Press Release

"Delighted" Customers Aren't Always Loyal Customers

There's a New Way to Measure the Customer Experience in Service Interactions

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 16, 2008--Exceeding customer expectations has long been the measure of success in customer service interactions--89% of customer service executives believe that "delighting the customer" will lead to increased loyalty. New research by the Corporate Executive Board's Customer Contact Council, however, reveals the alarming truth: exceeding customer expectations results in virtually no loyalty gains. In fact, service and support centers have little stake in building customer loyalty at all.

"The probability that a service interaction will drive disloyalty is approximately four times greater than the chance it will create any positive loyalty impression. In other words, as a function, customer service typically plays on the 'negative side' of the loyalty field," said Matthew Dixon, Ph.D., Managing Director of the Customer Contact Council. "Most service executives are using traditional customer satisfaction (CSAT) or the more recently popularized Net Promoter(C) Score (NPS) to gauge loyalty in service interactions, but we found these metrics fail to capture the most powerful driver of disloyalty--the amount of personal effort a customer has to put into the service experience." In light of this new understanding, the Customer Contact Council has developed an original metric that is far more predictive of loyalty than either CSAT or NPS. This new metric, the Customer Effort Score(TM) (CES(TM)), is based on a single question that determines the degree of required customer effort during a service request.

The Council's unprecedented research into the impact of customer service on loyalty is the result of more than 61,000 interactions with customer service and support organizations. "A finding this powerful--that customer effort is intricately linked to loyalty--really forced us to think critically about where and why customer effort exists and what customer service organizations can do to reduce or eliminate it," said Dixon. "Our membership pushed us to capture customer service's impact on loyalty in a simple metric. The CES(TM) comprises a new-to-world question that all contact centers should add to their post-service surveys and provides a metric that every service executive should add to his or her dashboard. We think it will become the new standard for measuring the service organization's impact on customer loyalty."

The Customer Contact Council consists of experts providing best practice solutions and extensive quantitative analyses to help optimize process implementation and save organizations millions of dollars. To learn more about the Customer Contact Council's work on loyalty, including the definition and methodology for CES(TM), contact the Corporate Executive Board.

About Corporate Executive Board

The Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD) drives faster, more effective decision-making among the world's leading executives and business professionals. As the premier, network-based knowledge resource, it provides them with the authoritative and timely guidance needed to excel in their roles, take decisive action and improve company performance. Powered by a member network that spans over 50 countries and represents more than 80% of the world's Fortune 500 companies, the Corporate Executive Board offers the unique research insights along with an integrated suite of members-only tools and resources that enable the world's most successful organizations to deliver superior business outcomes. Based in Washington, DC, the company employs more than 2,500 professionals in offices around the world. For more information, visit

    CONTACT: The Corporate Executive Board
             Joni Renick, 571-303-4074

    Source: The Corporate Executive Board