When Customers Like Your Service Less, the More They Use It

For reasons that probably are intuitive, customer satisfaction tends to increase as the length of customer relationship with a particular product or service provider increases. Unhappy customers will leave, and therefore no longer register "unhappy" responses about a customer service operation.

Also, the longer a customer remains with a particular supplier, the more likely it is that the customer will have learned how to use a product, and will have fewer questions about value, billing or "how to use the product."

That is not to say the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is especially direct. In many industries, even satisfied customers can churn at significant rates. That especially can be the case when the leading suppliers all offer comparable experience and value for money offers.

In such cases, satisfied customers might well change suppliers for a relatively modest price advantage, for example. 

That is one "hard to quantify" advantage of customer loyalty. Customers with longer tenure tend to cost less to serve, aside from the likelihood that such customers also spend more than newer customers. 

The bad news for travel suppliers is that the reverse pattern tends to occur. Customers who have two years experience tend to rank customer service lower than when they were "new" customers. 

One might suggest there are reasons for those findings as well. There are relatively fewer things a travel experience supplier can do to make a customer interaction more satisfying, when the chief source of customer service inquiries have to do with something that went wrong.

Clearly, seat comfort, meals and baggage fees also are issues. People are not generally too happy about those attributes of the travel experience, so the odds of unhappiness with customer service systems is likely to be weighted in a negative direction. 

So the caveat for service providers might be that experience with your product should, with longer customer tenure, lead to higher satisfaction with your customer service. That is, unless the core experience is not so good. 

In those cases, customer service satisfaction might drop over time, a reflection of general dissatisfaction with the primary experience of the product.



A disproportionate share of customer contacts will be about cancelled flights, late flights, flight delays, lost reward program credits, redeeming reward program credits and billing issues, for example. There is a high probability that consumers will be interacting under conditions where they are unhappy. 

That is one reason why airlines tend to fare worse than other segments of the travel industry. 






ACSI Satisfaction Food Hotels Airlines June2013 Customer Satisfaction With Hospitality Industries, June 2013 [CHART]

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