Customer Satisfaction or Customer Loyalty

What’s the difference? First let’s take a look take a look at the definition of each:

Satisfaction: fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.

In a sales environment, this means:

  1. The customer may tell someone about you
  2. If someone asks, they may refer someone to you
  3. If it is convenient, the customer may return to buy from you

Loyalty: a strong feeling of support or allegiance.

In a sales environment, this means:

  1. The customer WILL tell others about you
  2. The customer WILL proactively refer others to you
  3. The customer WILL always return to buy from you

As you can see, it is pretty simple, on the scale of customer service importance, “Customer Satisfaction” is at the bottom, and “Customer Loyalty” is at the TOP.

Now let’s look at what we as an industry spend all of our time measuring, Customer Satisfaction. As an industry, automobile dealerships and manufactures spend all of their resources measuring Customer Satisfaction, when we should be focusing on Customer Loyalty. If Customer Loyalty is so important, so why is it that we are making such an effort to improve Customer Satisfaction? That’s easy, Customer Satisfaction is in the here and now, it is the easiest to control. However, Customer Loyalty is the long play, and takes a more commitment to create the ATTITUDE and Culture to create. 

“You don’t EARN a customer’s loyalty with a sale, you EARN it with service day in and day out!”

So, then what is the best way to start building Customer Loyalty?

The fact is, Customer Satisfaction is at an all-time high, however Customer Loyalty is at an all-time low and you need to start creating Customer Loyalty immediately if you want to succeed in this business. This is actually a lot easier than you might think, it starts with a simple three letter word, WOW!

When you deliver an experience that WOWs a customer, you instantly become memorable. Remember that 82% of your customers DO NOT remember your name after 12 months of the sale, and I would argue that the percentage is actually higher and the length of time it takes for the customer to forget you is actually shorter. This is because as salespeople we give the customer exactly what they want and expect. Sounds good right? NO, it doesn’t because that is enough to satisfy the customer but not enough to make them loyal. Not enough to get them to tell others your story, refer them to buy from you, and more importantly buy from you again.

What is a WOW experience?

You MUST go above and beyond what the customer wants and expects. You MUST surprise them (in a good way) with a level of service that, frankly, other salespeople are not willing to do. One of my favorite examples of WOW is the salesperson that picks up and delivers their customer’s vehicle when it needs to be serviced. Think about it, how many salespeople do you know that will go through that, probably none. Now, how many customers would remember you if you did that, ALL of them. And once you have picked up their vehicle and delivered it, how many of their friends and family are they going to tell about the experience, ALL of them! Who is the only person they are ever going to buy a car from, YOU! Sounds like a LOYAL customer doesn’t it?

Anything WOW builds Loyalty!

To be WOW you must be:

  • Professional
  • Enthusiastic
  • Positive
  • Focused
  • Committed

You goal with EVERY customer is to create a story of WOW that your customer will shout from the rooftops! Or more accurately post about and tell all of their friends about online. The next time a customer needs to know where something is, get up and show them, don’t just point it out. Walk them there and WOW them!

Satisfied Customers
Loyal Customers
Buy from anyone ONLY buy from you
Switch brands or products easily FIGHT before they switch brands or products
Not tell others about their experience with you RAVE about you to others
Not refer others to buy from you REFER their friends and family members to buy from you
Not purchase from you again, unless it is convenient, and they happen to run into you REPEAT their purchases from you time and time again
Be difficult, grind you on price & take up large amounts of your time PAY you higher profits, create quick transaction, and make for easy sales

Which would you rather have?

Joe Caruso

Joe Caruso

Joe may not have been born to sell cars, however when other kids were talking about being a firefighter or an astronaut, all he talked about was being a car salesperson. His commitment was so strong that he managed to sell his first car when he was nine years old. Fast forward to the age of seventeen and his full time career as an automotive sales professional began. Over the next 30 years he went on to hold every position in a sales department, including spending the last twelve as a General Manager, building some of the most successful teams in the area. In 2017, he left the retail side of the industry and founded DO IT TODAY Learning Network in an effort to share his knowledge with the entire automotive sales world.


  1. Great article. Offering to take a clients vehicle in for service has worked well for me especially as a close to build value at the end. Clients really do get wowed by that level of commitment and often that is enough to get the yes.

    1. Thanks Dan! I am glad you are doing these things. Keep on finding new ways to WOW your customers and exceed their expectations. Then you will build your Loyalty and no longer need a fresh up! 


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