How to measure true customer loyalty @prof drphilklaus
Dr Phil Klaus argues that NPS, Customer Satisfaction and loyalty transactions deliver only very little evidence of what is really going on. Origina post from the CXNetwork http://www.cxnetwork.com/cx-loyalty/articles/how-to-measure-true-customer-loyalty/
How to measure true customer loyalty @prof drphilklaus
How to Measure True Customer Loyalty
Contributor: Dr Phil Klaus
Dr Phil Klaus argues that NPS, Customer
Satisfaction and loyalty transactions deliver
only very little evidence of what is really
We are all aware that loyalty programs or cards do not guarantee customer loyalty. Point-of-sale
systems and data analysis will always ‘reveal’ that your loyalty program works, because every
time you see a transaction, it is accompanied by the use of a loyalty card. Correct?
Subsequently, you believe that your program is working – after all, you have the evidence to prove
it. And not only that, you can combine these insights with other data to prove your point, using the
usual suspects, such as NPS and Customer Satisfaction. So all seems to be fine, or isn’t it?
How Valuable are NPS and Customer Satisfaction Scores?
The reality, however, is that this often could not be further from the truth. NPS, Customer
Satisfaction and loyalty transactions deliver only very little evidence of what is really going on.
Allow me to give you an example from one of our clients, who was convinced that their loyalty
program was working by applying the logic I mentioned above, i.e., customers are using our card,
we can measure their purchases, and both customer satisfaction and NPS are high. Still, they lost
customers to their competitors and sales growth came to a halt.
We created awareness that most customers these days hold more than one loyalty card (from them
and their competitors). Today’s customers, unlike earlier generations, display multi-brand rather
than single-brand loyalty. In addition, customers might also purchase from competitors not
offering a loyalty program. Therefore, we hypothesized based upon our experience with these
challenges from our work with other clients that their data proves very little about what is really
We went on to measure the share-of-category (or share-of-wallet), which is the only accurate
measurement of ‘true’ loyalty. True loyalty refers to how much of their available budget customers
are spending at your company versus your competitors. In layman terms: share-of-category
measures if customers put ‘their money where their mouth is’, by measuring their purchasing
behavior in relation to all competitors.
The analysis was rather revealing; the client was surprised to see that even what they estimated
would be ‘very loyal’ customers were not. Once the share-of-category measurement was applied,
the client immediately realized the flaws of their existing data analysis.
But it didn’t end there, we also took a closer look at the indicators previously known as ‘reliable’
sources of customer insight: NPS and customer satisfaction.
Our analysis mirrored the findings of my colleagues researching share-of-category customer
insight for quite some time. There is very little evidence that there is a significant correlation
between NPS and share-of-category, the same is true for the relationship between Customer
Satisfaction and share-of-category. To be more precise, according to longitudinal research
conducted across a vast array of companies around the globe (ranging from the simple, mundane,
all the way to complex and high impact offerings) the relationship between NPS/Customer
Satisfaction and share-of-category (your customers purchasing behavior) is weak, explaining an
average of 1 per cent of customers’ share-of-category allocation.
I believe we can state that if what you are measuring explains only 1 per cent of the share-of-
category variations, you might be missing some valuable information. This is just one example of
what led managers, consultants and scholars challenge both, the relationship between customer
satisfaction/NPS and purchasing behavior, and the notion that NPS/customer satisfaction can
actually be linked to performance.
Armed with this knowledge, managers have to ask themselves if NPS and customer satisfaction
are worth the cost? Does it make sense to measure what has no impact on share-of-category, and
therefore profitability? And even if you do want to go down this road, and try to add share-of-
category as a measure, you are still lacking the insight on why the share-of-category increased or
Utilising Customer Experience Quality
Without answering the why question, the answer to the question of what customers do makes very
little sense. This is where measuring customer experience quality (EXQ) comes in, which explains
what drives customer behavior in detail and demonstrates its value for managers. EXQ, for
example, outperforms both NPS and customer satisfaction significantly in terms of explaining and
By combing the drivers (the why) of share-of-category with the outcomes (increase/decrease in
share-of-category) managers convert insights into actionable results, increasing their company’s
A loyalty program does not lead to loyal customers and you need to explore ‘true’ loyalty requires
benchmarking yourself against your competitors by measuring share-of-category. NPS and
Customer Satisfaction do not explain and predict share-of-category, which is instead driven by
customer experience and so you need to measure this category by using EXQ.
Combining insights of what drives your customer’s purchasing behavior (via EXQ) and how it
influences their share-of-category, you can make certain that your insights drive ‘true’ loyalty, and
Dr. Phil Klaus is a Professor of Customer Experience and Marketing Strategy. His award-winning
research has appeared in a wide range of books, managerial and academic journals. He is a
frequent keynote speaker at public and in-company seminars and conferences around the world.
He advices blue-chip companies worldwide on CX strategy, profit-maximization and has written
the best-selling book ‘Measuring Customer Experience - How to Develop and Execute the Most
Profitable Customer Experience Strategies’.
Profdrphilippklaus at gmail.com