Most companies know that satisfaction does not necessarily imply loyalty, which GfK recently confirmed in a global study that showed the correlation between a company's level of customer satisfaction and loyalty was only around 40%. As a result, GfK has unveiled a new approach that addresses the widely-acknowledged gap between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The company has identified a customer experience indicator that bridges this gap, which its has termed the "Emotional Imprint".

The new model shows that strong emotional imprints lead to significantly lower rates of customer churn and more positive word-of-mouth.

By integrating the "emotional imprint" of the customer experience with customer advocacy, and other critical KPIs, such as Relationship Durability and Switching, GfK is already predicting company-level loyalty scores at a rate of 80% (approximately double the rate of using customer satisfaction alone).

David Robbins, global lead for GfK Customer Harmonics, explained: "This model shows that the more memorable and vivid an experience, the stronger the emotional imprint it creates - and the higher that person's advocacy and resistance to switching to competitors. By identifying those aspects of the experience that leave an emotional imprint, we can provide sharper, customer-centric insights on which attributes to promote, to drive loyalty and enhance customer life time value."

Helen Zeitoun, Global Head of Brand and Customer Experience at GfK, added, "Through the integration of GfK Customer Harmonics with our customer experience management technology, GfK Echo, we can better enable companies to increase their operational and tactical success in managing the customer experience at the point of service in real-time."