Measuring Donor Loyalty
- Tangibles: the appearance of facilities, staff, premises and communication materials
- Reliability: the company’s ability to perform the desired service dependably and accurately
- Responsiveness: the company’s willingness to help customers and provide prompt service
- Assurance: the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence
- Empathy: the degree to which the company offered individualized and caring attention
While a plausible approach, it is now generally accepted that SERVQUAL failed to provide the results the authors had originally envisaged. The dimensions were very general, making it difficult to highlight specific areas where actions might be taken to improve the quality of service. The scores on each dimension reflected the aggregate approach of the organization as a whole rather than one department or individual, and it proved impossible to make concrete recommendations for change. It also proved ill-suited to the arena of direct response, where customers rarely had the level of direct contact necessary to answer the full suite of questions posed by the authors.
Despite its weaknesses, the SERVQUAL approach gained much traction because of a mounting body of evidence of a link between customer satisfaction, loyalty and, ultimately, profitability. As researchers began to understand more of the dynamic, we learned that although this was the case, the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty was nonlinear and that behavior tended to be impacted by extremes of experience. Customers who were “very satisfied or delighted” were substantively more loyal, while customers who were dissatisfied were very unlikely to repurchase and substantively more likely to engage in negative behaviors such as bad-mouthing the organization to others.
More recently, the Net Promoter Score developed by Frederick Reichheld has targeted specifically the notion of the “buzz” generated by an organization and in particular the willingness on the part of consumers to engage in positive and negative word-of-mouth. In his approach, customers are asked, “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?” Then they provide a rating from 0 (“Not at all likely”) to 10 (“Extremely likely”).