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Satmetrix Finds Costco, USAA, and Apple Rank Highest for Customer Loyalty

March 31, 2015

Obviously one of the most important metrics for answering the question, “so how are we doing?” when it comes to providing compelling customer experiences is customer loyalty.  In fact, measuring customer loyalty in general and against competitors is critical.  In a world where alternatives are always a click away, and where customer acquisition costs are much higher than retaining existing ones, reducing churn and having permission to upsell is huge. 

San Mateo, California-based  Satmetrix, a leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for managing and improving customer experience, has released its annual Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks today. Actually a series of reports that look at 22 vertical sectors which include financial services, insurance, technology, online entertainment, retail stores, electronics, travel and hospitality, and telecommunications, the benchmarks rank more than 220 brands.  The full reports offer an expanded and enhanced view of customer experience, featuring information about the key factors that drive consumer loyalty (loyalty drivers) specific to each industry sector.

A comprehensive view of brand stewardship

The Satmetrix Net Promoter Benchmarks are based on survey responses from more than 30,000 U.S. consumers nationwide who rated their experience with the primary brands they use. The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, for each brand is based on customers' likelihood to recommend the company's product or service in the sector being rated.

Here is what goes into the NPS. It is calculated as the percentage of customers who are promoters, rating the company 9 or 10 on a 0-10 point scale, minus the percentage who are detractors, rating 6 or lower. Consumers also rated each brand on various aspects of customer experience, including product or service features, customer service and overall value. Satmetrix analyzes this information to identify the key drivers of loyalty and recommendation. 

Source: Satmetrix

"Our 2015 reports provide not only industry rankings according to companies' Net Promoter Scores, but also direct insight into which customer experiences drive loyalty and are most critical to a company's success," said Brendan Rocks, head of data science at Satmetrix. "The Net Promoter leaders in their respective industries have positioned themselves to outpace the competition in the areas of increased customer retention and acquisition -- and ultimately in terms of bottom line growth."

Highlights of this year’s benchmarks include:

  • Leaders in eight of the 22 industry sectors have changed since last year's report. Netflix, which was second a year ago to Pandora, moved to the top spot in the Online Entertainment category.
  • Trader Joe's, which had led the Grocery/Supermarkets sector for four consecutive years until Wegman's rise to the top last year, returned as the category leader.
  • The Telecommunications industry witnessed several shifts in this year's report.
    • Verizon, which was runner-up to DirecTV last year in the Cable/Satellite TV Service sector, is this year's winner.
    • Newcomer Boost Mobile replaced TracFone as the No. 1 loyalty leader for Cellular Phone Service.
    • Verizon took over first place among Internet Service Providers, replacing Brighthouse Networks.
    • JetBlue soared to new heights in the Airlines sector, supplanting last year's winner Southwest Airlines.
    • The Apple iPad/iPad mini finished first for Tablet Computers.
    • Ritz Carlton won for Hotels, overtaking Westin.

 Other highlights from the 2015 NPS Benchmark reports include:

  • Costco had the best overall NPS score at 79.
  • USAA continued its preeminence in three industry sectors (home/contents insurance, auto insurance and banking) winning each category for the sixth straight year.
  • BlackBerry showed the largest overall NPS increase in this year's study. While many analysts had left this company for dead, BlackBerry received high grades from customers based on the improved quality of its viewing screen and appears to be on the rebound in the smartphone sector. 
  • Despite owning the lowest company reputation score in the Software & Apps sector, Uber customers like the service and would likely recommend it to a friend. Regardless of the bad press it has received, Uber still managed to place second in the category benchmark.

As noted earlier, loyalty is more than just retaining a customer. In fact, with the growth of social media as an influencer it also is about obtaining permission to upsell and hopefully turning loyalists into brand advocates.  The challenge is in knowing best practices, who the leaders are in your sector and understanding through self-evaluation where your organization is on the metrics used for loyalty. The goals are self-explanatory.  In short they are to be recognized as a leader in providing customer experiences that increase loyalty and leverage that loyalty into long-lasting and more profitable customer relationships. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino