28 May 2009
Comments: Comments Off on Satisfied Customers versus Loyal Customers – Who Cares? I do and we all should!

Satisfied Customers versus Loyal Customers – Who Cares? I do and we all should!

Enough of this satisfied customer thing – Enough of this “I have a great base of customers who say they will refer me.” (a high NPS rating). I’ve listened to it for years – I’ve even, at times, bought into the whole concept.

Every time I hear about a company who has a long list of referrals, I then hear in their next breath about how poorly their business is doing (ask the US auto dealers) – why? And by the way – any customer who says that they will not refer you are more than a “customer with an issue” these are indicators that you are going out of business – maybe quickly!

I really want to zero in on if they would refer us – before I ask them if they would! Wait a minute – shouldn’t I have known they were not going to refer me prior to asking them? Yes!

The Facts:

  • Having referrals is a good thing – maybe even a great thing – and certainly a good place to start – just not enough in today’s competitive global economy/or even within a regional community – there’s competition everywhere!
  • Being a referral for anyone is like the minimum any supplier should expect of a customer – if you can’t deliver this outcome why even be in business!? You may not be for long!
  • There are degrees of satisfaction – the highest degree may border on a base of more “loyal customers” I am one of those customers for the university I attended
  • Yes, it may be difficult in business to create “explicitly loyal customers” – however, why not try and then measure on an ongoing basis how you are doing! Maybe even ask your customers how you are doing across all of their functional areas while considering all of their needs and expectations – there’s a crazy idea!

So why the concern? Because customers are saying they expect more from you – often for the same price – and many companies are still not hearing their cries! Now blend in some wild reasons why customers leave:

  • Relationships
  • Costs
  • Poor service
  • Needs going unknown – unmet
  • Lack of awareness of the value their supplier offers
  • Feeling of rowing the canoe on their own – little supplier interaction
  • Culturally not a fit
  • A wrong perception – “perception is reality”
  • Lack of forward thinking – innovation

These are just a few of the top reasons buyers fire suppliers – you could have known these reasons and done something about it before it was too late. Too late is like asking them if they would refer you!
Times have changed! How we need to manage customer relationships needs to change with the times.

Get with it – start thinking about creating more loyal customers!