Customer Satisfaction Just Doesn’t Matter

Shocking but true.

It is no longer enough to rely on customer satisfaction to drive loyalty and build your business. Think of satisfaction as a glass of tepid water – it may meet your need and satisfy your thirst, but it will never leave an impression or make a lasting impact. To break through in an age of educated consumers with clear expectations, organizations must go beyond what is expected and forge unique connections with their target customers, creating advocates. Simple satisfaction is table stakes. Creating advocacy is what will allow a brand to break free of mediocrity.

Companies that understand this concept have been focusing on transformation through a metric called “Consumer Net Promotion“.

In simplest terms, Consumer Net Promotion measures the positive or negative halo of your brand and the resulting ‘word of mouth’ that will either attract or repel customers. Organizations that focus on this metric have realized that the most powerful form of advertising is the testimony of their customers. This is all the more true with the rise of social media, where word of a good or bad experience can go viral in a matter of hours.

More than ever before, consumers trust the informed advice of friends, families and networks well beyond what they hear from a company’s advertising or press. Due to this increasing influence, traditional marketing investments can become neutered by poor or inconsistent service/product delivery. While this is true for prospects, it is even more pronounced with existing customers; where bad experience is the leading cause of defection to the competition.

Unfortunately, an organization will not benefit from merely rolling out this measure along with other performance yardsticks. It is common for a firm to launch a net promotion score and then falter in their effort to improve the customer experience. Like Lean Six Sigma, it is not enough to have the discipline within your organization; you must also prioritize the outcome and deploy the tool to drive change. Like any metric, Consumer Net Promotion it is only as good as executive commitment and the individual accountability assigned to the measure.

Organizations that succeed have created customer-centric cultures based on the “Four C” approach: 1. Establish shared CONTEXT across your organization; 2. Attract and empower a front-line that CONNECTS with your customers; 3. Invest in building the required CAPABILITIES to deliver your promise; and 4. Foster COMMITMENT through clear accountability, measurement and rewards.

Does this sound like a lot of effort and cost? It is. However, the investment in a break-through customer experience should be weighed against the cost of wasted marketing efforts, the slow bleed of customer attrition, and the drain caused by misaligned and ambiguous business priorities. The question should not be whether your company can afford to invest in net promotion, but instead, can it survive without this catalyst.

Tim Crowder,

Principal – Mission Marketing

twitter: Tim Crowder@MissionMkt

Jun 30, 2013