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Six Factors that Shape Customer Satisfaction

March 23, 2012

From E-Myth Worldwide

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By Judith Lerner, E-Myth Business Coach

Look at one of the big car company websites or magazine ads.Customer Service Rep

Some vehicles are posed in an outdoor setting of some kind – a muddy back road or a rocky beach.

Others are superimposed in the foreground of a cartoon-like landscape or a neighborhood or a mall parking lot.  Many are simply shown on a colored backdrop.

Focusing just on the background in these images, ask yourself:  “What kind of message is this setting intended to convey? Who is the target audience?”

Drill down to the tag lines, the color choices and overall palette of both the layout and vehicle; check the font choices, and abstract shapes.  Every single element intentionally highlights and accentuates a difference between one vehicle and the next – one buyer and the next – according to your perceptions.

Communicating Your Promise

What you can be sure of is that every element on every page of this website or magazine ad is informed by a strategy that has been developed through market research and analysis. The last detail of each vehicle’s design, every word, every shadow (mud on the tire and a fine layer of dust on the hood), is there for a reason.  It is painstakingly designed to communicate and capture the attention of a particular targeted segment of the car buying population.

So, how does that relate to you and your business?

Using E-Myth’s organizing guide of the Seven Centers of Management Attention, you can make some big decisions in the Leadership center regarding your intentions about the purpose and spirit of your company.

In the Marketing center, you can gather information and form conclusions about who your best customers are.  Armed with that intelligence, promises are made in Lead Generation and confirmed in Lead Conversion. Client Fulfillment delivers on these promises.

What Promises?

Your Promises describe the result of your unique customer experience.

Your Promise is what differentiates you from your competition.

Your Promise is the intersection where your vision, your marketing intelligence, and your Client Fulfillment meet.

It is your brand.

Based on what you’ve discovered about your clients’ needs and preferences, your Brand seeks to present the best possible product offering for your business in the eyes of your intended customer.

The Six Elements of Your Promise

Your customer experiences and evaluates your product through six key attributes:

Your product’s functionality

Its sensory impact

Unconscious association elicited by your product

Conscious conclusions and assumptions they have about your product

Their concerns about price and perception of value

Your accessibility and the convenience of working with you

These things are important to your customers and they are important to you – they are perceptions you can shape and manage.

When you combine your knowledge of your customers’ experience and perceptions with your imaginative mind, you have an important opportunity to define, what would be for them, an ideal product.

The Most Important Product

Keep in mind that your “product” is the result of the value you add to something else. Your customer is not necessarily just buying the thing or service you sell…it’s the totality of the shopping/buying experience.  The more your goods are the same as everyone else’s, the more your business itself must be the perfect product that attracts them.

Amazon started out selling books.  Talk about a commodity item.  Aside from long standing community based bookstores, big name bookstore chains were sprouting up on Main Street with high end coffee shops attached.  Who would think there was a need for another way to buy books?

It’s easy to imagine (now) how someone looking to add value to some already existing commodity by way of those six key attributes could integrate books with the web.

Three key attributes immediately stand out:

Functionality

Price/value

Access/convenience

Shaping the Buying Experience

Remember, the importance of the key attributes to you is that you can shape them.  In the case of Amazon, one of the things they do to shape the value of the buying experience is that they proactively set customer expectations.

Make a purchase of $25 or more, and you can choose a free shipping option.  It takes more time than if you pay for shipping, but unless you are in a big hurry, what’s a couple of days?  And here’s the hook: aside from recognizable “heavy shipping” periods (like gift giving holidays), you can still count on your orders arriving in a day or two.

They under-promise five days and over-deliver in two – adding to what is already perceived as a value in terms of price and convenience.  If you have a computer, a credit card, and can click a mouse, you have a level of functional ease, value, access, and convenience that epitomizes the 21st century’s version of “Let your fingers do the walking.”

And they didn’t ignore the other three key attributes either.

My unconscious association that buying stuff online is risky is tempered by their claims of a secure server, or Paypal, or my credit card’s own fraud protection features.

My ability to click through a screen shot of the table of contents, selected chapters, and the front and back covers and even peruse a collection of reviews, satisfies both my conscious conclusions that I need to see it before I buy as well as my need for a positive sensory impact.

They did it all!

Now You Do It.

What is your Promise?  How does your Brand express it?  How do you assure your ability to deliver on it?

It is all important and it can all fit together elegantly.

Supporting you in connecting the dots is why we are here.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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