The business attribute with the highest correlation to profitability is customer loyalty. Customer loyalty lowers sales and acquisition costs per customer by amortizing these costs across a longer lifetime – leading to some extraordinary financial results. However, the question remains, what service attributes drive customer loyalty?
To answer this question, Kinesis conducted surveys of customers who had recently visited a grocery store, collecting impressions of a variety of service attributes.
In order to determine the relationship of these attributes to customer loyalty, we identified each customer as a promoter or detractor as a result of the experience, according to the Net Promoter methodology. Net Promoter is generally accepted as a strong proxy measurement for loyalty, and serves as the basis for evaluating the relationship of these attributes to customer loyalty.
The 12 service attributes with the largest gaps between promoters and detractors are:
- No wait for service
- Employee made eye contact
- Employee offered friendly verbal greeting
- Employees attentive to customers
- Employees look presentable
- Name badges worn
- All items have shelf tags and price labels
- Employees offer further assistance or offer friendly parting comment
- Product knowledge of employees
- Quality and variety of products meets expectations
- Samples offered
- Walk customer to item or area (if asked for assistance)
It’s the People
The performance of the individual employees weighs heavily on customer loyalty. Eight of the 12 attributes are directly related to employee behaviors: eye contact, friendly greeting, attentive to customers, name badge worn, offer further assistance or friendly parting comment, product knowledge, and walking customers to the item or area.
Every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company, and adjusts their behavior based on what they learn. When customers encounter an employee who cares about their needs, they learn that the company, through the employee, cares about their needs as well. Customers respond to this information with an increased desire to positively spread word of mouth, a behavior strongly correlated to customer loyalty.
What are some of the ways your employees care about the customer’s needs?