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Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
Satisfied customers will follow you everywhere
Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent
Mar01

Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent

How you picture yourself to customers and prospects, and in particular how you smile, has important consequences that you may have overlooked until now. Fortunately a scientific study clarifies the impact of a smile on a potential buyer in different settings, online and offline. This has important consequences if you want to improve your service quality level and your customers’ satisfaction. How smiling affects our...

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Linkedin helps recruiters develop bad practices
Feb15

Linkedin helps recruiters develop bad practices

There’s something I hate about Linkedin. When you are active in a sector where demand exceeds offer, you start getting all kind of bullshit InMail and connection requests from recruiters. I’m in the Big Data consulting business; you can easily imagine what kind of attraction power my Linkedin profile represents for recruiters working on a no-cure-no-pay basis, receiving positions to fulfill from clients and not knowing...

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More debt leads to lower customer satisfaction
Feb06

More debt leads to lower customer satisfaction

It is well known that firms in the US use mainly external financing (debt) to finance growth. It actually is believed to account for 80% of financing. Yet, this external financing puts pressure on the firms and studies have revealed the adverse consequences it represents : less investment in advertising and R&D less full-time employees, lower wages, more part-time employees inferior product and service quality With so many...

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Imperfection can also be a source of delight and customer satisfaction
Feb03

Imperfection can also be a source of delight and customer satisfaction

Who said satisfaction stems from perfection. Imperfect products can also lead to enjoyment and satisfaction. Take for instance the example of Merci, a premium retailer located in Paris that attracs trendsetters from all over the world. They just started a temporary exhibition entitled “Imparfait, Nobody’s Perfect” (“Imperfect, Nobody’s Perfect” in English) which is dedicated to imperfect products :...

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Measuring emotions for a better customer experience management
Jan30

Measuring emotions for a better customer experience management

Can we measure customer experience ? This is a topic we already discussed here and the answer was no. Let me come with a new proposal that was addressed by Sensum during the CPDP 2017 conference : can our body reactions be a reliable measure of customer experience (or at least part of it). Please read further to discover more about this very exciting insights into how measuring reliably emotions can help us better understand customer...

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How data vulnerability affects firms’ performance and how to remedy it
Jan23

How data vulnerability affects firms’ performance and how to remedy it

Everyone talks about privacy. But what is it really ? A recent article in French economical journal “La Tribune” built upon two recent BCG reports (here and there) on data protection and privacy to question firms’ practices around data privacy 62% of French people surveyed by BCG said companies don’t respect the private character of their data. Yet, what is privacy ? Most people will claim they know but once...

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Customer satisfaction, customer experience and big data
Jan04

Customer satisfaction, customer experience and big data

Improving customer experience is priority #1 of top executives for the next 12 months (Lemon and Verhoef 2016). At the same time Big Data is on every serious company’s agenda. How can Big Data contribute to creating a customer experience that will ensure customer retention ? This is the topic of today’s article where we will question the usefulness of Big Data in today’s digital sphere (yes ! we’ll dare doing...

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What are the latest conclusions of academics on customer satisfaction and customer experience ?
Dec21

What are the latest conclusions of academics on customer satisfaction and customer experience ?

In the Journal of Marketing special issue ” Mapping the Boundaries of Marketing: What Needs to Be Known”, Lemon & Verhoef (2016) deliver 5 very useful conclusions on the state of customer experience and satisfaction research. These 5 conclusions, taken from the very latest top research in the field of marketing, are useful for practitioners and lead us to formulate 5 sets of recommendations. Start with service quality...

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How novelty and serendipity improve customer satisfaction
Dec05

How novelty and serendipity improve customer satisfaction

Product recommendations have enabled E-commerce websites to become a place where mass marketing converges with niche marketing. Recommendations are pivotal in enabling less popular products to be discovered by people who are the most likely to like them : this is a long-tail strategy. There is however a dilemma to be adressed : how much of novel and unexpected products should be recommended to online visitors to enhance their...

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Artificial Intelligence : why we need respectful algorithms
Nov16

Artificial Intelligence : why we need respectful algorithms

Developments of artificial intelligence are a source of concern for several reasons. First of all AI threatens jobs, privacy and our perceived freedom. Second, 99,99% of the population doesn’t really understand what AI is and where it originates. In today’s post I’d like to raise the case of respectful Artificial Intelligence and explain why we need the way we conceive “intelligent” algorithms. Why do we...

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Banks are laying off : only because of digitalisation ?
Oct05

Banks are laying off : only because of digitalisation ?

ING : 3500 jobs cut. Axa : 650 jobs cut. BNP Paribas Fortis : 1000 jobs cut. As the Financial Times pointed out, some 100,000 jobs will be cut in the banking sector in 2016. Read again. One hundred thousands. That’s a lot. The reason which is given is that digitalisation have made jobs redundant. And I very much agree with the fact that digitalisation has dramatically changed the business landscape and has forced companies to...

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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 things...

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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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