A merely satisfied customer is still a free agent, exploring the marketplace. She still has a wandering eye. She thinks your business offers a reasonable solution and delivers it well. If asked, she’ll say nice things about you. But although she may have some warm feelings for your business, she’s not yet an advocate for your brand, and, unlike a truly loyal customer, she can still be wooed away.
Fortunately, customer satisfaction is based on four predictable factors. Customers are satisfied whenever they consistently receive:
1. A perfect product
2. Delivered by a caring, friendly person
3. timely fashion
4. The support of an effective problem resolution process.
A perfect product
Customers want defect-free products and services. You need to design your product or service so that it can be expected to function perfectly within foreseeable boundaries. Things will sometimes go wrong. Your products, and people, will sometimes fail due to unpredictable circumstances. But sloppy or incomplete product or service design is, from a customer’s perspective, intolerable.
Service Delivery by Caring People
Your perfect product now requires caring, friendly people to deliver it. An interaction with just a single caring, friendly employee, can make us feel good about doing business with an entire company.
In our world of iPhones and instant Google searches and the ubiquity of Amazon, your customers get to decide what is and isn’t an appropriate timeline. A perfect product delivered late by friendly, caring people is the equivalent of a defective one. Customer experiences guide their expectations, so on-time delivery standards continue to get tougher all the time. What your customer today thinks of as on-time delivery is not only stricter than what her parents would have tolerated, but even her older sister would have tolerated.
The Support of an Effective Problem Resolution Process
Service breakdowns and other problems experienced by customers are crucial emotional moments in a business relationship. Therefore, solving these problems will have an outsized impact on your business success. That’s why you need an effective problem resolution process. Effective problem resolution sounds like a modest goal. But so does reaching base camp—until you find out you’re climbing Denali. A big reason it’s so tough? Effective cannot be measured by whether you have restored the situation to the pre-problem status quo. Effective is measured by whether you have restored customer satisfaction. This can be challenging. But it’s well worth it. Resolve a service problem effectively and your customer is more likely to become loyal than if she’d never run into a problem in the first place.