There are many business benefits to having strong customer satisfaction, including lower cost of sales, increased repeat purchase and happier employees. But satisfied customers help you build your brand in three important ways:
One of the main goals for brand building is establishing a competitive differentiation. This is more difficult than ever in today’s environment, where it is increasingly easier to copy just about anything your competitor does. However, strong customer satisfaction and loyalty can differentiate your brand in the marketplace. Research has shown that customer satisfaction is declining overall in the U.S.. During the first quarter of 2014, customer satisfaction decreased substantially 76.2, down from 76.8 in the previous quarter (on a 100-point scale), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). This first quarter drop in the ACSI was the biggest since the University of Michigan created the index and began recording customer satisfaction 20 years ago. This general declining customer satisfaction creates an opportunity for companies with superior customer satisfaction to stand out in the crowd.
“Smart businesses should come to realize that the customer service bar is lower— and that today, it’s easier than ever to differentiate your company from the pack with (crazy as it seems) actual quality customer service.” –
Brad Tuttle, Senior Editor at Time
2. Positive Word of Mouth/Advocacy
Satisfied customers tell others about your brand, in person and, increasingly, in social media. If your happy customers are talking about you, you don’t have to. And we all find greater credibility in what our friends and colleagues are saying about brands than in what the brands are saying about themselves. Additionally, satisfied customers will go to bat for you, becoming your advocates and encouraging others to give your brand a try. Not convinced? Consider these statistics:
- Marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising (McKinsey Quarterly)
- Customers referred by satisfied customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
- Brand advocates are 50% more likely to influence a purchase by others.
Smart brands work with their loyal customers to create value. According to Y&R, a “brand’s future value lies principally in the community it creates. More than 50% of Fortune 500 companies have made co-creation through community sourcing an integral part of their innovation strategy.” And of course, satisfied customers are more likely to engage with you in communities to develop marketing programs, new products and services, and greater value for the customer. Here are some examples of brands and customers co-creating:
- Doritos co-created their 2014 Super Bowl Commercial by holding a contest for customers to submit advertisements, and the winner would be televised during the Big Game. After an internal panel had identified the finalists, customers voted for the winner.
- Some brands are built to deliver customer content. Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, and Yelp all rely on customer reviews, ratings, and responses to deliver their product to the customer. Without co-creation from a devoted and involved customer base, these brands simply wouldn’t exist.
- The Coke Freestyle Machine is an example of evolving co-creation. By offering hundreds of combinations of Coke products and flavorings, the Freestyle Machine lets each customer create their favorite beverage. Using social media to promote the machine and the resulting customized drinks, Coke leverages satisfied customers both in delivering and in marketing the product.
Harnessing the power of satisfied customers to enhance your brand is simply smart business. Listening to your customers and letting them share their voice in your brand will lead to a truly differentiated brand supported by a strong community of fans. While brand building is more difficult today than ever, starting with satisfied customers can give you a head start on strengthening your brand in the market.