Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Predict Repurchase

Marketing is the soul of the company, the link between an organization and the customers it serves. As I wrote in this article, most new product fails and vast sums of the advertising budget is wasted. The strange about this is I perceive it to be acceptable, it’s seen as the cost of doing business.

Straylight believes that we can radically improve marketing’s performance by applying the knowledge from brain science.

The reason I, and many with me, make bold statements is to grab attention.

“Customer satisfaction does not predict repurchase”

Extensive research show that the link between satisfaction and repurchase is tenuous at best and nonexistent at worst. The most favorable result shows that customer satisfaction explains only 8% of repurchase behavior. A large correlation doesn’t exist between what consumers say  they buy and what they actually purchase.

How can satisfied customers who say they plan to remain loyal not predict future success? Because Kahneman’s System 1, the habitual mind, controls 95% of our behavior. Not only are the habitual mind’s working unavailable for conscious scrutiny, but the conscious brain denies the extent of the habitual mind’s control.

So when marketers ask customers if they are satisfied, the executive mind puffs up and stars thinking through the purchase. We think this is the way we always evaluate our experiences.

However, their future behavior is still under the invisible influence of the habitual mind.

(But, if you want satisfied customers. Over-deliver upon their expectations)

Usually, people simply do not make satisfaction judgements about the products they use. When was the last time you thought about your brand of toothpaste?

Most of our choices aren’t choices at all. They are well-established habits.

Habits control what we eat, what we buy and what we do. And habits can act in contradictory ways.
To be successful you should become your customers’ habit. To take a customer from a competitor, you must break the existing habit. This means dislodging behavior from the unconscious mind and elevating it for executive review. Just because a behavior rises to conscious awareness doesn’t guarantee that the customer will switch. Simply that the power of repeat purchase has been interrupted. To get a shot at winning this customer, your offering must promise to deliver on the element that caused the habit to break.

Customers pay relatively little attention to specific product features. Instead, they are looking for shortcuts, cues in the environment that enable them to simplify decisions. Understanding how customers shop and their implicit associations to a product, category etc is essential for being considered for selection.

When customers initially select a product, this represents only the first step in becoming a habit. During the early stages of product familiarization, the rational and logical thinking (Kahneman’s System 2) is active. Being easy to work with and solving the customer’s problems are essential. This enables the rational and logical mind to begin turning over the decision to its habitual counterpart.

To form a habit, every facet of the experience plays a role.

Before launching a product, are you researching both the implicit and explicit mind of the consumer?

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