Who wouldn’t want a satisfied customer? And who wouldn’t want them to be even happier, a delighted customer? These are well established concepts of customer experience (CX) and extremely important to get just right, if you want repeat business. And once a customer is hooked, they’ll do some of your marketing for free–and bring friends with them. In this post:
- Customer Satisfaction
- Customer Delight
In our previous post in this The Happy Customer series on beginner-level marketing viewed through the lens of customer experience, we talked about the meanings of customer acquisition and retention as well as switching (moving to the competitor). We also touched a bit on a popular branch of marketing, customer relations or customer relationship management (CRM).
It helps to view these as a progressive line of events. First you acquire a new customer, then you focus on retention and nurturing the relationship. Once they are convinced you provide good value for their money by investing in tactics such as great customer service and beneficial customer loyalty programmes (next post in this series!), they move on to being satisfied. And when you have nailed your value proposition in every possible way, they progress to delight.
A satisfied customer is just that: pleased to do business, happy to use the product or service, eager to return again. And then there’s a but, because we haven’t reached delight yet.
Customer satisfaction can happen in some parts of the process of interacting with your firm, but not everywhere. The customer may overlook some real nuisance in other words, or feel there’s room for improvement in one or many areas. The satisfied customer is happy enough, however, to come back and at times it’s when a comparison to the competitor’s similar product makes them fall short.
For this reason and others, firms keep sending surveys all the time. There are several ways to start investigating what could be improved and we’ll get back to those in a later post, but for now let’s focus on this from the customer’s perspective.
- Many of us detest surveys, with passion. First of all you should recall this fact when planning to implement questionnaires and such in your business.
- Second, there’s an art to getting the timing right. Send it too soon via email and they may not even have received a product yet (this is our experience numerous times, believe it or not!). Send it too late and this becomes its own form of annoying the customer.
- Third, privacy issues. In the past year, because of numerous doctor’s and physiotherapy visits after my accident last year, I’ve received more automated text messages than I care to remember. Now I do trust our healthcare system, so I like to hit reply from time to time, but were it from a business? No thanks. There’s never any note regarding how my data is stored, which is a bit weird considering GDPR.
So instead of simply sending out an email or text message, whether it’s well-timed or not, how about pondering incentives too? This of course skews results nicely, but isn’t repeat business the ultimate goal after all?
Whether you attempt to measure quantitatively customer satisfaction or not, there are other ways to nurture the relationship and especially in small, locally operating firms you may know well already who likes to do business with you.
A key point of customer satisfaction is that it’s a completely subjective assessment of your firm and it’s offerings. Customers usually have high expectations and whether you manage to make them happy or not, depends on how the outcome of doing business with you compares to those expectations. In some cases you could never win, so it’s better to let the competition take care of their needs.
So what makes a customer move from satisfaction to delight? The short answer is brand evangelist. This customer is super happy about giving you their money and thinks all expectations are met well. They start recommending your firm to family and friends, talk about it online and give excellent reviews where possible. If you have an affiliate-marketing programme, they are among the first to sign up.
Studies show that really pleased customers contribute to high customer loyalty of a firm. These days many shop around, so generally speaking loyalty is decreasing, but the more customer delight you can create, the more loyal customers you have. And as we’ve written before, it’s said that acquiring new customers costs 5-25 times more compared to selling to existing customers.
In today’s fast-paced world we crave human connection, feeling noticed and understood, increasingly often. People report to experiencing depression at alarming rates around the world, regardless of socio-economic background, so if you can add a social element in a genuine way to your customer experience, you might even make new friends.
Part of sustainable marketing is to place the business inside of the society rather than in its own bubble, separate from the world, and it’s a well known fact that people often buy things with emotion. The more you can nurture a real, human connection, the more it will benefit your business and livelihood.
It’s particularly attractive for new business owners to flirt with the idea of lowering prices of your offerings or perhaps broaden a service package, thereby causing something close to burnout when they find themselves stretched too thin. There are other ways to make customers happy than have them eat into your profitability! We rarely use the words “do not” around here, but in this case they are fitting: don’t take active steps to decrease profitability. Instead, try your best to find work-arounds. Ask business buddies anonymously if you must, but reach out for feedback and help. Research is the first step of strategy after all!
What do things look like in your firm? Have you figured out ways to keep them coming back? Please comment with tips or questions on where to start if you’re new to customer exprience and these concepts!
This blog post is the second in our beginner-level series The Happy Customer on customer experience.
Photo credit: Alexis Chloe.