I have spent many years speaking about the concept of creating an exceptional client experience. I even have the term, “Client Delight” trademarked because of the educational materials I have created around this topic. But recently, I read something in Harvard Business Review (July-Aug 2010) that made me change my thinking on this topic, quite drastically actually. The article, “Stop Trying To Delight Your Customers,” makes a case that to really win a client’s loyalty, you need to forget the bells and whistles and just solve their problems. In essence, solving their problems efficiently IS the experience. And it is where loyalty comes from. Doing an excellent job of delivering on a promise of standard, expected, and basic service, according to the article, is much better than trying to over-deliver.
The reason: firms rarely can pull off the over the top, unbelievable and unexpected client service that delights. And, most companies lose clients by underperforming on the basic service tenants. So where should we concentrate our efforts?
Here are some shocking statistics from the research:
The Customer Contact Council, a division of the Corporate Executive Board, conducted a study of more than 75,000 people who had interacted with service departments at companies. Here are some key findings:
25% of customers are likely to say something positive about their service experience while 65% are likely to speak negatively. 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people about it while 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more people.
80% of the success of service at organizations is based on customer satisfaction scores. However, the finding is that there is little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty. 20% of satisfied customers will leave anyway while 28% of dissatisfied customers will STAY. And customers are 4 times more likely to leave a service interaction feeling DISLOYAL.
The main finding: Delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty. Reducing the work a customer must do to get their problem solved does. It’s the basic service, not the over-the-top, that makes the biggest difference.
To read this HBR article, go to: www.hbr.org/2010/07/stop-trying-to-delight-your-customers/ar/1