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Retailers can no longer fall back on the old cliché of claiming to provide a satisfying customer experience because satisfying customer experiences simply aren’t enough. Not anymore. At best, offering a satisfying customer experience is like getting a “C+” on a test. It’s passable, but certainly nothing special. At worst, it can actually cause customers to disappear.
Because consumers today are demanding so much more from the brands they frequent, they want customer experiences that they actually adore. So the bottom line is that if your customers don’t absolutely love your brand, you’re headed for trouble.
This was conclusion reached by Strategic Vision’s comprehensive New Vehicle Experience Study (NVES), which surveyed over 534,000 new vehicle buyers over a two year time period. The results of the study were very surprising. It found that people who reported being “very satisfied” with a product or service were not likely to display any greater brand loyalty. Less than a quarter (22%) of self-proclaimed satisfied consumers stated that they would remain loyal to the same brand during their next purchase.
And for marketers still not willing offer anything beyond this bare minimum level of service satisfaction, the news gets even worse.
In fact, and somewhat counter intuitively, these same “satisfied” customers were actually more likely to demonstrate brand disloyalty and many even went so far as to tell others to avoid the product all together. They often displayed similar reactions towards a product or service as those who reported themselves as “hating” their customer experience.
“For years, companies, especially automotive manufacturers, have struggled to understand why customers often report they were completely satisfied with their product, but do not even consider the product at their next purchase,” said Christopher Chaney, Senior Vice President of Strategic Vision.
But now “we know why,” he continued. “Satisfaction is not enough.”
During the survey, consumers were asked to rate their vehicles according to the Edwards Commitment Scale™, which ranks emotional responses on a scale from one to seven where one equals “hate it” and seven equals “love it.” And even though this particular study only focused on vehicles, Strategic Vision was quick to point out that the findings could easily be translated to include a much wider sphere of goods and services across many different industries.
“When you fully understand the impact of only satisfying customers, you understand that satisfied customers are essentially lost future sales,” said Dr. Darrel Edwards, Founder of Strategic Vision. “You must create experiences customers will naturally state that they love, or you will lose.”
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