Overview Chapter 2:05: Principle Four

Quick Summary: Merely satisfying customers is no longer adequate to maintain or increase market share.


The articles in this chapter discuss issues that relate to customer satisfaction and the need to focus on delighting each of them.  Although it is obvious that this goal is important, it takes a conscious effort and the involvement of the entire organization to reach and maintain the goal.

Principle Four: Continuously Delight Each Customer is a never ending task that needs to be embraced by everyone in the company.  The eight articles in this section provide some overall guidance to help companies formulate strategies to address this principle.  The eight article titles and their abstracts are listed below.

The issue of customer satisfaction is discussed in several other chapters in this collection. When considering internal as well as external customers, is an integral part of each of the other six business principles.  It is not possible to discuss customer satisfaction without mentioning quality.  Chapter 2.06 focuses on metrics and quality.  Additionally, the Operational Chapters in this collection, as listed below, both, directly and indirectly, deal with customer satisfaction.

Chapter 5.01      Managing the Sales Effort
Chapter 5.02      Supporting the Sales Team
Chapter 5.03      Customers
Chapter 5.04      Marketing
Chapter 5.06      Strategy

Articles in this section are described below.


Introduction to Principle Four


Principle Four: Continuously Delight Each Customer requires the involvement and commitment of everyone in the organization. Striving to achieve this principle is probably the largest differentiator that a company can create and will lead to continued success.


Customer Satisfaction Levels


There are a number of different levels of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.  The concept of improving your customer’s perception about your goods and services is simple but not easy.  It requires totally consistent positive interactions with customers from their initial experience with the product or service throughout its life cycle. The positive interactions must include anyone that is involved with the customer. However, different strategies need to be employed to move customers from one satisfaction level to another.


Don't Survey Your Customers


Online multiple question surveys are easy to create and tabulate and can present the results in a variety of impressive charts.  Free web based software allows these systems to be created and implemented in a few hours.  Unquestionably, they can provide reams of data.  However, converting that data into useful information and then into actionable knowledge requires a considerable amount of interpretation.  That interpretation is often performed by well- meaning but biased individuals.  Instead of surveying customers, pick up the phone and talk to them.  Let them tell you in their own words what they like and don’t like. The difference between a survey and a conversation can be remarkable.


Developing a Customer Satisfaction Strategy


Companies spend a considerable amount of time developing their overall business strategy but typically assume that customer satisfaction will naturally occur as result of them developing their products and services as promised.  It is then assumed that any variations will be addressed by individuals with the appropriate tactical focus.  To the contrary, continuously delighting each customer requires the development and implementation of a company wide customer satisfaction strategy.


Customer Expectations


A customer’s level of satisfaction only partially depends on the performance of the product or service in meeting their needs.  Their expectations play a significant role in how they view you and the opinion that they form about your company and your offering.  You cannot set their expectations but you can provide them with guidance and understanding to help them set their appropriate expectations.


A Simple Definition of a Defect


It is easy to argue about the definition of a defect and who is responsible for its resolution.  It is not uncommon for employees to take the position that “the customer doesn’t understand” or “that is not what it is intended to be used for” or “that is a feature, not a problem.”  The list goes on and on.  In the end, the only thing that matters is that the customer’s issue is resolved.  Defining a defect as any deviation from a customer’s expectation eliminates the internal arguments and places the focus on the customer where it belongs.


Don't Focus on the Customer


In many businesses, your product or service may only be a component in the overall product or service that your customer is providing to others.  In these instances, your success is tied directly to your customer’s success.  By focusing on your customer’s customer, you may help your customer be more successful.


Three Variables and One Constant Flip Flop


In bringing new products or service offerings to the market, three interrelated variables: features, development time, and available resources must be carefully balanced.  While this give and take activity is taking place, one constant, high quality, must never be compromised.  Unfortunately, in many instances, the three variables become constants at the expense of the new variable, quality.  The end result is never good.


Article Number : 2.050101   

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