Customer Awareness and Customer Care

Customer care

A recent post by Bernadette Jiwa made me think about the difference between Customer Support, Customer Satisfaction and customer awareness/care.

The post articulates the importance and difference between both categories, which I completely agree and wanted to bring in my perspectives on the same.

Both customer satisfaction and customer support are targeted towards customers who are vocal about what they think and feel about the product or the company. A small subset of this are customer who are vocal because they care and want the business or the product to get better. All others in this set of customers are people who are not happy or are vocal only to resolve an issue and dont particularly care about the product or the business.

It is critical for a business to know who among these vocal customers are being vocal because they care. The business needs to listen to them, build a relationship with these customers.

However, it is even more critical for a business to understand what the other set of customers who are not being vocal think and feel about the product or the business. Most often, if i am happy about a product or a business, I just continue to buy or use the product and not bother about filling out a customer satisfaction survey or reach out to the support team. If i am not happy, i just dont bother buying or using the product again and dont bother giving a feedback.

One way that businesses can continue to grow their fans and customer base is by figuring out a way to care for customers who are not vocal about the product or business but do care about it by giving repeat businesses.

The difference between customer satisfaction and customer care is that one is post interaction and the other is how you interact. You cant change the customer satisfaction post facto but you can influence the customer satisfaction by caring for the customer. In order to do so, you need to be aware of the customers needs and wants and not just that of the vocal customers but also the non-vocal customers.

So, the question that i want to ask is the following:

Are we aware of our customers and do we really care about them and their needs? If yes, how can we continue to improve and if not, what can we do to become aware and care for them.

Customer Satisfaction Sucks !!!

Yes. That is right. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SUCKS!!!

In a networked world, customers today are spoilt by choice. Customer expectations are increasing every passing day. 

What was exceptional yesterday is expected today and will become irrelevant the day-after.  

World class customer experience is quickly becoming the price of entry.

Also, Satisfied customers are so boring.

&They do not demand more out of you (thereby not challenging you to continuously improve)
&They instill a sense of complacency in your organization (which in today’s fast paced world can be very dangerous)
&They do not go out of their way to promote your product/services (thereby not helping you add more customers)
&Usually, they are not your most profitable customers either (as they are satisfied for the very reason that they get what they want from you, which is a combination of low price, decent quality product/service)
&They resist change in the existing order (thereby making it difficult decision for your organization to implement the new change as your most satisfied customer will not like it). This is one single reason which kills so many new creative ideas in any organization.

So, what should you do instead?

&Seek out the most vocal un-satisfied customers that you have and find ways to engage with them. They will show you, the real improvement opportunities and will become raving fans if you are able to satisfy them.
&Seek out customers who are using your product/service in ways that it was not designed for. They will help you identify new markets for your products/services.
&Seek out customers who exhibit a different buying pattern from all your other customers. They will help you identify new customer segments and distribution channels for your product/service.

In order for you to be able to do these, you have to recruit, train and empower your customer facing employees to look out for these traits in their customers and to be able to actively engage with these customers in ways that befits the customer.

All this does not mean that you should not provide a good quality customers service. On the contrary, faster, cheaper and better products/services are the price-of-entry.

The only argument is that you should not be obsessed with customer satisfaction as this can be very misleading and harmful in the long term.

The time and effort you spend on creating and running customer satisfaction surveys (which only 30-40% of your customers respond to) can be better utilized somewhere else.