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Every day we hear about customer satisfaction. Companies do surveys to find out how satisfied their customers are with the service they received. Some even go so far as to reward employees with bonuses or prizes based on satisfied customers.
That’s just wrong. ‘Satisfied’ is the lowest level of acceptable customer service. Your business gains little from having satisfied customers. Don’t get me wrong. Having satisfied customers is better than having dissatisfied customers. The problem is that satisfied customers are just that – satisfied. They are not moved to promote your business. They are not so blown away by your service that they tell everyone they know how awesome you are. The next time they need to buy what you sell, they have no real reason to return and purchase again from you. In many cases, they probably don’t even remember where they bought the last one. Satisfied surely doesn’t set you apart from your competition either.
Your goal should not be to create satisfied customers. Your goal should be to create loyal customers who can’t even imagine buying anywhere else. Your goal should be to create a corps of ambassadors talking about and recommending your business everywhere they go. Your goal should be to create an army of representatives referring new customer to your business.
The only way to make that happen is to create a customer experience that is so memorable that your customers have a reason to remember your business. With the access to information that everyone has in the computer age and the increasing speed at which people want to do business, products are becoming more and more like commodities. The only true way you can differentiate yourself is through the experience your customers have purchasing from you.
I can’t tell you exactly what an incredible customer experience looks like for your business. But I can tell you who can. Your customers. The loyal ones that buy from you repeatedly can tell you what it is that you did that made them loyal. The satisfied ones can tell you what more it would take for them to have been wowed by their experience purchasing from you. And, as Bill gates said, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." They can tell where you are currently making your biggest mistakes.
Your customer experience should be built around the needs of your customers, not what is easiest for your business. Letting your customers tell you what that experience should look like just makes sense; dollars and cents.
One final tip: when you have an awesome customer experience, document it and share it. Ask your loyal customers for testimonials and share that testimonial in as many ways as possible. That way you can spread the word at how terrific the customer experience is at your company. It also sets expectations that will help keep you focused on constantly trying to make your customers’ experiences shopping with you better.