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Why satisfaction is not enough

Going the extra mile

How much is enough? Depends on what we are talking about. If it’s personal well being, the right answer is probably whatever you’ve got now. Acceptance is a great platform for personal growth.

If we are talking about customer satisfaction, the answer is a little bit more.

It’s not that satisfied customers are bad for business. It’s just that if you want to keep them and grow them, you need to do better than that.

Firms often survey the satisfaction of their customers. Nothing wrong with that. You need to know you are delivering what customers want. The process can also show where you might do better.

But at best, satisfaction is a benchmark for survival, for maintaining the existing order.

Want to break out of the pack?

You really have to go one better. Instead of making a sale, you need to build customers, often one at a time. At each point of contact with them, what can you do to make it a positive experience?

Take the way mobile devices disrupt retail. Convenience is a major driver in the shopping experience. The driver in mobile commerce is to make it more and more convenient. You can now find a product, compare it, choose it, pay for it and arrange for delivery with a few taps. It gets easier with each new app.

Although retail sales are barely up in most economies, e-sales are rising around 30% per year, and m-sales by as much as 70%. Can you do that with your product or service?

Doing more is not confined to the technology playground. Authentic interactions with customers are often more powerful. They show that you’ll go the extra mile. If you promise to do something, always follow through. Listen to their needs and respond. Maintain a two-way dialogue, not just a one-way communication.

If it’s B2B, examine the customer’s business. Can you help them keep and grow their customers?  They are all looking for an answer. Can you offer the best solution? It’s the quality of your execution that differentiates you from the rest.

What’s the payoff?

The result of “more than enough” is customer loyalty. That’s a concept you can monetise. Loyal customers stay with you. It’s cheaper to keep them than to acquire new ones.

It helps both margins and volume. Price is not the only consideration for people who are more than satisfied. They can accept higher prices or less discounting in return for above average service. Research shows they are also likely to buy more from you, have fewer disputes with you and pay you on time more often. So even cash flow gets a lift.

A ‘more than enough’ policy does more than just keep your customers. It helps you grow them. The real upside comes from your reputation. Loyal customers tell others why they should deal with you. Their positive experience leads to recommendations and referrals.

That’s the most effective and least expensive way to grow business. In the words of Walt Disney, himself a brilliant businessman, “Do it so well they’ll want to bring their friends.”

 Article courtesy of Alan Hargreaves “60 second recharge”. © 2013 Alan Hargreaves