Beyond Being Satisfied
In the ebook 1001 Ways to Wow Your Customers, I and other like-minded individuals are advocating from a very strong point of view of customer service – clearly, that the outcome you must create for your customers is a very positive and very memorable experience. It’s the “Wow!” factor. It’s “wowing” your customers! And the “wow” is always positive and memorable, and to be positive and memorable it must be a positive, memorable and emotional experience. That’s a lot of wows, positives and memorables – but it’s the only outcome that makes a difference in terms of your business results.
Satisfying customers is not enough – it never has been. In some organizations that have made great strides in measuring customer satisfaction there is a growing dilemma: Survey says our satisfaction index is improving; but our rate of churn or defection is increasing as well. How can this be? Why do customers who appear to be satisfied, or tell us they’re satisfied, defect to the competition?
There is a growing body of research on customer decision making and loyalty that supports our very strong point of view.
In Human Sigma published by Gallop Press, John Fleming and Jim Asplund present the results of several fascinating studies that illuminate customer behaviour. They have analyzed customer satisfaction ratings and found that those customers who are extremely satisfied can be classified into two distinct groups – rationally satisfied and emotionally satisfied. They report that the rationally satisfied customers, although extremely satisfied, lack a strong emotional attachment to the company. And just as we might all predict,emotionally satisfied customers outperform rationally satisfied customers on all dimensions – average spend, frequency, loyalty, rate of defection, etc. One of the most fascinating findings however, is that, (and please read this slowly), rationally satisfied customers behave no differently than dissatisfied customers! Wow! Interesting findings.
In a study of “advocating” the authors report similar results. Rational advocates, who report that they are extremely likely to recommend a company to others, ultimately behave very similar to non-advocates. And of course, passionate (emotional) advocates deliver far superior performance on all dimensions. Wow! Human Sigma is an excellent book if you need more data to develop a strong point of view about exceptional service.
So, the only outcome you should strive to create for your customers is the ‘WOW”, the positive and memorable experience – the emotional experience. Nothing else really matters!
Your “Wowed” customers are your most profitable customers. They spend more, buy more often, buy more of what you offer, and are your best marketing ROI in referrals and advocacy. It’s seems like more common sense ‘cause don’t we already know that?
Please test this out against your personal experience of being a customer. What brands do you love? What products do you buy repeatedly, and over many years? Which service providers do you recommend to others? What dealership do you trust? What brands, products and services do you feel are perfect for you? What brands, products or services do you experience and feel you can’t live without?
How about slightly more aggressive common sense: Your “Wowed” customers are the manifestation of everything you do in your enterprise and are the true measure of your success. They have a disproportionate positive impact on your revenues and returns. Your “Wowed” customers are the reflection of your effectiveness and investment in branding. “Wow” more customers and your sales and profits will increase!
I seem to be repeating myself but the only outcome you should strive to create for your customers is the ‘WOW”, the positive and memorable experience – the emotional experience. Nothing else really matters! (And everything depends on it!)
So How Do We Measure It?
If your “Wowed” customers are your most profitable customers, then finding a reliable way of measuring the “Wowed” would be extremely useful in predicting future customer behaviour and your future success. How do we get there?
Very often in many organizations, surveys of customer satisfaction simply focus on very superficial aspects of the customer experience. Results are tabulated and we look for incremental performance improvement – let’s go from 3.2 to 3.8 on a typical scale of 1 to 5. Also very often in many organizations top management wants to go deep – and invests major dollars to develop a more comprehensive analysis – and then invests more to decipher the charts, segments, attitudes and loyalty factors, with great debate about what any of it really means, in terms of actionable performance and business results.
There is no one “silver bullet” question however, we can simplify the effort dramatically, by measuring what really matters. Let’s continue to simplify.
In Human Sigma the authors have condensed their “customer engagement” survey to 11 questions. It’s available in the appendix of their book. They have a set of three “attitudinal loyalty” questions and eight emotional attachment items using a five point scale. It will provide a very useful set of measures for the strength of the relationship that you have with your customers.
If we focus on “WOW” I think we can get the list down to six simple questions, and present them in a slightly more extreme format. “WOW” is extreme – with words like “delight”, “love”, ‘trust”, “pride”, and “can’t live without.”
Here are the six simple questions to measure “WOW” – and your ultimate success.
- I was delighted with my experience of your brand, (product or service.)
- I will always continue to purchase your brand, (product or service.) I love it!
- I will always recommend your brand, (product or service) to my friends, associates and others.
- I can always trust your brand, (product or service.)
- I feel proud to be your brand, (product, service) customer, (user, owner.)
- Your brand, (product, service) is perfect for people like me, and I can’t imagine a world without it.
Imagine having the “Wow factor” index on your dashboard, and then imagine the clarity and focus it can create throughout your enterprise. I think it also gives you a bit of a script to talk to your customers. Better yet, let your front most customer facing people take this on. Are these the most important questions? Do these questions describe in actionable words the outcome you want to achieve? Get clear on the outcome, and then unleash the creativity of your people.