Creative thinking that delivers results

09 Jul

Customer satisfaction is much more than marketing speak

Written by: Ian Turner
customer satisfaction, customer service, customer expectations, marketing strategy, content strategy

I’ll be the first to admit it – my expectations around customer service are pretty high, both as a customer and as a service provider. I have a vision for what I believe is quality service and I constantly challenge myself to ensure these views are reasonable and realistic. When it comes to customer service, nothing irritates me more than those businesses that portray themselves as customer-centric and customer-first in all their marketing messages but then knowingly and consciously do the complete opposite.

Lesson to be learned

When developing a marketing and content strategy for my clients, one of the first things I do is try to understand their business and its unique characteristics. This enables me to convey their key messages more effectively from a marketing and content perspective. I do so by asking them to outline the values their business stands for. I will then ask for concrete examples on how they embody these values into their day-to-day activities, especially as it relates to their customers.

This is often where brands fall short and where there is a disconnect between their marketing promises and what they actually deliver. Simply put, their actions don’t speak nearly as loud their words! One of the worst things any company can do is overpromise and under-deliver. And in this age of hyper-competition and growing customer demands, this issue is now magnified ten-fold.

Customer satisfaction = Meeting customer expectations

It’s very easy to get carried away with promising your customers the world, the challenge is being able to deliver on them. Customers are very skeptical of businesses today and are looking for reasons to not trust you! If you make promises you can’t live up to or those that have a high risk of failing, expect your customers to jump all over you when you fall short and broadcast this to the world.

I recently hired a local plumber to do some work in our house based on a recommendation from a family member. When I looked at his website, I was ‘impressed’ by his claim that unlike many plumbers, he preferred to charge clients a flat fee versus an hourly rate so as not to drag out a job in order to increase his fees.

Sounds perfectly logical doesn’t it. Except for the fact that his rates are fairly high for starters (and likely higher than other plumbers). And to make matters worse, we’ve had to call him back to fix things he didn’t do properly through his ‘speedy’ practices on both occasions he did work in our home!

Make your brand promises real – and realistic

If there is one thing we can all learn from this example and the heightened customer expectations today is that brands need to keep things real at all times when communicating with their clients. There is no point exaggerating what you can do as customers will hold you fully accountable if you fall short of these expectations – and will either chastise you or ask to fix things fully. In either case you lose!

Put another way, the “KISS Principle” (Keep It Simple Stupid) applies today more than ever before. Be realistic in how you convey your marketing messages to your customers; focus on what you can consistently and realistically deliver. They will in turn reward you for your ability to deliver as promised and for meeting their expectations. And while much of this may not result in glowing social media posts or reviews, it will create something likely much more valuable – customer loyalty to your brand!