As promised in the previous column, this column will discuss the relationship between the customer’s experience with customer service and his loyalty. Loyalty not only to the customer service but to the company as a whole. The results clearly show that there is plenty of munition with which to convince the management. That customer service plays a leading role in value creation rather than a following role in cost reduction.
In the previous column, I described those aspects which are important in keeping customers satisfied. However, we all know that satisfaction itself is not a goal, as satisfied customers can still very easily walk away. Instead, it’s about creating extremely satisfied customers, who can then become loyal customers. Customer service plays its own special role here, as what matters in the end is not only a customer’s satisfaction with and loyalty to customer service, but his subsequent loyalty to the company itself.

Satisfaction and trust

In my research, I started by checking whether satisfaction with customer service contact is also related to trust in the customer service department and connection with customer service. Satisfaction was indeed found to play an extremely important role:
– satisfaction with customer service accounts for no less than 75 percent of customers’ trust in the customer service department;
– this trust in the customer service then accounts for 30 percent of connection with the customer service.

Emotional bond

The creation of trust is particularly essential, as in turn it creates a more emotional connection than satisfaction can. The fact that ‘a mere’ 30 percent of connection is based on trust is partly due to the fact that it is difficult for customers to become connected with customer service. They are more likely to become connected, i.e. have an emotional bond, with a company as a whole.

Customer service experience is crucial

So what does this mean for the customer service manager, in concrete terms? Let’s imagine that he can improve satisfaction with customer service by 100 percent, then trust in the customer service will increase by 86 percent! This is therefore a very strong relationship, hence a perfect ‘knob’ for creation of trust. The knobs required to create satisfaction can be found in earlier results. By combining them therefore, you know exactly what to do to increase trust in your customer service.
It’s all very well, that trust in customer service, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s the creation of loyalty for the company as a whole which matters at the end of the day! Once again, the customer’s experience with customer service is of enormous significance. So how does this exactly relate?

  • satisfaction with customer service accounts for 60 percent of satisfaction with the company;
  • trust in the customer service and satisfaction with the company account for 70 percent of trust in the company;
  • trust in the company and connection with customer service account for 76 percent of customers’ connection with the company.

In other words: customers’ experience with customer service is crucial in creating a connection with the company, which subsequently becomes loyalty to the company.
After all, this loyalty to the company, measured in terms of mouth-to-mouth advertising and repeat purchases, is determined 68 percent by satisfaction, trust in and connection with the company as a whole. What’s more, trust in and connection with the company plays a 4x greater role than satisfaction with the company.

Take heed Management…

Concluding munition for the management: customers’ experience with customer service plays a determining role in creating a connection with the company as a whole, which has much more impact than simply creating satisfied customers. So let’s start measuring and monitoring our customers’ trust, and boost this by allowing customer service to take its rightful leading role in value creation for customers.

Time for a minor disclaimer: these results are based on numbers one and two of ten participating organizations, so I’ll allow a margin of error in case the average of the ten deviates somewhat from these results…

 

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