Meeting expectations will create satisfied customers, which is important. Yet ‘good’ and ‘satisfaction’ are simply not enough anymore. The model below illustrates that you need to go beyond operational excellence, and delight your customers to make them a fan or a promoter of your brand.
Customers won’t become raving fans when your processes and basic delivery are ‘just okay’. Operational excellence will help build satisfaction, whereby it is important to realize that merely satisfied customers will not immediately share their experiences with others. Exceeding expectations at every touch point will bring delight, and ideally helps build the desired identity. Ultimately, this will create fans and evangelists, who will actively promote your company, and who are even willing to defend your organization/brand, when you are being criticized.
Customer Satisfaction ≠ Customer Loyalty
So, there is a big difference between satisfaction and loyalty. Customer satisfaction is an expression of customer attitudes regarding products, services, and brands. It tells you whether customers see you/your brand as good, or not. Customer loyalty goes further and tells you to what extent customers think you are beyond good; be it great, awesome, delightful, etc. Loyalty has multiple dimensions and is an expression of attitude, feelings, and behavior.
As already mentioned, being good and generating satisfaction are not enough anymore. Customer satisfaction has become a less relevant KPI (key performance indicator). For this reason, companies are closing down their traditional customer satisfaction and customer care departments, which makes perfect sense.
Instead, more and more leaders see the need for a totally new approach to customer experience, and either convert their satisfaction department into a customer experience department or division. Or they start building from scratch, with an often completely new approach and different focus, using different and more contemporary media.
The good news for customers of experience providers that get it, is that solving problems and handling complaints in most cases has become a matter of minutes to less than an hour (compared to days or weeks in the old days). This, of course, creates a challenge for those companies who haven’t yet developed a solid vision on, and strategy for, customer experience
Quick, think fast and name a brand that you would defend no matter what? Being able to instantly answer that question with a brand name may suggest you are a fan or a promoter for that brand.