Customer Satisfaction Boiled Down To A Science

Do you like data?

I for one, love data. And working with the MECLABS Institute I get to spend a lot of time working through data and thinking about what makes customers buy.

We’ve really dug into figuring out what specifically about a product’s marketing brings someone to the point where they’re ready to purchase. Not only that, but how to better convert those prospects into customers.

With all the data we’ve gathered over the years we ended up creating a heuristic for determining conversion probability that we call the “Five Levels of Marketing”.

Each level is important and has an effect on the way your overall marketing strategies shape customer behavior.

I don’t have time to go into every level here, but I will let you in on the part of our heuristic that goes a long way to determining overall customer satisfaction.

Customer Experience Marketing 101

Now this is the second level of marketing in our formula. We call it customer experience marketing because it’s all about examining your sales process from the perspective of the customer.

When we’re working on this level we’re looking out for two factors that work to negatively influence your conversion probability.

That’s friction and anxiety.

Frictions are all the physical elements that prevent customers from moving towards purchasing and anxieties are all the psychological elements.

Here’s a few examples to explain it in more depth.


If your business is using an online lead form to onboard customers every step in that process is a potential friction. Anything that’s between the customer completing their purchase and using your product counts as a friction here.

Do they have to enter their industry and their company name? Do they need to create an account with a password to access your product?

I would ask you, “do you actually need that level of data from them right now?” The sales team might say, “yes, of course we do!”  
But does that really serve the customer or are you collecting this data for your own internal reasons. &nbsp
It’s not realistic to have a completely frictionless process but a lot of companies we see have these over-bloated online forms that are absolutely hurting their conversions.

You have to go into your process and see what’s essential and cut out what’s not.  


By this same token, some customers may not feel comfortable giving out that much personal data when they don’t know your company well. It takes time to build a relationship of trust where you can ask for these things and they just might not be at that point on your first interaction.

If you know what anxieties are likely to come up in your process you can create ways to circumvent them from popping up or possibly get rid of them all together.

Zappos does a great job of mitigating the anxiety of buying shoes online by providing free two-way shipping. That’s the biggest risk they’re asking the customer to take. Even though you have no idea what the actual fit and feel will be like, Zappos cuts down the potential anxiety of ordering the wrong size by ensuring that you can send any products back for free.

Ultimately it’s about making the experience as seamless and positive for the customer as possible.

The core of customer experience marketing is always asking the question, “are you putting the customer’s wants and needs ahead of your own?”  

Action Steps

  1. Look at your customer onboarding forms and scrutinize the data you’re soliciting.
  2. Eliminate any data that’s not crucial to your process.
  3. Publish and compare the results.


Result You Will Achieve

A frictionless and positive onboarding experience for your customers.

Mentor: Daniel Burstein

Senior Director of Editorial Content at MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, with patented methodology based on almost 20 years of customer behavior research.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.