?Satisfaction relates to the results of a process; loyalty relates to a relationship?one that can actually survive a negative product or service process.?
?William Bleuel, Ph.D., survey services expert
For starters, many people mistake customer satisfaction and customer loyalty for each other?assuming that they?re essentially the same thing. Actually, they?re quite different, and it?s important for professionals to understand the difference, says William Bleuel, Ph.D., a well-known expert in survey services. Bleuel writes, ?as do the definitions in several dictionaries, that satisfaction relates to the results of a process,? whether it?s the process of sales, service or product performance. In service industries, for example, satisfaction is often based on the on-site repair process.
Loyalty, on the other hand, is a much longer-term proposition. Loyalty relates to a relationship?one that can actually survive a negative product or service process. (Just think about how loyal parents remain to their children, even after the inevitable challenges.)
Truly loyal customers look beyond the occasional negative experience, continuing to purchase a company?s products or services. Not surprisingly, the converse is also true. As many studies have shown, satisfied customers do not necessarily become or remain loyal customers.
In the light of the above discussion, review the relevant recent studies that propagates the importance of interpersonal relationship between a customer and a service provider.