Customer Satisfaction vs Customer Loyalty

Customer-satisfaction-good

Imagine this scenario: a customer is perusing the aisles of his local grocery store in search of a bottle of remoulade (or remúlaði in Icelandic). After he has located a handful of different brands of this most famous mayo-based pickle-infused hot dog condiment, the customer now faces a dilemma: which one to buy? Should he choose the same old bottle he did the last time, the cheapest one on the shelf, or his childhood favourite? What it all adds up to is how the brand connects with the customer, and how this connection influences his buying behaviour.

Our customer decides to buy the remoulade he remembers from his childhood. He sees the familiar font on the label, and is awash with memories of visits to a favourite hot dog stand touting “the best hot dogs in the world”. He also recalls a time when he posted a question on the brand’s Facebook page on how to make his own remoulade from scratch with the brand’s mayonnaise, and received a timely and thoughtful response accompanied by a delicious recipe. He clutches the bottle, drops it into his basket, and walks to the next item on his list with a smile on his face.

The company that produces his chosen brand has made a very deep connection with him on a subconscious level of which he may not even be aware. This emotional connection is a very powerful tool that all companies should be striving for. According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, “Customer loyalty is the feeling of attachment to or affection for a company’s people, products or services. These feelings manifest themselves in many forms of customer behaviour. The ultimate measure of loyalty, of course, is share of purchases.”  If you can connect with your customers on this level, then they will show their loyalty not only by repeatedly buying your product on future shopping trips, but they will tell other people about how great your brand is.

According to a Gallup article called Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count, pursuing the elusive goal of “customer satisfaction” is for naught; rather, companies should be aiming to establish an emotional connection with customers. If a company can connect with a customer on an emotional level, and hence encourage them to be fully loyal to the brand (maybe even become a brand ambassador to convert others), then that company will have a “fully engaged customer”. This customer is not only satisfied with the product and the brand experience but has also become deeply connected to it. A company’s financial and social success can be a testament to their ability to lasso in a torrent of brand-loving-and-promoting customers.

In the 21st century, there has been a more dizzying level of competition for customers than ever before. With the advent of social media technology, brands have to work doubly hard to capture the attention, let alone loyalty, of customers because the market is flooded with companies all trying to do the same thing. It is simply not enough to produce a good product that people like and continuously buy ̶ satisfied customers defect. Customer loyalty always comes with satisfaction, but satisfaction does not always come with loyalty.

With that in mind, there are some strides you can take to enhance your customers’ experiences with you to promote loyalty. Here are a few:

Put the customer first. This sounds so cliché, but there is sound logic to this idea. If you look beyond your desire to make profit, and focus on giving the customers what they need and want, they will bring you the profit you desire through their loyalty and by sharing their good experiences with your brand with other people – which will lead to more profit. It’s a win-win situation.

Be empathetic. If you know how your customers think and feel, you can better meet their needs. This is especially useful when a customer makes a complaint. Really put yourself in their shoes to understand their grievance, then make the effort to help them overcome the issues they experienced with your brand. This could mean the difference between losing an irate and dissatisfied customer to a competing brand, or retaining a customer who is even happier in the end despite the upset because of how hard you worked to rectify their complaint.

Listen to your customers actively. With social media, it is way easier to show that you are listening to your customers because there are so many different platforms through which you can show that you care about what they think, feel and want. A timely response to a question on a Facebook page or Twitter feed shows that you are present and that you are listening.

These are just a few common-sense strategies you can put into action for your customers and for your business. For more ways to optimise your customers’ experiences with your brand, visit the DalPay blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Persuasion and the Path to Purchase

Path to Purchase Good2

As the e-commerce landscape is becoming increasingly saturated with more and more options for online shoppers, you may wonder what you can do to stay ahead of the competition. A few months ago, we had a few suggestions on how to stand out in a crowded market and how to prevent customer churn. Today, we’re offering some additional tips on how you can use centuries-old wisdom to attract and keep more customers on the path to purchase.

Aristotle for Today’s E-Commerce Business

Back in the 4th century, Aristotle wrote The Art of Rhetoric and explained the three modes of persuasion necessary for developing engaging, effective and persuasive speech. While Aristotle’s target audience were the wannabe-persuaders and philosophers of Ancient Greece, his insight is very relevant to modern day e-commerce marketing, operations and customer retention. Understanding each of these “modes of persuasion” will help you connect with your customers in a credible, emotional and logical way, and will help increase your sales.

Credibility (“ethos”)

Aristotle’s first mode of persuasion, ethos, is the credibility of your business, both the message and the management. In Aristotle’s time, if an audience were suspicious of your claims and motivation, they would not likely “buy in” to what you were saying. Similarly, if your customers are not convinced that your business is trustworthy, your website secure and your marketing message factual, then they’re not likely to purchase from you. Give your customers a reason to believe in you. If your customers believe you can deliver on your promises, then they’ll more likely purchase from you.

Ethos for your e-commerce

Tell customers who you are

While an ‘About Us’ section is important, you shouldn’t stop there. Reach out to customers in a personalised manner through social media, targeted emails and customer loyalty campaigns. Spending a little more time engaging customers one-on-one really pays off: online retailer Indochino saw a 540% jump in revenue after they started engaging with their customers with targeted personalised emails.

Explain why you’re the best

There are over 110,000 live e-commerce websites on the internet right now. With all of this choice, you need to make it clear why customers should choose you over your competition. Do you offer incredibly fast or low-cost shipping? Do you have a returns policy that beats the rest? Do you have the very best deals around? Rave about why you’re awesome and customers will take notice.

Include customer reviews

71% of customers will read a product review before buying it and 63% are more likely to buy a product if it is reviewed and rated. There’s no doubt that positive customer reviews can impact your sales, so make it easy for customers to write a review and even easier for potential buyers to read them.

Emotion (“pathos”)

The second mode, pathos, is the emotional connection you make with your customers. If you’re not aware of how buying from you makes your customers feel, then you’re not likely to have many customers at all.

Pathos for your e-commerce

Up the ‘happy’ factor

Customers need to know how your products or services will make them happier, smarter, more successful or less stressed. Don’t assume that your customers will make this connection on their own and in 15 seconds or less, the average time a buyer stays on a website. Captivate your audience as soon as they land on your homepage with clear, compelling and motivating content and branding.

Provide human customer support

Up to 60% of customers will pay more if they know they’re going to get great service. On the other hand, 89% of customers who’ve had a poor online shopping experience will never revisit that e-commerce website (and will tell all their friends about it!). Make sure your customer support team is helpful, thoughtful, empathetic and human. Love your customers and they’ll love you back.

Logic (“logos”)

The third mode, logos, is the logic behind your business. Once your customers believe that your business is trustworthy and that what (and how) you’re selling will impact their lives, making the purchase will be their next logical step. Just remember to make that path to purchase a logical and intuitive one.

When it comes to your e-commerce website, every step along the way from the landing page to the checkout page is your customer’s path to purchase. How well designed and easy to navigate your website is directly reflect how much effort, time and consideration you’ve devoted to your business and to your customers. Think about your customer’s journey so that they don’t have to think twice about buying from you.

Logos for your e-commerce

Hire a UX Developer

The raison d’être of a UX developer is to keep the customer’s experience in mind. A great looking website with great code isn’t enough – being aware of how your customers will respond to your website and how your website will lead your customers to complete the path to purchase need to be incorporate into the initial design plan, not glued on at the end.

Provide an easy-to-use payment provider and shopping cart

With as many as 74% of shopping carts being abandoned by online shoppers, it’s of the utmost importance that both your payment methods and shopping cart complement your website. Providing several payment options to customers can be advantageous but may also result in some confusion (and an increased chance of abandonment). Research both what’s available to your business and what’s preferred by your targeted audience.

Go mobile (now!)

85% of all online customers will also be mobile customers by next year and 65% of mobile shoppers prefer mobile sites to apps. While many website builders, like WordPress and Wix, incorporate responsive design into their templates, if you’re building your website from scratch, make sure that a mobile version is available. If this isn’t enough reason to go mobile, Google recently announced that it will rank mobile-friendly websites higher for searches initiated on a mobile device.

The three elements Aristotle revealed that would persuade an audience centuries ago are very much applicable today: ethos, pathos and logos. Persuade your customers to complete their purchase from you by making that path to purchase credible, emotional and logical. Oh, and mobile!

For additional conventional and unconventional articles on how to incorporate your customer’s experience at every stage of your e-commerce business, visit the DalPay Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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