On the road to user loyalty, satisfaction is required

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While seemingly similar, there’s a fairly significant difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Defining these paths is crucial for how you measure whether your customers are satisfied and if they will continue buying from you. Doing so also determines how much effort you must make when offering your customers the ultimate experience.

Developing a successful relationship well requires vigour and attention. Doing so can be made even more challenging when the customer served is an internal employee of your own organisation; exactly the case for members of the service desk who serve their colleagues. In these environments, service desk teams must continually deliver value to their user base – their customers -- over and over again, daily.

Providing high-quality user satisfaction is the key to creating a winning organisation or team. This can’t be understated for user service teams that serve internal colleagues who, in turn, serve the organisation’s external customers. When internal users are not provided a quality experience, this can actually domino outward and affect those who interact with the organisation; in other words, any perceived internal negative energy can negatively impact customers outside the organisation.

User experience perspective

Most business leaders understand that customer acquisition is more expensive than keeping an existing customer. A satisfied customer is more likely to do business with you again if they had a positive experience interacting with you, but for those customers that have a negative experience, almost all of them take some sort of action to voice their opinions about interacting with you. This might include the sharing of their concerns with friends and family, with strangers on social media, and even leaving your customer base altogether.

For internal users, they might share their negative experiences with others – including colleagues and supervisors – but leaving your business literally means they must leave the organisation so as not to be your customer any longer. Unless the user truly hates their job and just wants out, the likelihood of their leaving because of poor service through the service desk is pretty slim. However, this is still no excuse for providing poor service to users simply because they are captive clients.

Positive, ongoing satisfaction leads to user loyalty. As users place their trust in your organisation (or service desk), they are showing you that they believe that you are going to provide them added value in the course of their busy lives and will want to continue doing business with you.

Providing a service that produces loyal, emphatic users is where a service desk team wins. Loyal uses are the goal. Loyal users also are likely also satisfied users. When journeying on the road of user loyalty, user satisfaction becomes a metric worth measuring. By measuring user satisfaction, satisfaction can be improved. There are several ways to measure user satisfaction, but the most effective way to do so is to simply ask your customer how they feel about their interactions with your service desk.

Ask your users how they feel about your services

“Transactional satisfaction” measures how users feel after contacting you at the service desk. After each interaction, ask the user how he or she felt about the exchange. When asking for feedback, use probing questions so that you can attempt to measure the user experience. Doing so provides you with the opportunity to immediately connect with the user and engage them as appropriate. As is also common understanding, measuring satisfaction at regular intervals is important.

When contacting a user, there are several potential questions to consider. For example, how likely are you to recommend the service desk to other users; what is the one thing we could do to make your experience more rewarding; and what was one thing about your experience that you found the most rewarding?

Measuring user feedback and continuing to seek this feedback is a primary ingredient of when improvement is needed. Consider this as a way to keep your finger on the pulse of user experience of the service desk. These checkups help you find the information to help you do better.

User satisfaction can impact your team’s morale and even your retention rate. When users are happy and feel as though you are providing them value, they will show their appreciation of those efforts. If you’re not meeting them where they need you to meet them, they’ll likely let you know this pretty quickly. Positive feedback makes everyone happier, more motivated and satisfied.

If you provide great service, your users will see the value of the service they are receiving, which translates to a better experience for the members of your service desk.

As a service desk leader, you’ll want to push back just satisfying users and helping them become loyal. User loyalty is all about their level of involvement with the service you provide, demonstrated through their behaviour over a longer period of time. The more loyal the user, the more they will look forward to receiving service from you, as well as recommending the service desk to others.

You see, customer satisfaction is not necessarily a predicter of loyalty. According to The Effortless Experience 20 per cent of satisfied customers will still switch to the competition, and 30 per cent of loyal customers are actually dissatisfied. On top of this, loyal fans are only marginally more loyal to a business than a normal satisfied customer. It takes more time and effort to exceed user expectations; costing up to 20 per cent more on average to produce that loyalty.

What all of this means

Keeping a long-term relationship functioning well is difficult, especially a relationship in which your customers are internal users and have few options for access to the services elsewhere.

Service desk teams must deliver value to their user/customer base over and over again, each day. Doing so may be easiest if you ask the users how you can best serve their needs while attempting to satisfy them on the road to earning their loyalty.

Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord, president, TOPdesk USA