Smart businesses are becoming acutely aware of the urgent need to optimise their customer service and customer experience (CX). Those who have unshakable customer loyalty can withstand the unexpected and inevitable business hurdles caused by COVID-19.

For most, delivering a standard of customer satisfaction is the way to maintain loyalty. However, the market has changed, and a new measurement of expectation is emerging out of this pandemic economy.

Customer satisfaction as a service experience measurement is merely assessing the ability to deliver what customers are paying for and what they expect. Satisfaction is just the starting line in the race of customer loyalty. A new COVID-19 environment is emerging in CX, and every business must understand how their customers want them to change and how they want them to communicate. The rules of engagement have changed, and potentially they are permanent.

Being remarkable

If you’re not remarkable, you’re not memorable. If you’re not remembered, you have to spend money getting customers to return. The most expensive part of customer acquisition is the first sale. Every time a customer comes back, their acquisition cost gets cheaper. It’s in knowing how to cause repeat business that will optimise margins.

If you think about the word ‘appreciation’ and the people you appreciate, there is a heart connection and a higher level of emotional connection. In business, this is the new strategy to optimise customer loyalty. You have to discover why your market appreciates you and then be able to deliver upon it with high prediction.

Satisfaction is measured by stock availability, delivery, price and convenience. Appreciation is measured by friendliness, helpfulness, understanding needs, trust, communication and patience.

Satisfaction is a process-driven metric. Appreciation is a culture-driven metric. It’s easier for a competitor to match your service standards with satisfaction than it ever will be with appreciation.

We are loyal to people because of how they make us feel—whether that be safe, supported, trusted, helpful or friendly—and business is exactly the same. The new COVID-19 CX economy is evolving, and the heart connection is essential if you want to stay out of the price trap.

Measuring appreciation

Your culture and team training sessions need to focus on achieving customer appreciation, and you must understand what defines your unique standard of appreciation. Appreciation is individual to every business; it defines your character. Don’t ever settle for generic drivers of customer appreciation. Appreciation can  be defined from only an independent market perspective and your customer base. Your team can’t determine what the market appreciates; that’s an arrogant assumption and very risky.

Customer appreciation delivers the highest KPIs possible in business. It clearly defines repeat business, referrals, wallet share and value for money and massively reduces the risk of declining customer revenue.

Net Promoter Score is a very effective tool that gauges the loyalty of a company’s customer relationships, as long as it’s implemented correctly. The data from over 500,000 phone interviews using this tool is compelling:

  • Appreciation delivers a 91% assurance on repeat business whereas satisfaction offers only 48%;
  • Appreciation has a 6-to-1 ratio on referrals whereas satisfaction has only a 1-to-1 ratio;
  • Appreciation on value for money is all about experience whereas satisfaction on value for money is all about price; and
  • Appreciation on wallet share is exclusive supply whereas satisfaction is about price shopping

A hidden benefit

The hidden benefit of achieving customer appreciation is the positive impact it has on team dynamics. When customers appreciate you, they treat you like a valued friend. They care about you. They go out of their way to support you. In many ways, they need you to be there for them, and therefore they ensure your success. It yas never been more critical than now to have your market focused on supporting your business.

The secret weapon behind achieving customer appreciation is a distinction that’s often missing in business. You either have it or you don’t. It can’t be taught. But all leading companies have it. Their distinction is their drive and desire to enhance themselves and their business in every respect to operate at an optimal level to be number one.

The path to market dominance is never made by those who accept the status quo or who are content with ‘satisfied’. Only those with the drive and desire to be the best can attempt to achieve the standard of appreciation.

The road to success is often paved with great inconvenience. There is no luck. It is carefully engineered processes covering all parts of the operation that are geared towards achieving client appreciation. It’s a predictable pattern that, when followed, will produce profound results in a company’s bottom line.

The size or form of your business doesn’t matter—single location, franchise, dealership, multiple sites, large sales team or small. Customer appreciation is highly relevant to every company. Customer appreciation will ensure your greatness.

“Being cheap won’t make you great, but being the greatest will make you cheap.” ™