Part 3: How Satisfied Are Today's Loyal Pool Retail Customers?

Our research confirms that loyal pool retail customers who make three or more purchases per year (we call them Loyalists) account for more than 80 percent of sales for the average pool retailer. With so much at stake, measurement of customer satisfaction is essential. Yet we found very few swimming pool retailers even casually ask their Loyalists what they think about the value they deliver, let alone understand what creates it.  

Still, many retailers believe they sufficiently understand their customers and that all is well. But how can someone have all the answers before they ask the questions? Relying on intuition for something this important makes very little sense. (It’s like trying to drive a car while only looking in the rear view mirror.)  At Xmente Swimming Pool Retail Academy, we’re curious, but we’re not clairvoyant. So we went straight to Loyalists to get factual, unbiased answers to share with retailers and other interested parties.

Satisfaction and Loyalty Loyalist Satisfaction

The greater a consumer’s satisfaction with the overall value delivered by a pool retailer, the stronger his or her loyalty. Since keeping Loyalists is so critical, it is important for loyal customers to be “extremely satisfied” with the value they receive from their pool retailers. Interpreting “somewhat satisfied” as an acceptable norm for Loyalist customers could be hazardous to a retailer’s health because the less satisfied Loyalists are, the greater the risk of defection. 

Loyalists have a significant gap in satisfaction with the overall value received from their specialty retailer. 

Overall value was defined for respondents as a combination of products, knowledge, service, attitude, results and prices. Based on this definition, only 49 percent of Loyalists are extremely satisfied with the overall value received from their pool products store. Accordingly, there is higher risk of defection with slightly more than half the loyal customer base of the average pool retailer. 

Satisfaction with retailer value has not improved over the last two years.

Having measured Loyalists’ level of satisfaction and determined that performance gaps exist, we explored whether their satisfaction has improved over the last two years. In other words, are there positive trends that suggest retailers are making progress? More than 85 percent of Loyalists told us no, they were NOT more satisfied with the overall value from their pool retailer than they were two years ago! If this trend continues, and fewer and fewer Loyalists remain extremely satisfied, the risk of defection continues to grow over time.

These insights point to an important consideration for retailers. Will they accept this evidence and look to improve their business? Or will they believe they are the exception and ignore the data? That decision may mean the difference between long-term success and failure. We believe those who take these results seriously will have greater likelihood of prosperity in the future. 

Your turn

Whether you are a retailer or not, how do you measure customer satisfaction?  What percentage of your loyal customers is extremely satisfied? Where is there risk of defection? How do you plan to improve?

Read the previous part of this series: What is the Value of Loyal Retail Customers?
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