Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Enthusiasm

The greatest danger you’ll ever face at work is thinking everything is okay if your customers are satisfied.

It’s no secret that the way you’ve done business in the past is no longer effective. The marketplace has changed. What used to ensure customer loyalty no longer works.

If you provided quality products and service, that used to be enough to ensure customer loyalty. Today there are lots of quality providers in every industry. So quality alone is not enough.

If you provided low prices, that used to be a fairly attractive feature. However, we now know that low prices do not develop customer loyalty. In fact they may even work against it. A customer that buys only on price is only loyal for that one job or one purchase.

If you provided good service, that was and is great. However, many of your competitors also give good service. So just “plain” good service is not enough to ensure customer loyalty.

Today, YOU NEED A MIND SHIFT IF YOU’RE GOING TO SURVIVE. You’ve got to get past the thought that everything’s okay if your customers are “satisfied.” That sounds so good, but it’s so wrong.

Perhaps the best book on the subject is The Loyalty Effect by Theodore Reicheld. His research indicates that 60% to 80% of your “satisfied” customers will say they’re “satisfied” just before they defect to the competition.

So obviously it’s not enough to have “satisfied” customers. Reicheld says you must have “totally satisfied” customers. Those are the ones who stick with you.

These loyal customers are more price tolerant. They won’t switch to the competition just because your prices are a little different, if your prices seem fair and appropriate. These loyal customers will give you a bigger share of their business, and they’ll be the ones spreading the good word about your organization.

And the really good news is the profit you’ll make if you turn your “satisfied” customers into “loyal” customers. Reicheld says if you can keep an extra 5% of your existing customers, you will increase your profits by 25% to 125%. That’s serious money!

If you want your customers to be more loyal, shift your focus. Many organizations have the wrong focus. They spend too much of their time and money trying to win over “dissatisfied” and “highly dissatisfied” customers, and they spend too little of their time and money trying to turn their “satisfied” customers into “highly satisfied” customers. It’s a big mistake.

Now I’m not saying you should ignore your dissatisfied customers. Not at all. In fact some of your most loyal customers were dissatisfied customers that you dazzled with your service and recovery strategies. I’m just saying you should devote more attention to your satisfied customers. Your payback will be much greater.

START FOCUSING ON FUTURE SALES. Don’t spend so much time on getting the order or making the sale that you forget about future sales. It’s another big mistake.

In other words, your first sale just says your strategy worked. But it’s your second sale that indicates how well you delivered on your promises to get that first sale. And when you keep on giving value-added service, you get third, fourth and fifth sales that give you a solid, ongoing market share.

Then, GO AFTER YOUR SATISFIED CUSTOMERS. Turn your “satisfied” customers into “highly satisfied” customers. Build personal relationships with your satisfied customers. Afterall, good products and services just get you into the marketplace. It’s your relationships that keep you in the marketplace.

One thing you could do is to ask some simple but personal questions when appropriate. Ask the customer about his plans for the weekend or her summer vacation. Ask the customer how his kid is doing in Little League or what she’s doing for fun when that big project gets completed.

Then listen carefully to the answers your customer gives you. Comment on her answers, and share a bit of yourself as well. If he mentions a relaxing walk to unwind, you might say, “That sounds great. Maybe I should do the same thing.”

One of the best ways to build personal relationships is to FIND OUT WHAT EACH OF YOUR SATISFIED CUSTOMERS WANTS AND GIVE IT TO HIM–IF POSSIBLE. It’s what you might call “personalized” service. It’s unique to each customer.

The day and age of “one size fits all” is long gone. Customers are tired of feeling like a number. They want to feel special, and personalized service does exactly that. In fact it makes them feel so special that they are transformed. They move from being “satisfied” customers to being “highly satisfied” customers.

Gary Heil writes about this in his book One Size Fits One. He mentions the Northstar Resort near Lake Tahoe. The resort gives its “Club Vertical” members an ID bracelet with an embedded computer chip. The computer tracks each skier’s runs, the number of feet skied, his preferred runs, and even his choice of foods, lodging, and a host of other things.

As a result, messages can be relayed to members on message boards at each lift. And annual, individualized ski packages can be offered to each member based on the number of vertical feet skied the year before. The list goes on and on.
Does this personalized service make a difference? Northstar Resort reports that satisfaction rates are up in every category. And in just four years, skier visits are up 300% and profits 400%.

Now go out there and get serious about your “satisfied” customers. Get serious about turning them into “totally satisfied” customers, and you’ll have more business and a better business than ever before.

Action:  Select five of your “satisfied” customers to focus on this week. Do one thing to build your personal relationship with each of them. And do one act of service that is unique or personalized to each of them.