Executive Education

How to turn customers into Ambassadors by mastering Customer Appreciation

Darrell Hardidge

Smart businesses are becoming very aware of the need to optimise their customer service and customer experience (CX); those who have unshakable customer loyalty can withstand the unexpected and inevitable business hurdles that can occur. We live in a dynamic and complicated world where consumers have more choice at their fingertips than ever before and the ability to stand out from the competition is a constantly moving target.

For most the idea of delivering a standard customer satisfaction is still their belief to maintaining loyalty. However the market has changed and a new measurement of expectation is emerging. Satisfaction as a measurement is assessing the ability to deliver what customers are paying for and what they expect, it’s a head connection. Delivering a standard of satisfaction needs to be viewed as “opposed to what, 80% satisfied?’ you’re no more than a transaction. Satisfaction is just the starting line in the race of customer loyalty.

If you’re not remarkable you’re not memorable, and if you’re not remembered you have to spend money getting them back. The most expensive part of customer acquisition is the first sale, every time they come back their acquisition cost gets cheaper. It’s 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 also a greater level of emotional connection. In business this is the new strategy to optimise customer loyalty, you have to discover WHY your market appreciates you.

Satisfaction is measured with stock, delivery, price, convenience, etc. Appreciation is measured with friendly, helpful, understanding needs, trust, communication. It’s easier for a competition to match with satisfaction than it ever will be with appreciation. Satisfaction is often a process driven metric, Appreciation is a culture driven metric. We are loyal to people because of how they make us feel, safe, supported, trusted, helpful, friendly, business is exactly the same.

Your team culture and training need to be focused on achieving customer appreciation, and you must understand what defines your own standard of appreciation. Appreciation is individual to every business, don’t ever settle for generic drivers of customer appreciation. Appreciation will define with clarity the identity of your business from an independent market perspective, those who determine your future success, your customers.

Customer Appreciation delivers the highest KPI’s possible in business. It clearly defines, repeat business, referrals, wallet share, value for money, and massively reduces the risk to future customer revenue. From over 500,000 phone interviews using the Net Promotor Score the data is compelling:

  • Appreciation 91% assurance on repeat business whereas Satisfaction is only 48%
  • Appreciation 4:1 ratio on referrals whereas Satisfaction is only 1:1 ratio
  • Appreciation on value for money is all about experience whereas Satisfaction on value for money is all about price
  • Appreciation on wallet share is exclusive supply whereas Satisfaction is about price

The hidden benefit of achieving customer appreciation is the positive impact it has on the 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 ensure your success.

The secret weapon behind achieving customer appreciation is a distinction that’s often missing in a business, you either have it or you don’t. It can’t be taught, yet all leading businesses have it.

The distinction is: Your drive and desire to enhance yourself and your business in every respect to operate at an optimal level to be No.1.

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

Different isn’t always better but better is always different, Customer Appreciation defines both with clarity.

The Verdict

Customer Satisfaction is a price driven economy, a very fragile and unforgiving market place to operate in. Customer Appreciation is a value driven economy, a very secure and predictable space from customers who genuinely want you to succeed.

True Customer Appreciation creates an “Unshakable Emotional Connection” to your business that ensures you have the most powerful advocates who will go out of their way to support you.

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Darrell Hardidge
Darrell Hardidge is a customer experience strategy expert and CEO of customer research company Saguity, specialising in driving revenue growth from customer appreciation. Darrell is the author of The Client Revolution and The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation. Darrell is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.