Customer satisfaction is dead.
Oh, there are a bunch of huge companies that haven’t figured it out yet. And there are a bunch of hotels and airlines that haven’t figured it out yet. And some will probably never figure it out.
There are even organizations that give out “Customer Satisfaction” awards. JD Power is among the most notable. And guess what, the companies that win the “satisfaction awards”, especially the WORST SERVICE PROVIDERS IN THE UNIVERSE, like airlines and automobile manufacturers, brag to everyone.
They take out full-page ads. And they put up banners in public places as though it will change the mind of the public that already knows the score.
Another word for satisfaction is: mediocre. How would you like to win an award for mediocrity? We are the highest rated mediocre company in the universe.
What a joke and really not a funny one.
Anyone that posts a “satisfaction” award has an army of people that hate them for the lousy service they provide. And a bigger army of people laughing at the audacity and the phoniness of the banner.
Satisfaction is the
lowest level of acceptable service. And in the end, it means nothing. Companies like AOL measure
“satisfaction”, while they lose thousands of customers a day because of lousy
service and apathy.
The fact is, customer LOYALTY is all that matters.
And many companies are finally coming to that realization.
I define loyal customers as people who will do business with you again, tell others about you, and refer others to do business with you.
Most large companies spend all their time worrying about “shareholder value” and do nothing at the source of the opportunity: loyalty value.
The reality is, to
GET loyalty, you first have to GIVE loyalty.
Loyalty is a chain. It starts with a corporate philosophy. One that is created and written by the owner, NOT THE MARKETING DEPARTMENT, HR PEOPLE, or some ad agency.
The owner’s vision of the company is the one mission that must be carried out. How can anyone march to a philosophy or a vision that is not created by the creator?
Can you imagine God saying to his marketing department, “Hey, you guys create a bunch of commandments and run them by me before you carve them in stone”?
Consider the vision of Hugh McColl, arguably the greatest banker of all time, founder of North Carolina National bank that ultimately became Bank of America. His philosophy was simple: “I take care of my people, my people take care of my customers, my customers take care of my shareholders.”
Loyalty starts at home. Loyalty to employees, happy people, respected people, and empowered people are more likely to transfer those feelings to customers. And vice versa.
Take loyal actions. Loyalty to customers stems from the actions that are taken and the words that are spoken by employees. It is not just “business as usual”, it is going the extra mile and taking a proactive approach to communication. Loyalty is earned.
Earn loyalty and you will get it. Loyalty from customers is a result that occurs when all the other elements of your business have been mastered. Loyalty is not a report card. It is THE report care.
Make loyalty the imperative. From the CEO to the person that answers the phone. From sales to service. Make loyalty the corporate language. But to make it work, there has to be total senior-level support. If you concentrate on loyalty, satisfaction is no longer relevant.
Start with attitude. You can’t teach loyalty, but you can teach and instill a positive attitude among all the people in your company. Loyal action and great service starts with people who have a positive attitude.
Measuring satisfaction? Waste of time, waste of money, and waste of customer interaction. But it is the perfect vehicle for middle management to justify their job and existence.
Here’s the real-world measurement:
Will they do business with me again?
Will they refer someone to do business with me?
Will they give a testimonial?
Measure loyalty? Easy. Count the number of repeat customers. Count the number of referred customers. Count sales. And count profit. The rest is bogus.
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