Customers are principal partners of an organisation (Suppliers company), these partners may be with you in permanent nature for long duration or for shorter term or only one time, how long the customer stays with you completely depends on your organisational intent and your approach towards product quality, cost, services and value additions to product performance. The simple question arises is-why a seemingly easy task of keeping customers alongside permanently is proving so difficult for most companies?
Customer is the one who makes or breaks organisations, having known this fact, still many organisations never try or bother to treat the customer as partner. Customer happiness is the derivative of many special efforts made by organisations internally. Instead of keeping customers happy, all organisations in India attempts to delight customers by giving products either at par or of better quality than competition’s, at competitive price while undermining importance of customer expectations. The customer expectations and happiness are not explicit hence are abstract, making it hard for suppliers to understand latent desires of customers. The customer happiness is the basket of delight, fulfilment of expectations and meeting latent desires, most companies never realise that customer delight and latent desires of customer are much inferior to expectations. It is mandatory to understand unspoken expectations, wherever products are involved, over everything, an important term that comes into existence is “Service(s)”. Service starts from internal systems and in turn from taking care of intra & internal customers’ expectations, If you meet these requirements of internal customer, you would definitely meet expectations of external customers.
It is imperative to understand what is meant by a happy, satisfactory and delighted customer. A delighted customer may not be a happy and satisfied customer due to lack of meeting latent desire and at the same time a delighted and satisfied customer may also not be happy due lack of long-term relationship with services during product life cycle. The two most important things which lead to happiness of customer are services and relationship.
The idea that companies must “delight” their customers has become so deeply entrenched that managers rarely examine it. But one should ask this question that how often someone patronize a company specifically because of its over the-top service. Now ask yourself how often do consumers cut companies loose because of terrible service. Consumers’ impulse to punish bad service, quicker than it is to reward delightfulness. Service failures not only drive existing customers to defect—they also can repel prospective ones.
“Loyalty” is customers’ intention to continue doing business with a company, increase their business, or say good things about it (or refrain from saying bad things). How important is customer service to loyalty? Which customer service activities increase loyalty, and which don’t? Can companies increase loyalty without raising their customer service operating costs? Two critical factors affect every company’s customer service strategy. First, delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty but reducing their effort, the work they must do to get their problem solved does. Second, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, improve relationship and decrease customer churn.
Another way to think about the sources of customer loyalty is to imagine two pies—one containing things that drive loyalty and the other containing things that drive disloyalty. The loyalty pie consists largely of slices such as product quality, cost and brand, the slice for service is quite small. But service accounts for most of the disloyalty pie. Customers buy from a company because it delivers quality products, great value, or a compelling brand. They leave one, more often than not, because it fails to deliver on customer service.
Many modern companies that had successfully implemented low-customer-effort approaches to service have used the following approaches.
- Not only resolve the current issues but head off to anticipated ones.
- Address the emotional side of customer interactions
- Minimize channel switching by increasing self-service module
- Use feedback system for customers to reduce customer effort.
- Empower the front line executives to deliver a low-effort experience for customers
- Establishing customer relationship cells
With time, the customer expectations have shifted from good quality product and competitive prices, as these two are implicit in every business transaction to service, something (Service) which is limitless and most sought in the modern industry context.
Several studies show that 20% of the “satisfied” customers said they intended to leave the company in question while 28% of the “dissatisfied” customers intended to stay (Due to services).
Delight and satisfaction are not good enough for customer loyalty, the only one thing that makes customer happy and loyal is SERVICE. The latent desire of customer is always fulfilled by low cost service with reliable long term relations.