Customer Satisfaction is a Sales Predictor: Do it right or you won’t get to do it again


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Customer Relationship Metrics supports quite a number of business partners in the warranty / product support space – enough of them, in fact, that we publish a quarterly call center benchmark report for the vertical using our business intelligence services and customer experience analytics. One of the unique challenges for companies in this industry is that as product manufacturers, they largely rely on strategic partners to be good stewards of their brand through the sales and servicing processes. While not an enviable position, it is certainly a common one. In this environment, the typical lifecycle of a customer looks something like this:

The manufacturer in this scenario may only have input at two points of this lifecycle – in producing the product and in fielding support requests for which the warranty policies are applied. Many do not control the processing or servicing of the claims.

But what happens when a great customer experience buying a product at a store turns into a horrible customer experience trying to get the same product serviced by the retailer or an “approved” servicer? The inconsistency in experiences certainly lowers the customer’s perception of the retailer, but the bulk of the damage is done to the brand of the product sold, due to a break-down in the “halo effect.”

A great first impression reinforces the customer’s choice to purchase one of your company’s products. This positive experience, or halo, “bleeds over” to create a positive impression of the entire organization – establishing the halo effect. This halo effect is very important as it serves as a short-term buffer between you and your competition. These positive contacts buy your organization opportunities to recover from a bad customer-service situation. But this halo effect does not protect the relationship forever. Lack of consistency during customer interactions results in customer defection for two main reasons:

  1. Inconsistency in customer service = inconsistency in other areas. When customers are confronted with a series of wildly different service experiences connected to a single product, they commonly connect the inconsistency to the manufacturer (as opposed to the retailer or servicer) and assume the inconsistency experienced in service also exists in other areas of the organization – manufacturing, quality control, finance, product support / warranty, etc. These customers now begin to imagine a very different future with you; one besieged with endless problems, service calls, repairs and unexpected costs. This customer may not immediately defect, but will certainly tell anyone who will listen about their ordeal, becoming a terrorist to your company.
  2. Consistency Bias. Consistency bias is the human propensity to incorrectly remember one’s past attitude, behaviors and experiences as resembling current or more recent attitudes, behaviors and experiences. This bias degrades the halo effect that may have been established earlier in your relationship with the customer. In other words, that perception of a wonderful purchase experience is long-gone from your customer’s memory in light of the dreadful service experience had with your product. The human psyche does not like inconsistency; it battles discrepancies head-on by completely re-writing its own history. The revised version of that history involves a series of bad service experiences, all mirroring the more recent one. At that point, the choice seems obvious – run (do not walk) to the nearest competitor.

Imagine that your product is distributed through the following twenty retailers. If you are interested only in selling that first product, which retailer is your star? Now, which retailer is setting realistic expectations during the sales process and therefore securing consistency with the service process.

Ensuring that sales and service activities, phone, email, text and chat interactions all conform to a standard of excellence regardless of service provider, vendor, or partner is a unique challenge. But a more pressing issue we find among our business partners within this vertical is gaining visibility into experience inconsistencies amidst an ever-expanding pool of data sources and KPIs. To learn more about gaining visibility into your customers’ experience lifecycle, visit Mounting Data Crush.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Carmit DiAndrea
Carmit DiAndrea is the Vice President of Research and Client Services for Customer Relationship Metrics. Prior to joining Metrics, Carmit served as the Vice President of Behavior Analytics at TPG Telemanagement, a leading provider of quality management services for Fortune 500 companies. While at TPG she assisted clients in measuring behaviors, and provided management services to assist in affecting change based on newly created intelligence.


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