Saturday, September 20, 2014

Customer Satisfaction vs. Customer Delight

Customers become loyal when they have experienced something out of the ordinary. 

Customer Satisfaction is a state where the customer perceives a business experience to be positive, but the event itself is not memorable. Customer Delight is the emotional imprint left on a customer who attributes the rich, positive and memorable feelings produced by an experience to a business or organization.

The strategic choice to shape customer-centric strategy: It is difficult to pin short or long term business performance solely on customer satisfaction vs. customer delight. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that businesses with a customer delight focus are generally going to be more enlightened, and as such will be undertaking a whole range of best practice activities which result in long-term business performance. Therefore, it is the strategic choice for customer-centric strategy by questioning: 
1). When Customer Satisfaction is Priority #1, What is the Business Performance (short-term and long-term)? 
2). When Customer Delight is Priority #1, What is the Business Performance (short-term and long-term)? 
3). Do you have any business evidence that "Customer Delight" is more profitable than "Customer Satisfaction"?    
Customer Delight creates loyal customers. A customer doesn't become loyal, just by buying. They become loyal when they have experienced something out of the ordinary. When questioned, an example was given of a customer who complained and had that complaint resolved by the company going beyond what they had to. That customer then became a loyal advocate for the brand, telling every one of their experience. Now customers are part of your company's extended network. And they feel just the same. What proportion of customers you can turn into engaged ones depends a bit on what business you are in as well. But you can make a difference in every business. Look at any opportunity to create a strong advocate for your company. And always work on the negative ones. Delighting them just might turn them into your best customer champions.

Customer Delight is winning the philosophical argument: The idea that customer delight is more profitable than customer satisfaction was not derived from statistical research or case studies. Rather it is based on a philosophical argument coupled with personal experience. Unfortunately in Business, Shareholders and Executives need evidence or support of the "new thing". The philosophical argument: 
- People are psychological by nature 
- Therefore, customers all engage on some psychological level 
- Research suggests that events of deep psychological impact leave impressions 
- These impressions inform future action 
- When you leave a positive impression, you delight 
- Future action for that customer is to continue to do business with you and share their positive experience with others 
- When you leave a negative impression, you breed contempt 
- Future action for that customer is to cease doing business with you and share their negative experience with others 
- It follows that the way a customer feels when interacting with a business is going to determine the success/failure of that business in the long term

Employee satisfaction vs. Employee delight: To gain empathy, think of it from your own point of view as an employee. If you don’t feel engaged, due to the lack of motivation, the negative internal politics or competition, the overly rigid process, etc, you won't do your best work. If, however, you feel empowered, listened to and happy in your work, you will fully support managements point of view. You will work harder, contribute more and both spread the good word and combat the negative - you'll challenge that negative person at the water cooler. If you feel engaged with the company, you'll be much more proactive and voluble, recommending them, fighting their corner with nay-sayers and closing your mind to alternatives mentioned by others in the conversations. And, of course, if you feel disconnected, you will not just play your part when asked but actively seek out people to complain to, to spread the negative.

The next step in customer-centric evolution path is the imagination or conceptualization of new level of changing from Customer Satisfaction to Customer Delight. It takes sound strategy to balance the philosophic argument and statistic research; the short-term profitability and long term customer loyalty.


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