Why I Don’t Want Satisfied Customers

“Customer Satisfaction” – a well-known term in the business world – I don’t like it!  An odd thing to say from a Customer Experience Specialist?  Well, what is a satisfied customer?  The dictionary definition of satisfied is: Contented / Pleased.   A satisfied customer is one where a business has:

  1. Delivered what the customer expected
  2. In the expected time frame
  3. Charged them correctly / straightforward payment process

This might actually be the goal of many businesses, but for all of us as consumers it is the basic expectation of what a company should do.  As a purchaser, from the minute I decide to part with my money on a product or service, this is what should be happening – any less then I fall into the ‘unhappy’ category.

So what’s so wrong with wanting satisfied customers?  As a business we should always be looking at how to retain existing customers – advertising and attracting new business is an expensive and timely exercise!  ‘Raving Fans’, ‘Loyal Advocates’, ‘Delighted Customers’ are the ones we should all be striving for, and that’s what I want – not ‘satisfied’ – it just sounds so ‘meh’!

Research from a multitude of sources tells us that customers who have received a great experience will tell others about it – if we use the research from Esteban Kolsky that identifies 72% with a positive experience will go on to tell on average 6 others then:

1 x Loyal Advocate         =      6 new leads  (72% = 4.3)

10 x Loyal Advocates     =   60 new leads  (72% = 43)

100 x Loyal Advocates  = 600 new leads  (72% = 430)

Salesforce created this telling infographic that shows the impact of customer and employee referrals in the context of B2B lead to deal conversation rates:

Despite the array of research available (thanks Google!) when I speak with many business owners at networking events I’m often met with “oh, my customers are happy” – subtext: I don’t need your services (maybe they don’t and that’s fine, I’m not a ‘sell, sell, sell’ type of networker), but what concerns me is that they don’t know if their happy customers are ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Raving Fans’, just ‘Unhappy’ or ‘Not’.

A little delving also identifies that they also rarely have a target, or even measure, their word of mouth referrals and yet at the same time seem resigned to the fact it’s acceptable to spend money on websites / advertising and quality social media posting but categorise customer experience as ‘nice to have’ (see my earlier post on this).   I’ll admit, it also kind of baffles me how they think they are creating impactful and beneficial marketing content if they aren’t getting feedback from their regular customers about why they keep returning????!!!!!!  Your customers are the best people out there to identify your USP, and that’s great information you should use to attract new customers too!

If you want to spend the rest of your days chasing leads with a low conversion rate – crack on!  Personally, I’ll be working with the business owners who recognise the value and return of investing in their customer experience, and ‘a satisfied customer’ is not something they, or I, aim for!

Here are some interesting stats and links to the research referenced in this article:

  • 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word of mouth when making their buying decision (USM)
  • 56% of B2B purchasers look to offline word of mouth as a source of information and advice, and this number jumps to 88% when online word of mouth sources are included (BaseOne)
  • 84% of consumers reported always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations, 70% said they did the same of online consumer opinions (Nielsen).
  • 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness. (Nielen)

A more detailed blog about Esteban Kolsky and research findings

Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics

Salesforce report 

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