Anyone who has spent any time in or around the area of sales has heard the expression “It’s much easier to keep a customer than it is to land a new one”. It is also much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to find a new one. That said we all know that at times we are going to lose a customer. The question is, how do we minimize the number of customers that “go somewhere else”? The answer lies in knowing how satisfied your customers are. Satisfied customers are loyal customers. They help to lay the foundation for a robust source of referrals, and they allow us to increase profits by raising prices. How do we get to that point with our current and future customers?
While sales revenue is the engine that drives your business, customer satisfaction is the fuel. Think of customer satisfaction as octane. The higher the level of customer satisfaction the better that engine is going to run. To this end customer satisfaction revolves around 1 key principle and that is EXPECTATIONS. The absolute worst enemy of any relationship is unmet expectations. Have you ever come home to be greeted by an angry spouse and have no idea why? Have you ever been caught off guard by a disgruntled employee, or experienced the wrath of an angry customer? These things happen all the time and most of the time they revolve around an expectation that was not met. At best unmet expectations, can cause friction, at worst they can mean the end to the relationship, which can mean the end of your customer. At its core, there are 4 levels of customer satisfaction. The higher the level of your customer’s satisfaction the higher the degree of loyalty to you as the supplier.
- MEET CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS. This is the minimum you need to do to at least stay in business. At this level, your customers are satisfied and have no complaints. They will buy from you but are not loyal to you. If a competitor can demonstrate any small advantage they will become ex-customers very quickly. This is a very dangerous way to do business. Your client acquisition costs will be very high because we live in a very competitive world. Every day competitors are trying to offer advantages to your customers.
- EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS. This is the next level of customer satisfaction. Surprise your customer, go beyond what they expect. Fast efficient friendly service followed by a phone call to assure everything is alright would be an example of this. This level of customer service moves you beyond pure survival. This level starts to build a degree of customer loyalty and gives you an edge over your competitors. At some level this can help contribute to additional profits. Customers who have their expectations exceeded are generally willing to pay more for a product or service.
- DELIGHT YOPUR CUSTOMERS. Have you ever had an experience when buying a product or service brought a smile to your face? A customer served at this level is truly delighted. In this instance not only have your basic needs been met, but you have truly been touched on an emotional level. Once you have touched a customer in this way it becomes very difficult for your competitor to pry them away. Successful business owners know this is the sweet spot where they want all their customers to reside. This is where you start building a very profitable business. There are many ways to do this that do not cost a lot of money.
- AMAZE YOUR CUSTOMERS. At this level your business will be untouchable by your competitors. At this level, your customers are not only satisfied, and delighted they are truly amazed at your level of service. A very popular men’s clothing store became popular by amazing their clients. Imagine the out of town guest arriving Friday evening for a noon wedding on Saturday. The airlines lost his luggage which included his suit. The out of town guest shows up at the clothing store 1/2 hour before closing time on Friday night needing an entire wardrobe, including a suit that needs alterations. No problem says the store manager. They pick out a suit, shirt, tie and shoes and the store manager says to stop back in Saturday morning at 9:30am and the suit is ready. This customer is truly amazed, and becomes a lifelong customer of that men’s store.
Think of your business. How can you truly amaze your customers? When you get to the point of amazing, you will dominate your competitors, your referrals will multiply at an unparalleled rate, your ability to raise prices will increase and your business will become unstoppable, and you will know your customers are not going to leave you.
About the Author
With more than three decades of experience in all facets of sales management, customer service, business growth, and staff coordination, Certified Business Coach Greg Emslie is a focused professional with the tools to help you grow and manage your business effectively.
Driven by his ability to implement proven business concepts and help improve teams, Greg affects all areas of the companies he works with, including sales, leadership, profitability, and decision-making. He focuses on improving efficiency and processes for his clients while helping them grow their revenue base.
Ready to begin finding other ways to make your company more productive? Let’s get the conversation started. Contact Greg Emslie for a business strategy discussion today!