Customer loyalty research

Measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty to identify strengths and areas for improvement

With ever increasing customer expectations, a key element of any customer experience strategy is to monitor and track customer loyalty and satisfaction. Tracking these metrics over time will enable your organization to:

  • Identify overall satisfaction and loyalty towards your business
  • Identify the drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Identify the current areas of strengths and areas for improvement
  • Demonstrate the impact of the customer experience strategy

There are several approaches to tracking the experience that B2B customers have, depending on factors such as the number of customers you have and the type(s) of relationships you hold. Within our toolbox we have a range of metrics that we use across industries to enable our clients to reduce customer effort, increase loyalty and increase retention.


Assessing Loyalty: The Net Promoter Score

No other customer metric has grabbed the attention of businesses like the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This simple metric is derived from the question:

“How likely are you to recommend supplier X on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 means not at likely to recommend and 10 means very likely to recommend?”

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is calculated by subtracting the proportion of people that give a score of 6 or below from the proportion of people that give a score of 9 or 10 out of 10.

customer loyalty research - assessing loyalty with the net promoter score

  • NPS is a key indicator of overall customer sentiment and loyalty
  • NPS correlates strongly with future company growth
  • Tracking NPS is important to determine trends in loyalty

To benchmark performance, each year B2B International runs external research with a range of B2B buyers spanning APAC, Europe, America, and MEA covering different size organizations, industries, and seniorities. The last wave of the research conducted in 2022 included 3,325 respondents and provides useful benchmarks, for example:

  • The average B2B NPS is +35 with variances by region and industry
  • Our benchmark for a best-in-class NPS score is a NPS of +65 and above

In B2B markets, where customer populations are often much smaller in comparison to consumer markets it is crucially important to understand the reasons behind the scores through follow-up qualitative questioning and analyzing the results in combination with satisfaction across the customer journey, for example.


Evaluating Customer Effort: The Customer Effort Score

customer loyalty research - customer effort score

Research consistently shows that a key driver of overall customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is an organization that “makes the customer’s job easier”. The Customer Effort score assesses the extent to which a brand is seen as actively seeking to make the customer experience seamless.

This metric investigates the amount of effort that customers put into their relationship versus the amount of effort they perceive the supplier is putting into their relationship. This can be asked at different touchpoints during the customer journey, or at an overall level.

A seamless relationship is one where a customer has the perception that their supplier is putting high effort into their business relationship, and they are having to put a low amount of effort into the relationship.


Addressing Customers At Risk: Accounts At Risk

The link between customer satisfaction and loyalty can be used to assess revenue at risk. This analysis provides us with three ‘groups of customers’.

customer loyalty research - revenue at risk analysis

  • Customers that sit in the zone of loyalty – customers that are ‘truly’ loyal are those that give scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 for both the likelihood to recommend and overall satisfaction questions.

  • Customers that sit in the zone of indifference – customers that are sitting in the middle, they are not ‘truly’ loyal as they have not given the highest scores for both questions.

  • Customers that sit in the zone of defection – customers that have given a score of 6 or below for the likelihood to recommend and/or overall satisfaction. These are the customers that are at risk of reducing their spend, moving their business to a competitor and spreading negative sentiment about the organization.

If account revenue data is available, this can be attributed to calculate the revenue of the customers that sit in the zone of loyalty and the zone of defection.


Case study: Supporting Arqiva in achieving CX excellence through actionable, account-level insights and recommendations

customer loyalty research - Arqiva case study

Arqiva is a leading telecommunications company, providing critical data, network and communications services.

They had strong Executive level backing for customer satisfaction research to take place annually, however, the most recent program was based on a short online survey and thus, did not provide the detailed insight required.

Arqiva approached B2B International to help refresh the customer experience program for 2021.


Case study: Gathering customer feedback along the customer journey and developing a customer-centric insight program for Brenntag

customer loyalty touchpoint surveys

Brenntag’s overarching aim was to develop an insight program which put the customer at the heart of everything it does, by providing Service Excellence to every customer, every day. As part of the insight program, Brenntag also required a research partner to ensure all customer feedback was collected in an independent and impartial manner.


B2B Customer Experience: A practical guide to delivering exceptional CX

Written by Nick Hague and Paul Hague, B2B Customer Experience is the essential guide to delivering an efficient B2B customer experience (CX). It provides clear advice on how to plan, map, structure, implement and control an effective customer experience.

The book takes key CX principles from the B2C world and remodels them for B2B. Examining leading B2C companies, such as Zappos, Nordstrom and John Lewis, Nick and Paul outline techniques for creating successful B2B customer experiences, how to build on the strengths of a business and how to engage sales teams with the customer experience program.


Watch: The 6 Key Steps to Customer Experience Excellence

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Activation services: Helping you get the most out of your research investment

Online surveys
Online Surveys
Advanced online surveys to high-quality, targeted respondents which offer cost savings, time savings and improved data accuracy.
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Mobile Surveys
Smartphones offer exciting, new possibilities for collecting market research data, particularly in B2B where respondents can be difficult to reach.
Personas / Segment Profiling
Bring your customers to life and gain a deeper understanding of their needs and challenges in order to more effectively market to them.
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Dashboards / Reportals
Advanced reporting and insight in real-time through custom reports, survey dashboards and portals.
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