Satisfying your customers doesn’t make them loyal

Customer satisfaction does not equate to loyalty. Market researcher GfK has quantified what marketers have long feared – that the correlation between a company’s level of customer satisfaction and loyalty is only about 40%.

But of course, the results do not mean marketers should give up on trying to satisfy their customers – although satisfied customers may not become solely loyal to your brand, they are still more likely to repurchase and recommend you to their friends.

GfK is bridging the gap between satisfaction and loyalty by creating a new customer experience indicator, ‘emotional imprint’.

Its research has proven that strong ‘emotional imprints’ lead to significantly lower rates of customer churn and positive word-of-mouth.

GfK’s new way of looking at this issue integrates ‘emotional imprint’ of the customer experience with customer advocacy and other KPIs such as ‘relationship durability’ and ‘switching’.

It says its ‘emotional imprint’ leads to more accurate loyalty scores, of about 80% – double the rate of looking at ‘customer satisfaction’ alone.

GfK customer harmonics global lead David Robbins says that the stronger an ‘emotional imprint’ left on a customer is, the higher their advocacy is, and they are less likely to switch to competitors.

“By identifying those aspects of the experience that leave an ‘emotional imprint’, we can provide sharper, customer-centric insights on which attributes to promote, to drive loyalty and enhance customer lifetime value.”


Michelle Herbison
BY Michelle Herbison ON 14 November 2014
Assistant editor, Marketing Magazine.