Customer satisfaction is an integral part of service delivery. The ultimate goal of providing a service is to satisfy the recipient of the service. One man put it this way “The best way to look at service is through the customer’s eyes”. With service, it is not about the amount of effort you put but it is about the output. Customers pay less attention to the labour pains, but are interested in whether eventually the labour pains produce a baby or not. It does not matter how hard you have tried, if the customer says it is poor service, then it is poor service despite your drained energy. Service providers always try to meet or surpass the expectations of a customer. But what does this really mean?
My customer service experience has taught me that customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction is primarily a function of two elements;
• Customer Expectation
• Customer Experience
Customer Expectation– Customers have expectations from a business. Expectations are generated from their perceptions of what the business can potentially deliver and what the business itself promises to deliver.
Customer Experience -When customers visit a business to consume its service, they receive a particular service. The What and How aspect of the service they receive is referred to as the customer experience.
Now the variance between the expectation and the experience is what constitutes customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Picture it this way; Sitting in the lounge watching your favourite TV show, you catch a KFC kind of smell coming from the kitchen. This creates an expectation in your mind of what kind of a meal you are going to have; certainly a good one. When dinner is served, and you take your first bite, that becomes the moment of truth. That constitutes the experience. Whether you will say wow! or yak! or okay! depends on whether your expectation of what the meal would taste like was met or not.
The Mathematics of Customer Satisfaction
If you were to rate your expectation and experience on say a scale of 10 you can come up with any of the following scenarios;
- (Expectation<Experience) means WOW!, Raving Fan 🙂
- (Expectation>Experience) means YAK!, Dissatisfied L
- (Expectation=Experience) means OKAY!, Satisfied K
To which side will the scale tilt?
1. If the customer’s expectation was lower than the experience, it means that the service provider surpassed the customer’s expectation and the customer is beyond satisfied. They are likely to be saying WOW! For you to give your customers a wow experience, it’s important to know their expectations so that you can aim to exceed them. You can use a number of tools to harness the expectations of your customers (subject matter for another day).
2. If the customer expectation was higher than the experience, it means that the service provider did not produce a satisfaction index which was higher than the customer’s expectation index hence the customer is dissatisfied.
3. If the customer’s expectation was at par with the experience, it means that the service provider met the customer’s expectation but there is nothing to ride home about. Service provider is unlikely to receive either a complaint or a compliment from the customer.
Aim to move your customers from being Dissatisfied, to being Satisfied , then to becoming Raving Fans!
Raving fans are loyalists. Loyal customers (subject matter for another day ) are a huge investment to any business. Customers become loyal if they consistently receive excellent service. The idea is to satisfy the customers over and over again until they see no reason to patronize your competitors. When you give just enough service, it is invisible to the customer. We need to travel in the decongested road with no traffic jam; the extra mile. Very few people bother to go the extra mile, yet this is the mile where you find Loyalist, Advocates and Raving Fans for your business. Make someone’s day; do unto them as you would like done unto you. Give the kind of service you would want to receive. Be generous with your smile, remember you don’t lose it by giving it away.
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