We should start with the definitions of satisfaction, delight and loyalty. According to the dictionary, satisfaction is defined as, the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation. Delight is, to take great pleasure or joy. Loyalty is having the feelings of allegiance. These three simple words have a slightly different meaning, but all have a significant impact on the attitudes and behaviors of customers.
Barry Berman and Ken Blanchard have been studying the differences of satisfaction and delight. They concluded if you can move customers from being simply satisfied to delighted, the business benefits are enormous. Companies, who have delighted customers, have created customer loyalty. Walker Information “has conducted studies that have shown convincing correlations between customer loyalty and profit margins, growth rates, and other measures of market value .
Blanchard’s view (2007 – Leading at a Higher Level) is that companies need to go beyond simple satisfaction to retain customers and attract new ones. To do that, he developed a methodology that focuses on creating raving fans, which focuses in the area “decide, discover and deliver plus one percent. His concluded that was to create raving fans a company has to deliver on the customers expectations and exceed it. He used the example where a customer forgot a presentation at the hotel. An employee then flew to Hawaii to hand deliverer it the customer. The customer was overwhelmed by the experience and the personal touch. It would be easy to see why this customer is now a raving fan and well beyond any level of mere satisfaction.
Berman (2005- How to Delight your Customers) was focused on taking satisfied customers to a state of delight. He concluded that satisfaction is based on fulfilling the expected while delight occurs from the unexpected. His belief was to link an emotional experience with the customer to create an emotionally positive and memorable experience. Berman’s study found a critical difference between satisfied vs. delighted. A customer that was delighted was eighty-six percent more likely to buy again as compared to twenty-nine percent that were only satisfied. Delighting customers is a win for the customers, provides a competitive advantage and results in increased sales and profit for the company.
Creating a customer for life requires companies to take their customers to the next level. You need to take the relationship with customers from casual to a more intimate relationship of loyalty. You do that by creating raving fans and delighting them well beyond their expectations. In a study by Heskett (1994 - Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work) estimated that a five percent increase in loyalty can produce an increase in profits from twenty-five percent to eighty-five percent.
There is a significant difference between satisfied and delighted customers. Delighted customers will be more loyal and a business can create create customers for life. The key for businesses is determine the right customer experience for the right return.
This post was written by Fred J. Cuen on February 3, 2009