People sometimes say (in fact I have said) that satisfying customers is easy—all you have to do is consistently give customers what they say they want. This is, in itself, not as easy as it first sounds. Meeting customers' requirements flawlessly every time is a task beyond most of us. Still, perhaps good companies achieve it almost all the time—shall we say 95% of the time?
What happens when you give customers what they expected? They are satisfied...but satisfied is a relatively lukewarm word isn't it? A solid 8 out of 10. Good, but not great. How often do we create really high levels of satisfaction, giving customers a more positive sense of delight with their experience, a 9 or 10 out of 10? Let's say a good company manages 9 20% of the time and 10 5% of the time.
Let's make some assunptions and play with some numbers. Our typical, good, company is dissatisfying only 5% of its customers—let's assume they give us an average score of 5 out of 10. Then we have our 8s out of 10 (70%), 9s (20%) and 10s (5%). Sounds like a company doing pretty well? It works out as an average satisfaction index of 81.5—just above halfway up our league table.
These numbers are pretty meaningless—they're based on all sorts of generalisations and untenable assumptions that have little relevance for you business—but what I'm trying to demonstrate is that the typical performance of organisations we deal with is actually pretty good.
How hard is it to get this company's index up towards 90? What if we kept our 5% dissatisfied, but managed to have 20% 10s and 40% 9s (leaving us 35% 8s)? Pause for a second to guess what index that would come at as. The answer is 86.5, which I suspect is lower than you guessed.
So what point am I trying to make? In a nutshell, companies who have very high satisfaction indexes are very, very, good. They get to the top of the league table because the majority of their customers are scoring them 9 or 10 out of 10 for nearly everything. Being that good takes commitment and drive that verge on obsesssion.