The last 4 years have required a focus on the here and now – as a result many have ignored the herein after. While the short term focus has been critical, businesses that want to grow need to understand and act upon the permanent changes in customer perceptions and resultant buying behaviors.

This begins a series of performance tips/blogs to illuminate the pathway forward for those who want to elevate business performance in today’s marketplace and win more business.

Change #1 – Satisfied Customers are Loyalty Neutral

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written and read about the importance of customer service and how to create a good service platform. The results of which are many businesses and individuals have many satisfied customers. The number of satisfied customers and to the degree they are satisfied is the typical bar by which most service platforms are measured. Although all this education and execution to create satisfied customers is well intentioned, it falls short for those who want to retain customers in today’s commoditized marketplace. Further, nearly every business touts that they provide service as a reason to do business with them. It is not. In reality in any industry or profession when a customer makes a purchase they expect to get service. Thus to simply say or deliver good or great service is no longer enough. Yes it may provide satisfied customers, but in today’s crowded marketplace a customer who is merely satisfied has demonstrated he/she is loyalty neutral.

The objective is to not just have satisfied customers but rather delighted advocates of and for your enterprise. Satisfied customers perhaps liked the transaction, the products or the interaction but nothing stands out in their mind. They tell people when asked, “Yes they were pretty good,” or “I am usually satisfied with them.”  But they don’t proactively tell others about you or your business. Hearing of, or given another opportunity to take their business elsewhere they likely will. They may be satisfied but they are certainly not delighted.

A delighted advocate on the other hand gives you rave reviews. They talk about the elevated experiences and personalized service they receive. They constantly advance your enterprise through their positive word of mouth. They continually talk about their fantastic experience and interactions with your business at every opportunity.

In Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles book, Raving Fans, they paint a picture about the importance of reengineering or improving the “moments of truth” when customers are in direct contact with your business. To paraphrase Blanchard and Bowles you need to exceed expectations each and every time the customer deals with you. When you do that you transform the customer and capture their loyalty. The result: customer retention and delighted advocates who are less concerned about price or fees and more importantly see, perceive and receive great value from you and your business. Consequently, they tell others in the marketplace. In reality, with clear open-minded assessment and a commitment from you and your team any business in any industry or market can elevate current customer experiences and interactions. Not just by delivering the expected but by delivering the exceptional all the time, every time.

To check your performance factors in this and other areas take the assessment quiz at

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