Think about this: when was the last time you told someone about an experience that met your expectations. Perhaps it was an adequate dinner while on the road, or a satisfactory hotel stay. Now think about the last time your expectations either weren’t met at all, or were wildly exceeded. How many people did you tell then? One, ten, twenty?


Why is it then that organizations spend time, money and focus on something no one apparently cares about: Customer Satisfaction?


Consider this model:


Based on this model then, merely satisfying our customers buys us very little; perhaps we can keep them until another firm comes along to delight them. Then we’re left to wonder what happened -Weren’t our customers satisfied? Where’s the loyalty?


Naturally, this doesn’t always apply. If you’re fortunate enough to be a monopoly, or the government, mere appeasement of the customer may suffice. But for the rest of us, working in highly competitive industries, moving beyond satisfying customers may be what keeps the company in business.


Afew parting lessons from this concept:


– Customers are not monolithic – what delights one may not matter to another. Finding out is a difficult, but necessary effort. (Your customer often doesn’t even know what it would take to delight- a focus group probably didn’t come up with the iPod.)


Net Promoter Score is a useful measure, but only if the survey can shed light on why the customer would or would not recommend your firm


– Exceptional value can mitigate price sensitivity; failing to meet expectations leaves customers feeling cheated and much more price sensitive


– If your firm can’t yet delight customers, start by not disappointing them


So let me ask you, dear readers, how do your firms address Customer Satisfaction especially for your transactional projects? Please post your experiences, suggestions and/or horror stories in the comments section.


Special thanks to Bill Bellows of UTC Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne for the above model.


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