If Customer Satisfaction Is Your Goal, Don’t Ask Me to Help You!
Last month I got a call from a client wanting me to deliver a keynote address on customer satisfaction. I politely explained, “I don’t speak on customer satisfaction.” My client was shocked, as for the past 12 months I’ve been rolling out a strategic plan in her company designed to increase the bottom line by increasing customer retention and by building a customer recovery strategy. I went on to explain 4 reasons why I, as a fierce customer loyalty advocate, don’t speak on customer satisfaction.
1. Customer satisfaction means NOTHING these days. The truth is, today’s customers expect mediocre service. Apathy is expected. Late is expected. Problems are expected. No follow-through is expected. As long as companies don’t g o below these very low expectations, customers are satisfied.
2. Customer satisfaction = “Sufficient or Adequate Service.” When a company achieves “customer satisfaction” what it’s really achieved is
getting customers to feel that the service is adequate or sufficient—that it wasn’t horrible. The customer’s expectations, typically very low expectations, were met. That’s all customer satisfaction means.
3. Customers report being “satisfied” only because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing any better.
4. Satisfied customers are not your customers. They’re just with you until they find something better.
I concluded that I do speak on and help my clients build customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction is a feeling…a feeling that low expectations have been met. Customer loyalty, on the other hand, is a set of behaviors that produce revenue.
- Loyal customers by definition don’t defect.
- Loyal customers reward the company by buying from you again and again.
- Loyal customers buy other products or services in your line.
- Loyal customers tell people in their network about your company (referrals). – That is, they actually market for you and word-of-mouth advertising is the most persuasive form of advertising.
I urge you to stop striving for high customer satisfaction and focus on delivering truly outstanding service and building a profitable base of loyal customers. Satisfied customers will give you a “good” ranking on a survey today and leave you for the competition tomorrow. Loyal customers return again and again, recommend your company often and significantly add to your bottom line!