Two Facets of Customer Satisfaction: Technical and Emotional

It’s a given that customer satisfaction is essential to sustained business growth.  You can’t stay in business long if customers don’t like you.  Many business leaders, unfortunately, only focus on lagging satisfaction indicators identified through customer surveys.  Yes, that gives companies opportunities to fix important customer issues.  But the damage is already done.  Wouldn’t it be better to take a look at what happens throughout the entire customer experience?

I believe there are two facets of customer satisfaction that need to be baked into business processes to allow companies to be more successful in attracting and maintaining a loyal customer base – technical quality and emotional attachment:

1. Technical Quality

Technical solutions should be designed for customers, not just their needs.  Duh.  Why don’t some companies get that?  All I wanted to do was buy a simple light for my bike so I could ride safer.  It’s basically a little red light you attach to the back of your bike to help prevent texting drivers from turning you into roadkill.  I avoided the $90 version because that’s a ridiculous amount of money and bought a less expensive one.  Then I found it had no adapter, a too-short recharging cord, and a battery that didn’t last through one ride.  I couldn’t get my money back.  Ugh.  Tricked again.

But you’re in a great company that produces great technical solutions.  Your products and services are well thought out and beautifully designed.  They’re durable and user-friendly.  Your products and services are like utilities – there when the customer turns them on.  But they’re so good that people take them for granted.  Your sales are flat.  And when things go wrong with your technical solutions, which doesn’t happen very often, you’re not prepared to respond well.  Your reputation can suffer because pent-up customer rage at having to spend good money on a crappy bike light is directed at you.  What’s happening here?  It’s raw emotions getting the upper hand over great technology.  And with that, customer satisfaction plummets.

2. Emotional Attachment

Your marketing department likely spends a lot of time positioning your products and services to appeal to the emotions of your ideal customer group.  That’s the front end of the sale.  What about the follow-up?  Don’t customer emotions come into play there as well?  They sure do and can reap additional revenues.  Over the past few years, I’ve gone to one particular company for all my digital communications needs.  I like them.  

I used to buy from another company which had equivalent products and services.  One day I bought their new model computer.  It had high ratings and was beautifully designed.  I loved it until setup.  It came without the requisite installed software needed to set up the computer online.  I spent hours with technicians on the phone who implied I must be doing something wrong.  It was a lengthy, frustrating, painful, and wasteful experience.  I bolted from them.  Contrast that to a similar experience with my favorite company.  When I had a problem they fixed it immediately, apologized, and sent me another gadget free of charge.  I trust this company and am loyal to them, even though they screwed up just like the other one.

The lesson is obvious.  Great technology is only one facet of great customer satisfaction.  You also need to build great emotional attachment throughout the entire customer experience.

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