Do you agree with these statements?
- If your customer trusts your company, they will be more likely to place a higher percentage of their business with you both now and in the future.
- Satisfaction with a product or service is not as motivating as appreciation for that same product or service.
- Trust is much higher when someone appreciates you and your company.
Satisfaction is not enough to assure loyalty. A satisfied customer can be lured away by a competitor much easier than a customer who appreciates you, your company, and your products and services. Appreciation is a positive emotional response whereas satisfaction is more an evaluation of meeting expectations. If customer’s expectations are met it is not necessarily a predictor of future decisions to continue the relationship.
There are four levels of customer appreciation. A supplier must meet each level before moving up to the next level in order to increase the appreciation level. A supplier cannot skip a level and expect the customer to appreciate the product or service.
Level 1: Meet Expectations
A supplier understands the basic elements and characteristics of what the customer is looking to receive with the delivery of the product or service. These expectations are defined by the entire experience and not just the specific product or service purchased.
Example: If you rent a hotel room, when you enter the bathroom you can expect to see it to be clean, all light bulbs are working, there are towels and the shower will deliver hot water. This is only a partial list.
Level 2: Fulfill Requests
When a customer makes a request he/she expects to receive it in a timely manner, with the proper quality, and in a complete manner. A request becomes an expectation once the supplier agrees to deliver by a certain time.
Example: If you rent a hotel room and desire additional towels you will request them from the front desk or housekeeping. If the hotel employee agrees to being them up shortly, you will then expect them “shortly (whatever shortly means to you).
Level 3: Anticipate to make Suggestions
When a customer makes consistent requests and has consistent expectations this pattern may suggest a change in service delivery or product quality. A suggestion is an innovation. It is never requested specifically by the customer. It requires interpretation of data by the supplier and the supplier is proactive (not reactive) in the delivery of this level.
Example: If you rent a hotel room for two days and desire additional towels the first day, a hotel employee might interpret that as a need to deliver additional towels to you on the second day as well. If the employee calls you and asks if you want additional towels before you can make the request yourself, this would be an example of a level three.
Level 4: A Little “Unexpected” Extra
This is when a customer receives a product or service that is completely unexpected and enhances the value of the total experience with the supplier. It is a completely appropriate and consistent enhancement of the overall experience and the basic expectations most often delivered by the supplier.
Example: If you rent a hotel room and open the closet you unexpectedly see an embroidered bathrobe for you to wear during your stay.