Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
Satisfied customers will follow you everywhere
Customers are kings ? No ! Not all !
Jun13

Customers are kings ? No ! Not all !

We think that not all customers deserve the same level of attention. Actually some customers should even be left dissatisfied. Looks like a strong statement ? Read further to be convinced that you should change the way you decide on how to satisfy your clients. This article will introduce you to Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), a metrics that companies should be using to allocate resources efficiently. Yet, few companies use the CLV to...

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Add a human touch to your marketing strategy
Feb24

Add a human touch to your marketing strategy

Marketing strategies are increasingly ruled by algorithms, IT-based decision systems which leave less and less space for human qualities to make the difference. We just wrote an article about recommendation algorithms and artificial intelligence in the business sphere that you may want to read to understand how it affects the customer experience. If you are in an industry which uses those technologies, you might well consider the...

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RAGE 2015 study : customers more dissatisfied than ever with complaint handling
Jan27

RAGE 2015 study : customers more dissatisfied than ever with complaint handling

The 2015 edition of the RAGE study is out … and guess what ? Post-complaint satisfaction has never been so low and firms seem to keep doing the wrong things about complaint handling. Complaint handling practices are obviously wrong in most firms and as the results below show, particular attention should be given to the quality of the interaction between the customer and the employee. Customer satisfaction is essential.   TOP3...

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Payment reminders : how not to lose your loyal customers
Jan06

Payment reminders : how not to lose your loyal customers

Sometimes a small detail can ruin your customer’s satisfaction and end up the relationship. The danger is especially high when you have to send a payment reminder. Whatever the reasons, such a message is likely to trigger strong emotions. Two possible situations, equally dangerous for your business If the customer feels he is right, he may feel betrayed and you’ll lose credibility. If the customer knows he’s wrong, this will only...

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How to increase satisfaction of call centers in 3 easy steps
Jan04

How to increase satisfaction of call centers in 3 easy steps

I got many positive reactions about my latest post on call centers’ phone menus. It seems many of you are frustrated by these anti-satisfaction systems. What they achieve to create among customers is everything but satisfaction. I wondered about we could make them better. What would be the rules to follow if someone wanted those systems to be more customer-oriented, more satisfactory for clients ? How would we increase the...

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Highlights of one more year of blogging
Dec22

Highlights of one more year of blogging

It’s now been 6 years I’ve regularly posted articles on this blog (some 2100 articles in 3 languages). The design and technical changes we made in 2014 and 2015 were fruitful. The audience increases regularly and since we fixed a cache problem this summer, the French version of the blog is hitting almost systematically the 100k unique users mark on annual basis. The Dutch version of the blog is not doing so good ; despite all my...

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High on frustration, low on satisfaction :  call centers’ phone menus
Dec14

High on frustration, low on satisfaction : call centers’ phone menus

In the word of service there’s one thing that really drives me crazy : call centers’ phone menus. You know the feeling. You’ve got an issue and have to dial a national number to get assistance. “Press 1 for English, 2 for French, 3 for Dutch, 4 for German, 5 for Italian, 6 for Finnish, 7 for Esperanto”. By the time all options have been spelled out you have forgotten which choice to make and press a number randomly. “Guten Tag and...

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Can we measure satisfaction in our bodies ?
Nov09

Can we measure satisfaction in our bodies ?

I’ve been studying customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction, loyalty for more than a decade. Both my academic and business experiences have taught me one thing : there’s no one-size-fits-all magical recipe to satisfy people. There are almost as many ways to satisfy clients as there are clients. That’s why the quest for efficiency in satisfaction can be considered illusory. Relying on satisfaction surveys is often inaccurate (despite the...

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Managers are from Mars and Customers are from Venus
Nov02

Managers are from Mars and Customers are from Venus

This is the title of an amazing presentation given at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in October. This presentation aimed at explaining the 8/80 paradox, namely: 80% of managers state that they give their customers a great buying experience But only 8% of customers state that they get a great buying experience (Meyer & Schwager 2007) Some background info One of complaint handling / customer satisfaction most...

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Complaint handling in numbers : are customers really satisfied ?
Oct28

Complaint handling in numbers : are customers really satisfied ?

Over the years I’ve collected a series of statistics about complaint handling. I call them “the metrics of dissatisfaction”. These figures reveal that despite 30 years of research in the field, hundreds of papers and books published and tons of recommendations, companies are still not getting it. Complaint are still not being handled well and customers are more dissatisfied than ever. The dangers of dissatisfaction These figures...

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How to ruin customer satisfaction in one sentence
Sep21

How to ruin customer satisfaction in one sentence

Sometimes, satisfying and keeping your customers can depend on very little details. Here’s a personal story of a recent interaction with Coolblue, an e-tailer whose excellent customer satisfaction practices have been discussed several times here. What this story will tell you, is that past performances can’t predict future customer retention. One mistake can be enough to ruin a valuable customer’s loyalty. Coolblue:...

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Service quality and satisfaction : when will real-estate agents change ?
Jun17

Service quality and satisfaction : when will real-estate agents change ?

Whether you are looking for a property to buy, sell or rent, chances are high that you have dealt with real estate agents. In Belgium real estate agents have a bad reputation and as we showed in a previous research, it was justified. Today we are reporting on 4 key recurrent problems on this market that foster incredible dissatisfaction. Read further and we bet you’ll recognize yourself Customer’s needs not understood The first...

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Retail: 4 mistakes that will make your customers leave your store
Jun15

Retail: 4 mistakes that will make your customers leave your store

In those days of showrooming (browsing shoppers) it has never been so important to ensure your customer is satisfied and stays in the stores. Those 4 mistakes will certainly make your customers leave your store right away. Make sure you avoid them ! 1. Waiting time too long People hate queues; be it for check out of to try clothes, you should avoid at all means that your customers must wait. Did you know that in France and Belgium...

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Big Data: TAM Airlines creates unique customer experience
Jun12

Big Data: TAM Airlines creates unique customer experience

Let’s stick with our new habit of having a shorter Friday post. Thanks to our good friends at Creapills, we learned about the initiative of TAM Airlines leveraging Big Data and Data Analytics to increase passengers’ satisfaction. TAM Airlines used a Facebook Connect to get personal information on its passengers. For those of you who don’t know what a Facebook Connect is, it’s a popup that enables a website to capture data from your...

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87% customer loyalty : the magic recipe to make billions
Jun08

87% customer loyalty : the magic recipe to make billions

In the last years, I’ve been very cautious in explaining to our clients how to increase customer loyalty. When I was giving conferences 10 years ago the equation was still “easy” to solve: more customer satisfaction led to increased loyalty. This equation doesn’t hold anymore. Yet one company achieves an incredible loyalty rate and drives billions out of it : Apple. Apple achieves what is probably the highest...

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How to train thousands of employees on customer satisfaction with a serious game
Jun03

How to train thousands of employees on customer satisfaction with a serious game

How to inform and train all your employees on the importance of customer satisfaction ? This is very complex when you have hundreds of employees, even more when they are not in direct contact with the customer. This challenge was solved very well through gamification by Axa France. Why satisfaction of your customers does matter I’m not sure it’s really necessary to explain something so obvious, but for those that may not have read...

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DHL, Amazon and Audi partner to revolution the supply chain
May20

DHL, Amazon and Audi partner to revolution the supply chain

If you are in e-commerce, you know that delivery is a crucial part of the customer experience. If you want your clients to be satisfied and to repurchase from your site, you’ll have to make sure the delivery runs flawless. Yet, flawless delivery (on time) is not enough anymore : it needs to be free-of-charge and the trend is towards quicker and same-day deliveries. Customers’ expectations are more and more to get their order the same...

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How Hootsuite leveraged customer dissatisfaction to improve its product
Mar04

How Hootsuite leveraged customer dissatisfaction to improve its product

You all know Twitter, right ? Most of us do use it. But some of us have more than one Twitter account. I manage three actually : my own one @pnschwab where I deal mostly with scientific marketing research and personal thoughts, @IntoTheMinds for our marketing agency in Brussels, and @BestPopUpStores which we launched last year together with our online project on remarkable pop-up shops. When you have three twitter accounts the problem...

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Naked Wines: great service and amazing customer experience
Feb27

Naked Wines: great service and amazing customer experience

We are always looking for the greatest customer experience on earth, service quality that will move you to the highest levels of loyalty. We found a new amazing example in the UK in the e-commerce industry : Naked Wines. Read below what those guys did. It’s just amazing. Dissatisfied customer ? Make him happy to regain trust You know we are very much following complaint handling practices in Europe and are especially receptive...

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France and Belgium : two countries lacking a culture for customer orientation
Feb25

France and Belgium : two countries lacking a culture for customer orientation

In a very inspiring article (in French) Frederic Klotz, former community manager of Rue du Commerce, describes all the problems an e-customer can face in France (don’t hesitate to read the interview Frederic gave us last year). He describes the lack of customer orientation in French firms and suggests that French customers are the most badly treated. Frederic, believe it or not, France is not a unique example of a country...

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How to get back in touch with dissatisfied mobile app users
Jan28

How to get back in touch with dissatisfied mobile app users

In the last 10 years we have been in touch with many companies conducting satisfaction surveys. One thing surprised us. In many cases, these results were used for reporting purposes to the management but were not used to actually improve situation. In other words, dissatisfied customers were not contacted to understand what happened and to attempt to recover the situation. It’s like if companies were too shy (or shameful) to do it. Do...

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The one thing to do to handle complaints on public forums well
Jan14

The one thing to do to handle complaints on public forums well

Complaint management is an Art some people say. And it’s true that given the number of recommendations (sometimes contradictory) that exist about how to handle complaints, firms must be very agile to know what to do at the right moment to ensure customer satisfaction. What to do when customers complain on online public forums ? The challenge posed by online forums is huge. They can damage a brand reputation and be the starting...

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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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Must-read : interview of a customer satisfaction champion
Dec15

Must-read : interview of a customer satisfaction champion

We are publishing today a very special post. You’ll find below the interview of someone I consider to be a customer service hero, a champion of customer satisfaction. Frédéric Klotz had worked for RueDuCommerce (one of the most renown e-commerce website in France) for 10 years and became known on forums, blogs, social media for his outstanding qualities. He kindly agreed to give us an interview where you’ll learn what he learned in...

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Competition forces traditional taxis to change : finally !
Dec12

Competition forces traditional taxis to change : finally !

The traditional press is full of articles regarding the legal procedures against Uber in Europe. In this judiciary fight, traditional taxis and VTC (Vehicule de Tourisme avec Chauffeur) have joined forces to fight Uber’s aggressive strategy to enter the market despite legal requirements (for more information read our previous article on this topic). Brussels minister for mobility was proud to announce that he had seized vehicles...

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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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Complaint management: an example you should NOT follow
Nov26

Complaint management: an example you should NOT follow

As you may know our agency is working a lot on complaint handling and complaint management practices. To offer recommendations to organizations we study actual complaints and their answers and explore how answers may be perceived by complainants. We would like to offer you today an example of such interaction. To avoid infringing privacy rights, we have chosen an example taken from the online forum Les Arnaques where interactions...

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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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Google Glass used by SNCF to enhance customer satisfaction
Nov17

Google Glass used by SNCF to enhance customer satisfaction

This article is primarily about the use of Google Glass to enhance the customer experience. But let me first start by dealing with the iWatch (sorry … it’s the Apple Watch). The long awaited Apple watch got finally revealed on Sept 9th. Despite the displayed enthusiasm at the conference, I must confess that I was disappointed. It’s not that the apple watch is ugly, or useless. It’s just that waiting so long had made me build some...

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Customer satisfaction for airlines : safety announcements made attractive
Oct31

Customer satisfaction for airlines : safety announcements made attractive

If you’ve travelled on a plane recently, you had to undergo a session of safety announcement before the plane took off. That’s a legal requirement. Most probably you’ve undergone a regular –boring- session of safety instructions that few passengers actually listen to. That part of the in-flight customer experience is, to say the least, not very satisfying and most probably will not be a trigger for you to remain loyal. Yet, some...

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How to transform a negative moment in a positive customer experience
Oct10

How to transform a negative moment in a positive customer experience

Today we wanted to finish the week on a positive and joyful note. Today’s post is inspired by KLM, the Dutch airline. There are many frustrating experiences that can happen when you travel by plane, and insatisfaction can arise for many different reasons. Loosing something in the airport, forgetting something on the plane (think about your keys, your smartphone) can lead to intense negative emotions. Fixing what one may see as a...

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Suit Supply has found a nice way to measure customer satisfaction
Oct06

Suit Supply has found a nice way to measure customer satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction surveys have been popular for decades; Yet the response rate to online surveys is very low if there is no reward. One of the major problem is the time required to answer the survey. People don’t have time. Marketing experts have proposed solutions in the form of one-item satisfaction instrument. In other words you get only one question to answer. The NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a good example of such instrument...

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Mistakes to avoid when measuring in-store satisfaction of customers
Sep03

Mistakes to avoid when measuring in-store satisfaction of customers

Measuring the satisfaction of customers in a point of sales has always been a challenge for retailers. Paper-and-pencil initiatives are usually launched to measure at a given moment, but until recently nothing was available to measure customer satisfaction continuously. Fortunately new devices were introduced on the market (look for instance this example of satisfaction measurement in Heathrow airport) that allow a simple measurement....

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Belfius : 95% of satisfied customers. A customer satisfaction survey that failed?
Jul16

Belfius : 95% of satisfied customers. A customer satisfaction survey that failed?

Belfius prides of targeting 95% of satisfied customers. This score is actually so high that it becomes suspicious. In today’s article we’ll investigate the three mistakes Belfius may make that would lead to misinterpreting the results. How did you define customer satisfaction ? The first question that arises immediately is whether or not the questions that were asked in the customer satisfaction survey were really relevant. Let’s have...

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