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Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
Satisfied customers will follow you everywhere
12 years dedicated to protecting consumers … voluntarily
Dec19

12 years dedicated to protecting consumers … voluntarily

I had the pleasure to meet two weeks ago another customer satisfaction hero, the destiny of whom was tightly linked to that of Frédéric Klotz (read his interview). The man I met is Joël Guillon, someone I’ve indirectly known for years through the complaint resolution forum he launched in 2002 : LesArnaques.com Joël is one of those knights who fights against bad companies’ practices and who shares his knowledge and his time to help...

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Serving unfair customers: here’s what you should do
Dec08

Serving unfair customers: here’s what you should do

When a customer is unsatisfied, he/she sometimes engages in an interaction with the company to obtain redress. At that point frustration may combine to dissatisfaction and result in aggressiveness and outrageous behavior on the part of the customer. Marketing specialists are unanimous to say a firm should apologize and accept the responsibility. But doing so has also consequences for the employees. How would you feel, as a service...

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What are the mechanisms leading a consumer to be satisfied (or not)
Dec03

What are the mechanisms leading a consumer to be satisfied (or not)

Customer satisfaction is one of the main construct of modern marketing and an important pillar of firms’ strategies. Yet few business people actually understand how satisfaction works in the heads of their customers. Although it is still being debated experts agree on the process of expectancy disconfirmation to explain of customers become satisfied or unsatisfied.   What is the role of expectations in the customer satisfaction...

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Politeness matters: iOS 8 helps you to be polite
Dec03

Politeness matters: iOS 8 helps you to be polite

First of all my thanks to our client Florence for bringing this to our attention. A while ago I wrote with my colleague Laurence Rosier an article entitled “Politeness strategies in firms’ answers to customer complaints“. We made an argument that politeness strategies developed by firms help increase customer satisfaction and analyzed which leviers to activate to effectively make your unsatisfied customer more …...

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Retailing: fighting browsing shoppers is wrong. Here’s what you should do.
Nov21

Retailing: fighting browsing shoppers is wrong. Here’s what you should do.

Browser consumers are not new. Academic papers dating back to the 80’s are mentioning this behavior and called for researching it. posing what retailers consider being a great threat to their business. Today however they actually pose also the question of the survival of the brick-and-mortar retail sector vs. online retailing; browser consumers are visiting stores and then buying online, an option which didn’t obviously...

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What are the main reasons to create a company?
Oct27

What are the main reasons to create a company?

After the post we published 2 weeks ago on why companies fail, another interesting piece of statistics published by the French National Institute for Statistics (INSEE) regards the motivations of people to start their company and how these motivations have evolved since 2006. You’ll find the complete table below (we did the translations ourselves given that those interesting statistics are unfortunately only available in French)....

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How to effectively reduce your spending when shopping in supermarkets
Jun30

How to effectively reduce your spending when shopping in supermarkets

Today’s post is about marketing; it’s actually about in-store consumer behavior. A team of researchers recently discovered one incredible trick that effectively reduces what consumers are spending in the supermarket. Read further if you want to know what it is and apply it yourself. Supermarkets profits are driven by unplanned buying behavior You know what we mean. You have experienced it before. You’re in the supermarket and know in...

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Is mystery calling a reliable technique to evaluate customer satisfaction
Jun23

Is mystery calling a reliable technique to evaluate customer satisfaction

Mystery shopping and mystery calling having become widely used technique by market research agencies to evaluate customer satisfaction. And as you know satisfying your clients is paramount for a firm’s marketing strategy. The assumption made by firms hiring such agencies is a very strong one : mystery callers / shoppers would adequately represent real customers and would deliver reliable assessments of what consumers actually feel,...

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Is the Net Promoter Score a reliable measure of customer satisfaction ?
Jun16

Is the Net Promoter Score a reliable measure of customer satisfaction ?

This article is also available in French The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a 1-question scale introduced by Reichheld in 2003 that aims at measuring the propensity of customers to recommend a company (the famous word-of-mouth, also called WOM). This scale has encountered a fantastic success … because it’s extremely simple and quick to apply. Imagine how wonderful this customer satisfaction measurement instrument is: you ask just one...

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Top 5 marketing research from EMAC 2014 conference
Jun13

Top 5 marketing research from EMAC 2014 conference

We are just back from the EMAC 2014 conference. The 12-hour long working days were fully packed with dozens of interesting sessions on various topics. Among the many results that were presented here’s our top 5 of the most interesting research in our field (market research, customer satisfaction and loyalty). You can expect a detailed article on each of the following researches : Net Promoter Score : is it really a reliable...

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EMAC2014, the place to be for marketers
Jun02

EMAC2014, the place to be for marketers

Time for the European Marketing Academy Conference has come. This annual event gather the best European marketing researchers in one place. During one week multiple tracks will be held in parallel on current and upcoming marketing topics. State-of-the –Art results will be presented on consumer research, customer satisfaction and loyalty, complaint management, … Just have a look at the “tracks” that are scheduled. The variety of topics...

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International retailing of « Made in Italy » products
Feb14

International retailing of « Made in Italy » products

The results of a market research carried out in the UK and France revealed some interesting pieces of information about how brands leverage the “country of origin” dimension in the stores. This market study was presented at the International Marketing Trends Conference that took place in January 2014 in Venice and is the result of the work of 8 researchers. It starts by showing that the previously acknowledged COO (Country of Origin)...

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The 2014 Venice International Marketing Trends conference
Feb12

The 2014 Venice International Marketing Trends conference

As every two years I attended the international marketing trends conference in Venice (there are worse places for a conference, aren’t there ?). This annual conference is organized in Italy on even years, and in Paris (at the ESCP school of management) on uneven years. Unlike other academic conference, this one presents the particularity to address a mixed audience of scholars and practitioner. Whereas research sessions focused on...

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Do firms go bankrupt more often than before in Belgium?
Jan20

Do firms go bankrupt more often than before in Belgium?

Two weeks ago we dealt with the previsions of bankruptcies in Europe and more particularly in Belgium. We said that the number of bankruptcies will keep increasing in Belgium to reach 11500 firms’ failures by the end of 2014. This figure should however be compared to firms’ creation figures. This is what we do here. The number of bankruptcies increases … One thing is clear from the graph below, the number of bankruptcies has increased...

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The truth about business failure and bankruptcies
Dec02

The truth about business failure and bankruptcies

There are few topics in the entrepreneurship and SME world of research that are as much discussed as the failure rate of new businesses (what we call generally “startups”). Here’s the truth about it. You all have heard of alarming statistics : 50% of startups die within 2 years or even 1 year, 75% within 7 years, etc … at the same time certain people advocate that these figures are completely false and do not deserve credit. I’ve...

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Decrypting how startups manage things
Nov29

Decrypting how startups manage things

If you work in a startup you’ll probably agree with me that there are few processes and procedures in place, that communication and customer relations are rather informal. In other words startups have a more flexible structure that allow them to do things differently –and sometimes more efficiently- than big companies. Entrepreneurship research has long identified those flexible processes. Yet I was lacking a clear definition of the...

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What’s hot in entrepreneurial and SME research in 2013 ?
Nov25

What’s hot in entrepreneurial and SME research in 2013 ?

I’m just back from the RENT conference on entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises. This 27th edition took place this year at the University of Vilnius (Lithuania)a where some 200 researchers fro all over the world gathered to discuss this –hotter than ever- topic. How could entrepreneurship indeed be neglected. With more than 99% of companies in Europe being SME’s and with all the light shed on entrepreneurship by...

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How demographics maps can help your market research
Sep25

How demographics maps can help your market research

If you think about maps you’ll most probably have in your mind the image of a geographic map, depicting the borders of a country or of a group of countries. There are however numerous other types of maps that are much more interesting and that can be of great help in your market research and your business plan. Geographer Jacques Levy recently published a book where he uses 30 astonishing socio-economic maps created by Luc Guillemot,...

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The importance of unplanned buying for retailers’ profitability
Aug21

The importance of unplanned buying for retailers’ profitability

It is difficult to overstate the importance of “unplanned buying” to retailers and branded goods suppliers. As we have explained in an earlier post unplanned in-store buying behavior accounts for a major part of supermarkets profits. Actually Advertising Age has reported that consumers tend to make 70% of their brand decisions in the store! In a recent article the effects of “preshopping” factors—the overall trip goal, store-specific...

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How to make consumers spend 158% to 457% more? Offer them free returns
Jun21

How to make consumers spend 158% to 457% more? Offer them free returns

This is the result of recent study published in the Journal of Marketing. Unlike –too- many research, the results come from a longitudinal study (that’s to say a study that observes a phenomenon on a long period of time) and that is based on primary data (that’s to say, data the reflects without bias the actual behavior of the population observed). With this study the authors contribute to the important research stream on customer...

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Measuring customer satisfaction: the practices of large corporations and SMEs in review
Jun10

Measuring customer satisfaction: the practices of large corporations and SMEs in review

Customer satisfaction measurement is a much debated topic. In this article we claim that measuring the satisfaction of its customers may not be useful for SMEs. Here’s why. For many firms the measuring their customers’ satisfaction level has become an end in itself which keeps people in the marketing department busy and has generated a whole industry dedicated to software for the design and the administration or satisfaction...

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If you care about customer satisfaction, pay attention to politeness when answering customer complaints
May31

If you care about customer satisfaction, pay attention to politeness when answering customer complaints

We’ve finally completed our research on what companies should do to increase the level of politeness when answering a customer complaints. Answering complaints well is essential to maintain customer satisfaction levels. The results of this research will be presented at the next EMAC (European Marketing Academy Conference) that will be held in Istanbul in early June.   The results in a nutshell Our research shows that using common...

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Pseudo scientific results lead to bad decisions: the example of spelling mistakes
May29

Pseudo scientific results lead to bad decisions: the example of spelling mistakes

My attention was recently caught by an article reposted on Linkedin by one person in my network. The article was entitled “market shares are lost due to spelling mistakes”. Wow .. when you read a title like this it’s difficult to resist the temptation of opening the hyperlink and actually read the article. The article by Alain Gerlache describes how spelling has become a skill that fewer and fewer professionals master; the author...

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Firms’ survival rate in free-trade zones
May10

Firms’ survival rate in free-trade zones

Eric Raoult, UMP Deputy of Seine-Saint-Denis (a region located north of Paris), submitted a report on free trade zones in July 2011 to the Minister of the City. In this report we learn among other things that the survival rate at 5 years of companies operating in free trade zones is 23.3% (for companies of the “first generation”, i.e. companies created after the first series of bills were passed to created free trade zones. Conditions...

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The relevance of customer satisfaction in SME
May08

The relevance of customer satisfaction in SME

Below is the introduction of a working paper on the relevance of customer satisfaction for Small and Medium Enterprises. The purpose of this academic paper is to show the gap which exists in the literature on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty between what has been studied (big companies) and what actually constitutes the very essence of business in Europe, i.e. small companies. This paper is also put at your disposal in a...

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The unique personnality of 3-stars chefs
May03

The unique personnality of 3-stars chefs

At ESADE conference from March 25th-27th a very interesting research was presented on narratives from Top Chefs. The sample studied by Magdalena Marowska was made of narratives by the late Bernard Loiseau, Heston Blumenthal, … The discussion that followed revolved around the personality of the chefs. Pictured as entrepreneurs, chefs of this level (3-star Michelin) are a very special type of entrepreneur. Their emotional component is...

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50% of the firms created in 2006 have died: all the factors influencing firm’s survival
Apr19

50% of the firms created in 2006 have died: all the factors influencing firm’s survival

There is a lot of controversy around survival rate of startups. A survival rate of 25% after 7 years is often mentioned although there’s no evidence around it; other authors speak of a 90% survival rate. The discrepancy is so huge that real actual figures are very valuable. Such figures have been published last week by the French statistical institute INSEE (Link to the original source – in French only). In 2006 a total number of...

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Find your audience: how to position your research work
Apr12

Find your audience: how to position your research work

As I explained in an earlier post, I was very disappointed to see my research work rejected at this year’s EMAC conference. Fortunately the very same research work was accepted and presented at the 5th International Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research. This conference, though more limited in size than the EMAC and its hundreds of participants, gave me a great boost of energy … and hope. I was finally able to...

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50% of complaints answered without apology: bad for customer satisfaction !
Apr08

50% of complaints answered without apology: bad for customer satisfaction !

This is the result of an analysis we conducted on a sample of 226 companies having answered to online customers’ complaints on the French forum www.lesarnaques.com. We presented these results and the proposal for a new conceptual model at the 5th International Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research which was held from March 25th until March 27th at the ESADE Business School of Barcelona, Spain. Among other...

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EMAC 2013 : a lesson of humility
Mar13

EMAC 2013 : a lesson of humility

For an academic in the field of marketing research, the EMAC conference is the place to be to meet his/her pairs. I work each year towards this goal but this year the odds have decided I would not present my ideas and my results. My two papers got rejected and this result, although difficult to accept, has positive aspects but brings also questions along.   Is there a strategy to increase the odds of being accepted? This is at...

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Why Innovations fail
Feb27

Why Innovations fail

We’ll be giving a (short) conference at the Solvay Business School on March 19th 2013 at 6:30pm on innovation. We will however not deal with innovation from a company’s perspective (how to innovate and the like) but rather from a consumer’s perspective. We’ll propose some new thoughts (also inspired by our research work) on why innovations do not get adopted by consumers. Our intention is to limit the presentation to 60 minutes and to...

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Conferences to attend if you want to anticipate the future
Jan28

Conferences to attend if you want to anticipate the future

For those of you who are eager to confront themselves with new thoughts and brand new research results, you may be interested to attend one of my upcoming conferences : On March 19th 2013 at the Solvay Business School (Brussels, Belgium) : I’ll be giving a talk of ca. 60 minutes, followed by questions and individual feedback sessions. The presentation is entitled “Why innovation fail: the role of consumers’ habits in the product and...

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What motivates people to move up the social media ladder?
Jan24

What motivates people to move up the social media ladder?

During the ESADE conference, Sue Vaux Halliday presented her work on “user-generated content and its creators: consumers and commentators”. During her presentation Sue introduced the concept of social media ladder (also called social technographics ladder: see the slideshare presentation below for more information) which allows to segment the population according to the usage of social media tools. At the bottom of the ladder you have...

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The counterfeiting industry and the consumer behaviour
Feb24

The counterfeiting industry and the consumer behaviour

I already dealt with Bottega Veneta this week, the ultra luxury Italian brand. Like many other luxury bag brands, Bottega Veneta is subject to counterfeiting. A long-debated question is whether counterfeiting is a fate or a sign that a brand is successful. This was the subject of much discussion at the International Marketing Trends Conference in Venice, which ended January 21, 2012. Bottega Veneta, Vuitton and the like are a...

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Segmentation was not invented in the 20th century
Feb08

Segmentation was not invented in the 20th century

Segmentation, a famous marketing concept, was not invented in the 20th century. It’s much older than that. That’s what I learned when I visited the Vatican city in December. As you probably know the Catholic Church is one of the oldest company in activity (some 2000 years of existence already) and if you visit the Vatican city you’ll notice they know what business is about. You’ll find booths selling all kinds...

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Advices by Will Mitchell for junior researchers

If you are a practitioner this post will unfortunately be of no interest to you. However, if you are an academic, this may well interest you. I attended a publishing seminar by Will Mitchell, the editor of the Strategic Management Journal, where he gave tons of good advices which I think may be useful to other young researchers. Will explained that he sees actually two approaches to structure and get a paper published. First approach:...

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