We use an integrated yet scientifically based model to analyse customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

From private customers to complex business relationships, satisfaction research is ultimately backed by the assumption that satisfaction is the foundation of stable customer relationships. This, however, can be fleeting: One critical incident can turn the tide; a little attention given at exactly the right moment can inspire and build loyalty over the long run. It is therefore all the more important to know the sensitive phases and service areas on which factual purchase decisions are made.

Satisfaction research

Satisfied customers as a strategic success factor

Customer satisfaction is researched in a clear, analytical context. The key elements for us here are:

Development of a contact point model

We develop a hierarchical model that incorporates all customer contact points or product use features that can be experienced from the customer’s point of view. This forms the basis for the survey.

Consistent connection to experiences

To avoid artificial answers, we design our questions based on the individual experiences of customers. Each respondent only assesses the contact points that he/she can profoundly talk about. In addition to conducting to the standardised survey about overall satisfaction, satisfaction with contact points and customer loyalty, open questions are then asked at selected ‘contact points’ about positive and negative experiences that led to the assessment.

Determination of relevance using sequential driver analysis

After the survey, the relevance of individual contact points for the overall satisfaction is then calculated. To avoid depicting only linear relationships, we have also developed ‘Smart Driver Analysis’, a smart and simple instrument that has clear advantages over conventional methods for determining relevance.

Identify strategically important customer groups

Sequential driver analysis can be used to identify areas of improvement for strategically relevant segments (e.g. highly satisfied customers who, however, are willing to switch). The defined study design ideally incorporates a qualitative preliminary study to develop a valid contact point model and a downstream contact point analysis, both of which are used to ask discerning customers qualitative questions about why they are dissatisfied (see ‘Hybrid designs’).

Customer loyalty

Measure loyalty – beyond all ideology

Asking about future customer behaviour, when operationalised as customer retention or customer loyalty, plays a central role in researching customer satisfaction. The data collected on customer loyalty provides reliable information about future behaviour. Science and practice have now spent decades trying to predict customer behaviour. A large number of indicators could be identified to measure the dimensions of customer loyalty, but these are frequently only indirectly linked to behaviour.

As a result, we compared the predictive value of conventional loyalty indicators (cf. Planning & Analysis, Issue 2, 2011). The main results from this basic study are used by us as the starting point for an individual operationalisation of customer loyalty.

Specifically and directly ask for behavioural intention

Prospective behavioural analyses are better at predicting buying behaviour than vague hiring dimensions when they force a decision, take the competitive environment into consideration, and ask for relevant determinants influencing the purchasing decision.

There is no ultimate predictor of purchasing behaviour

Strong industry, brand and consumer effects (e.g. product involvement, brand strength or price sensitivity) require individually considering the specific predictors of purchasing behaviour. Especially in the case of brands with a strong character, as they often have completely different predictors than is common on the market.

Longitudinal studies are worth it

Longitudinal studies are unjustly seen as a time-consuming, costly process. Every company is well advised to determine its own longitudinal loyalty index.

Customer satisfaction

Current cases

Impact of physical brand surfaces

Good question: To what extent does the external appearance of a brand, i.e. its physical brand surface, influence the image and performance...

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b2b market research at C-Suite level

b2b market research at C-Suite level (e.g. CEOs and CFOs), i.e. market research decision-makers, is notable for its multiple challenges.  But what makes...

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Measuring retailer satisfaction correctly

Researching retailer satisfaction is a specific subtype of b2b market research, as retailers often have a very ambivalent relationship with companies whose...

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Selected specialist publications

Key Questions

How well is a company prepared in regard to strategic fields like digitalization, data protection, CSR or agility? In times of disruptive...

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C-Suite Customer Journey

Customer relations in the B2B top segment stand out due to their special complexity and sensitivity with high customer value. With quantitative...

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Brand identities that go beyond just high-gloss images

Large sums of money are invested in image campaigns to give a brand a unique, unmistakable image. But what happens when the...

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