Years ago, Jimmy Cliff had a song called "Give the People What They Want." He was referring to politics, but it works pretty well for marketing, too. Many companies talk a good line when it comes to customer service, but how many really and truly put it into practice? How many have so thoroughly integrated the policy of delighting customers into their mission that it shapes the way they do business?
And what is the cost of not doing so? Writing on the
MarketingProfs.com web site, Kristine Kirby Webster cites auto-industry statistics that 85 to 95 percent of customers claim to be satisfied, but only 40 percent repurchase. She also notes that up to 80 percent of customers who defect to a competitor, across all industries, expressed satisfaction with their previous vendor even right up to the point where they jump ship. So how do you turn satisfaction first into delighted amazement, and then into loyalty, and finally into ambassadorship for your brand?
Timothy Keiningham and Terry Varva, in The Customer Delight Principle: Exceeding Customers' Expectations for Bottom-Line Success, stress that merely satisfying your customers isn't enough to build loyalty, let alone the fervent ardor necessary for customers to recruit more customers on your behalf. You have to delight them. And the bar on delight keeps getting higher, because one of the factors leading to delight is that it's unexpected.
In other words, when ...