Why satisfaction is only the starting point of earning client loyalty

by Darrell Hardidge - Founder / CEO, SAGUITY | |   Growing Your Business
Why satisfaction is only the starting point of earning client loyalty

Extreme client loyalty is waiting to be earned, but satisfaction is not the key to earning it.

Does your business deliver a satisfactory client experience? Is this what you aim for in your practices and processes in order to achieve client loyalty?

When you think about any of your own personal business transactions, have you ever had a satisfactory experience?

There's a good chance you have, the average transaction will always sit around the satisfactory level. If you consider those satisfactory transactions further, how would you rate those experiences out of 10?

Satisfaction indicates you came away from that transaction with what you needed and what you expected as both the base and height of the experience. To logically place satisfaction on an 'out of 10' scale, you could place it no higher than a 7 or 8 at the very most.

That seems like a good score doesn’t it? A 7 or 8 score indicates a decent effort towards the customer.

Now think about an exemplary experience you had as a client. If we apply the same logic of scaling to where a great client experience would sit, you’re looking for a 10/10 client experience. This is the sort of experience that stands out to you, where the company surprised you with its care and thought for you, where its products were top level and its staff trained, beating your expectations at every turn.

This is the sort of experience that blows the competition out of the water. You would go back to them, you’d recommend them, you’d want to have that easy and rewarding experience again.

Then think about those satisfactory experiences. Do you think these average experiences will always keep you coming back to the same business every time? Would you recommend them to your friends and colleagues? More than likely you’ll lose memory of these businesses, as they’re lost in the fog of irrelevancies that you put out of your mind for more important things, with only the very best experiences staying in your long term memory.

Now apply those same standards to your own business.
Are you providing a satisfactory experience? Do you still think that a satisfied customer is a loyal customer? 

This is why earning satisfaction from a customer is only the starting point towards client loyalty: it’s the easiest standard to reach. A 7 out of 10 is a decent effort, that’s not in dispute, but it will never earn you loyalty.

As a company that supplies a satisfactory experience, you would at best, be considered a convenience to your customers. A satisfactory experience is likely based in simple price differences or an easy location to get to. There is nothing stopping clients from moving to the competition because meeting expectations doesn’t impress anyone.

How do you raise that 7/10 to a 10/10 client experience?

The answer is in the same place as we began.

When you thought about your own client experiences, you knew instantly what experiences were average, and which were exemplary. When you had your 10/10 client experiences, you saw what earned that delight from you; you knew what would give you that experience from that business. 

When you were only satisfied you knew what was missing and what was done poorly.

A client is always looking for the best experience possible. Nobody ever wants to just be satisfied. They are well informed and will always see what a business is or isn’t doing to earn their loyalty. Your own clients will be looking at your company in the exact same way. 

The ingredients for elevating your client experience processes from 7 to 10/10 are right there in the minds of your customers, but this comes with two inherent difficulties. The first is getting that information from your clients in a useable fashion, the second is efficiently applying it to your company.

Your ultimate success comes from how you mine this information from your clients. It's important to find out exactly why they choose your services or industry in precise detail. The best method is to engage over the phone interviews, speaking directly to the clients and helping them comfortably explore their ideals. Only by such an extensive method can you extract the right information for elevating your standards.

With that information in hand, you are empowered with valuable insights to review every single aspect of your company and see what changes can be made, and how best to implement them.

Extreme client loyalty is waiting to be earned, but satisfaction is not the key to earning. Understand that satisfaction is never the goal, but only the starting point.

Darrell Hardidge is an international author, speaker and innovator of the Client Appreciation Index. Darrell shares the knowledge and best practices of No.1 companies in his book, The Client Revolution, and through his CX strategy company SAGUITY. For more information, visit his website at www.saguity.com.

SAGUITY knows the pathway to reaching that 10/10 client experience.


The CEO Institute, established over 25 years ago, helps business leaders like you connect with your peers to share skills, insight, and experience. The CEO Institute's leadership programs are available globally. To register your interest in any of our programs, click enquire.

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