Customer satisfaction is not enough. You, as a business, need to stop merely satisfying your customers and build a consistent and repeatable process to start delighting them. Delighting customers will fulfill the dream of creating a customer experience so positive it will deepen customer relationships, increase customer loyalty, and strengthen your brand. Stronger brand and solid differentiation is the only thing that will prevents your business from falling victim to your competition. The only way to achieve this goal is by becoming an experience-based organization. This means that you must start with the belief that your customers are your most valuable asset. Because, frankly, without customers, there is no business to be had.
Immediate success and long-term viability depend on the quality of the relationship you form with each of your customers. With customers having much greater access to product and service alternatives in the market place — and hungry competitors just waiting for the chance to snatch up any less-than-thrilled customers — it’s crucial to understand the role that customer loyalty and delight can play in building solid relationships.
From a relationship perspective, most people would agree that loyalty is an extremely important attribute. Unfortunately, loyalty is not something you can acquire or manufacture. The creation of loyalty is an earning process and it must be done one relationship at a time. The creation of loyalty is an emotional event. It requires an emotional trust bond to be forged between two parties. Like the bond needed between clients and organizations.
There is a business principle called the 80/20 Rule. That is, 80% of any organization’s revenue comes from 20% of its client base. This means that it is more desirable to sell more services to a smaller number of loyal customers, instead of spreading these services out over many “luke-warm” customers. On average, it costs an organization five times more to acquire a new customer from marketing and advertising than it does to acquire a new customer through a simple referral. Remember: delighted, loyal customers tell at least four other people about their positive experience, unhappy customers will tell ten, and uninspired, satisfied customers will tell no one.
Loyal customers are very important, and a customer that is “satisfied” is not always a loyal customer. It stands to reason that if your customer base is composed of dispassionate merely satisfied customers, you are at risk of loosing your future clients to competitors that come along with a better deal. The difference in customer loyalty and customer satisfaction is the difference of being seen as a commodity or as a mediocre supplier.