Archive for October, 2012

You Can’t Build a Great Organization Around “Satisfied Customers.”

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Most organizations preach the importance of “satisfying customers” to their employees. In fact, a best-selling book written years ago on the topic of customer service was titled, You Will be Satisfied. While satisfying customers may seem like a worthy goal, you cannot build a great organization around customers who are merely satisfied. When you consider the definition of “satisfy,” it become clear as to why:

Definition of satisfy: to meet a requirement or obligation.

That’s not very inspiring is it? How many businesses that merely meet your requirement or their own obligation to you as a customer do you refer to others? How many of them do you consider as great at what they do; the best in their field? How often do you chomp at the bit to return to said establishments? What is the value of their brand in your eyes? Frankly, a company that merely satisfied you is one that did not impress you. They most likely blended into crowd. Does your own dealership do the same?

Consider these thoughts and fact concerning satisfied customers. Statistics used are from SMG’s What We Learned by Talking to 100 Million Customers.

1. Satisfied customers are not loyal. They are indifference and apathetic.

    They are not impressed or wowed. All you’ve done to create a satisfied customer is what you were expected to do; nothing more.

    2. Satisfied customers see no positive differentiation or added value in your company over another.

      Because of this they are very price sensitive and will beat you up over price.

      3. Satisfied customers quickly defect to a competitor who will exceed their expectations, if only in a small way.

        It doesn’t require major acts of heroism to move a customer from indifference to wowed. Normally, it is the “little things” like: attitude of your people, diligent follow-through during the sales process and after, keeping all of your commitments, solving any problems that do arise immediately and at the front line level, and more.

        4. Satisfied customers often regard some aspect of their experience with your company as unsatisfactory, but only 6% of them tell you about it. However, 31% tell others.

          Just because you don’t hear customer complaints doesn’t imply that your customers are thrilled with you. Most customers that feel let down or underwhelmed with some aspect of their experience with you aren’t annoyed enough to complain; but they are unimpressed enough not to return. Remember: silence doesn’t suggest delight.

          5. Satisfied customers often have a relationship with you strictly because you are the cheapest. This degrades your business to commodity status in their eyes.

            Customer service rule: “No loyalty exists where the relationship between buyer and seller is based on nothing more than price.”

            6. Research by Service Management Group indicates that less than half of satisfied customers say they’re likely to return, and only 30% would recommend that business to another.

              The reasons are simple: they are not impressed or wowed, and why should they be? All you’ve done is meet their requirements.

              7. Service Management Group also found that highly satisfied customers are twice as likely to return as satisfied customers, and three times more likely to recommend your business to others.

                The difference between satisfied and highly satisfied customers is simple: you have impressed and wowed a highly satisfied customer. These people will now become part of your unpaid sales force. They are no longer indifferent; they are loyal.

                8. You can only transform satisfied customers into highly satisfied customers by providing an experience that consistently wows and impresses them. How you achieve that is up to you; that you do it is not an option.

                  It is safe to say that you will not accomplish this task with a “business as usual” approach. You’ll need to set clear customer experiential standards, hire people who have the attitude and character to deliver those standards, and provide the training they need to make it happen.

                  9. The best way to provide an outstanding customer experience is to first create outstanding employee experiences. Your ability to do this will depend greatly upon the strength of your leadership, character, training, and commitment to hire carefully so that you can protect your culture from infection.

                    Surveys show that only 43% of satisfied employees recommend your business to others, whereas 86% of highly satisfied employees recommend your business to others.

                    10. To create highly satisfied customers you must move variation from the customer experience. You must consistently deliver “wow” experiences, not only once-on-a-while.

                    An essential step to remove variation from the customer experience is to improve the quality of your people. The wider the gap between top and bottom performer, the weaker your culture and the more variation will exist with how customers experience your service.

                    Leadership Responsibility: This would be an excellent time to examine, determine, and remedy the processes and people within your dealership’s operation that succeed in merely satisfying a customer’s expectations, and who threaten to place your dealership on the endangered species list.