What makes for a satisfied customer? When do you feel satisfied as a customer? When are you not a satisfied customer? It all boils down to good old expectation management. What have you led your customer to expect? Or even worse, what are his or her default expectations or preconceptions? It is so easy to become customer critics instead of customer advocates. “Oh God! it’s Mr. Jones again! He’s such a royal pain!” and so on. This is not the time for such behavior. People are angry with the downturn, with shrinking incomes, with bad payers, with increasing running costs and cost of living. It’s so easy for them to add you and your company to the anger list. Don’t give them reason to. So, manage the expectations. If you sell dirt cheap and have a crappy service, then advertise this fact. People expect not to expect good service and they walk out so happy with the bargain they got. If you buy something for ten dollars and its value turns out to be ten dollars, you are most probably not a satisfied customer. At best you are a neutral customer. Paid ten, got ten. Nothing to post on the social network about (my first, outdated impulse was “nothing to write home about”). If on the other hand the value turns out to be eight, then you are a peed off customer. Depending on your character you may be a letter writer or a lawyer user or a thumper of fists at the front counter. Or maybe you just take your business elsewhere in future. Take your pick – they are all loss makers. And nowadays word of mouse is much stronger than word of mouth. One click and the whole world knows about it. Welcome to the wonderful world of antisocial networking. Finally, on a brighter note, we have the case in which you pay ten and for some reason the value you get is twelve. Your expectations have been exceeded. You are now a satisfied customer and net promoter of the company that went the extra mile, click or even smile for you. Yes, even a polite smiling employee at the counter can make the difference in the value received.
Manage your customer expectations. If you really want satisfied customers you need to create the correct expectations and then exceed them on the deliverable. And remember, you can do it even by proactively notifying a customer of a problem with their purchase. Most of all, we expect companies we give our money to, to act responsibly.
So walk the talk.