Seventy percent of a customer’s loyalty today is based on how that customer is treated. A major study by McKinsey and Company found the better customers are treated, the more apt they will be to return and ardently promote your product or service to others.
Here is the challenge. Most companies know that! Yet, they fall victim to a belief their bottom line will be sustained by consistently providing customers with merely a satisfactory service experience. The rationale goes something like this: “If we can simply meet our customers’ requirements and expectations on a regular basis, they will stay with us for life.” Sadly, while this approach may serve to keep you financially afloat, it will never provide the sustainable growth necessary to differentiate you from your competition.
Today’s customers consider okay, satisfactory, pretty good, nothing special service to be mediocre. Yesterday’s customer grade of B might not get you a C today! Why? Here are a few reasons.
When a customer does business with an organization at any point along their service journey, their cumulative encounters will result in one of three evaluations: the organization exceeded their expectations, simply met their expectations, or failed to meet their expectations. These expectations are formed over time based upon prior interactions with the company, service provided by competitors, and word of mouth from friends, family and social media.
But, perhaps the biggest factor shaping their expectations are the superior service experiences they have received from others, regardless of industry. When your customer goes to Disney World, shops at Nordstrom, or buys online from Zappos, their experiences become fodder for comparisons to you. Is your website as easy as Amazon? Is your phone answered as quickly as FedEx? Is your product as cool as a Harley? All those experiences elevate the standards for every enterprise on the planet—whether fair or not!
The Merely satisfied customers receive exactly what was expected… nothing more, nothing less. At service exemplar companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Chick-fil-A, USAA and Harley Davidson, delivering a service experience that does not exceed customer expectations is regarded as a failure. Even an Uber driver whose customer ratings fall below a 4.5 on a 5-point scale, loses his or her license to represent the Uber brand.
But wait! Isn’t our ultimate objective to always satisfy our customers and successfully meet their expectations? Not if your company is truly committed to driving business outcomes like higher customer return/retention rates, deeper relationships, larger share of wallet, and increased referrals. And, certainly not if you want to build a devoted customer base that will become avid extensions of your sales and marketing tactics.
Mere satisfaction is just not enough in today’s increasingly high-tech, high-touch world. Customers simply have too many choices to take their business elsewhere. Customer loyalty, on the other hand, is the perfect antidote to fickle consumers who will bail on you at the first minor hiccup. Focus on adding strategies that foster customer loyalty and consistently exceed their expectations. Mere satisfaction or loyalty… what will you focus on today?
Customer experience expert Jamey Lutz recently joined the FPG team after having served five years in a senior leadership capacity with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. In his current role as Human Performance Strategist, Jamey oversees client-based training and facilitation activities for FPG’s Service Unleashed© Program. Jamey’s specialties include customer data analytics, service improvement initiatives and reward and recognition systems.
Forrest Performance Group (FPG) is a global leader and designer of sales training programs, management training programs, and corporate training programs. FPG leads change within companies by improving the skills and utilizing the existing talents of the company’s sales professionals, leadership, and executives.
This training and development is dedicated to transforming companies into sales organizations and focuses on perfecting the science and art of sales. FPG redefines the concept of training, changes culture, and transforms lives, one company at a time. FPG is the X-Factor – the hidden variable – to companies’ growth and success.
The company believes that true, permanent change begins at the top, transforms from the inside out, and requires long-term coaching and accountability, rather than short-term training. This belief system has led to accolades for FPG, the most notable of which was their placement on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. In addition, FPG was winner of the global Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service for two consecutive years: The Silver award in 2014 and the Gold in 2015 for sales training and coaching program of the year.