRM Manager at the Eredivisie (Dutch Premier League), Kristian has a great interest in sports and CRM and is the founder of Loyalsticity. Prior to his current role Kristian held various CRM positions at T-Mobile, PwC and Microsoft. This is a personal rather than a corporate blog. My opinions reflect my own views rather than necessarily those of my employer.

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