Customer service vs. customer loyalty

Customer service is somewhat of an elusive term, in that almost all companies tout their credentials as being top-tier while not really providing a solid explanation of what they mean by good customer service.

Customer service is somewhat of an elusive term, in that almost all companies tout their credentials as being top-tier while not really providing a solid explanation of what they mean by good customer service.

For this reason, businesses should focus on researching customer experience - be it through mystery shopping programs, surveys, questionnaires or market studies.

First of all, consider the difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. While they are often related, there is no causal relationship and neither is a prerequisite of the other.

"Sixty to 80 percent of customers who defect to competitors said they were satisfied or very satisfied just prior to defection," points out the Glowing Consulting Group in an April report. "Understanding a customer's buying and utilization experience is key to establishing customer loyalty. Sales and support processes must accommodate customers rather than 'pull' them through your process."

To drive emotional satisfaction among customers and to increase loyalty, Glowan recommends businesses establish a common service-selling language and customer-centric behaviors, capturing the best practices and replicating them.