Are you engaged with your customers? More importantly…are they engaged with you? Gaining and sustaining customer loyalty is becoming more important by the day. It can be your organization’s leading edge. Simply satisfying customers is no longer enough! Satisfaction is only the foundation and the minimum requirement for a continuing relationship with your customer. It should be noted that the term “customer” could refer both to the external customer who purchases goods or services from your company as well as the internal customer, your employees, who deliver these goods or services.
As opposed to satisfaction, engagement is a better indicator of the thoughts a customer has toward your business and its offerings. Customer engagement aims at long-term relationships, encouraging loyalty and passionate advocacy. It implies a higher level of commitment to the health of an organization, while satisfaction encompasses a sequence of events with many variables. Very simply defined:
Engagement = Product X People
Sixty to eighty percent of customers who defect to the competition say they were satisfied on surveys administered just prior to their defection. So why do customers leave a business? According to a study by the American Society for Quality:
9% of customers leave because of competitors
10% of customers leave for other reasons (move away, death, etc.)
14% of customers leave because of their dissatisfaction with the product
67% of customers leave because of an attitude of indifference on the part of an employee
The impact an individual employee has on a business is staggering. I believe we all would agree that we have left a business because of the attitude of an employee, conversely I also think we would agree that we frequent a business because of our relationship with an employee. What brings you back to your favorite restaurant…the food or the individuals who serve you? So then should we focus on the human aspects of business performance?
Customers are not strictly rational. The majority of decisions to purchase a product or service and commit, long-term are purely emotional. In manufacturing companies, value is created on the factory floor. In sales and services organizations value is created through the customer/associate interaction or "moment of truth". The customer/associate encounter is the factory floor for service and sales organizations.
A customer’s degree of engagement with a company lies on a continuum that represents the strength of his investment in that company. Positive experiences with the company strengthen the investment and move the customer to passionate advocate.
A few final thoughts:
Great service is only great if your customers think it is great.
The customer is why you go to work. If they go away, you do to.
The personal relationship and value are remembered long after the price is forgotten.
Customer is King!
So tell us, is your customer really your King?