Customer retention is the result of an organization’s ability to create customer loyalty.
This is done by providing the systems, processes, and support, to not only keep a customer happy but to transition them into an advocate for the organization – who is not only loyal but also recruits others.
An organization’s focus on customer retention should be part of a comprehensive customer satisfaction strategy.
This requires having a good understanding of what the customer wants and putting systems and processes in place to not only meet those needs but to exceed expectations and ultimately delight the customer. This is what strategy is all about.
5 Levels of Customer Satisfaction
1. Not Satisfied
A customer is not satisfied when their needs are not met.
This will result in the consumer looking to other organizations to meet their expressed needs.
The danger in an unsatisfied customer is that they will share their dissatisfaction with other potential customers in an attempt to protect people they know from a less than satisfactory experience.
An unsatisfied customer may be the result of bad service or product but it also may be the result of unrealistic expectations.
For instance, wait times can be very frustrating for a customer.
However, if you manage the customer’s expectations by informing them of typical wait times you can influence their response to sitting in a waiting room.
2. Slightly Satisfied
A slightly satisfied customer may have some expectations that are being met but others are not.
A slightly satisfied customer may return but may go somewhere else if offered a more appealing option.
For instance, I went to the same doctor for many years and loved him. However, his office staff was consistently rude and incompetent – resulting in unpleasant interactions.
I decided to find another doctor because of his employees.
A satisfied customer is one who gets what they expect. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There are no wows in the experience and they leave satisfied but not a smiling advocate.
For instance, think about driving through your favorite fast-food restaurant.
You receive what you ordered and it was what you expected. Not better or worse than prior experiences.
You were satisfied but may not call your friends to share the experience.
4. Very satisfied
A very satisfied customer not only gets their needs met but may experience some unexpected surprises that enhance their satisfaction.
This is when customer satisfaction gets fun.
Figure out a way to throw unexpected surprises at the customer to enrich their experience.
As an example, think about that drive-through restaurant experience, now imagine that a cookie was thrown in the bag simply as a bonus.
That may take the customer from being simply satisfied to very satisfied.
5. Extremely satisfied
An extremely satisfied customer has an experience that consistently exceeds all expectations and has wow factors associated with every experience.
These customers are so excited about the service they received that they become an advocate for the organization and often recruit new customers because they want to share the positive experience.
For instance, I ordered something online and it came in an amazing and fun package.
Simply opening the package was such a fun experience that I tell friends and family so they can share the fun!
So why is customer retention so important?
Data suggests that it is much more expensive to win a new customer than it is to keep current customers.
Keeping loyal customers helps to establish a solid customer base which impacts the bottom line.
Once a solid customer base is established, it is the foundation to grow the customer population and ultimately gain a larger percentage of the market share.
Losing current customers as new customers are being established slows the market share growth cycle down.
Some organizations use loyalty programs (frequent flier miles, discount coupons, or other perks) as an incentive for returning customers.
Keep in mind that these programs are seen as positive by customers, but they are not enough to keep customers who are not satisfied with the product or service.
Take the time to understand who your customers are, what the customer wants, and create systems and processes to meet those expectations.
This practice is the foundation for successful organizations.
If you can’t keep your customers happy, there is always someone down the street who will!
So what are some things you do to exceed the expectations of your customers?