Four Levels of Customer Satisfaction

I recently read Brian Tracy’s book Reinvention: How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. One of the things he wrote in the book jumped out at me because it was something I had been complaining about regarding one store in which I shop. He wrote about the four levels of customer satisfaction.

The first level is to meet your customer’s expectations. This is the lowest level of customer satisfaction. The second level is to exceed your customer’s expectations. This level leads to growth and profitability for your business. The third level is to delight your customers. This causes them to enjoy doing business with you. The fourth, and highest level, is to amaze your customers. Not only will they want to continue doing business with you, they will encourage others to do so as well.

Tracy writes that every day owners and leaders in their businesses need to be looking for ways to meet all four levels of customer satisfaction, but the majority of the time should be focusing on the last three levels. It is there that your greatest opportunities for growth and profitability will be found.

My recent complaints about a big box store where I shop is that it is not a fun place in which to do business. In our small community it is one of the few options we have, but nearly everyone talks about how much they dislike going there. Several have told me they now use this store almost like a convenience store going there only when they have to, but they do most of their shopping an hour’s drive away. That is how much they dislike shopping in this particular store. Obviously, for many potential customers of this business, this store is failing to meet even the minimum of their expectations.

Why do people feel this way about this store? There are numerous reasons that makes this store an unpleasant place to shop. The store is seriously understaffed. It is difficult to find anyone to provide any type of customer service. The checkout lines are often long. Many of the employees and managers have less than pleasant attitudes. The other day I was waiting to check out and looked around at the various people in the store. They all looked like they would just as soon be sitting in their dentist’s office for a root canal. They were there because they had few other options. I didn’t see one person who looked like they enjoyed being there.

This store didn’t used to be this way. There was a time when it was enjoyable to shop there. The managers and employees seemed to enjoy what they were doing, and customer service was usually good. That is no longer the case.

Some questions each business owner and manager must ask is “Do our customers enjoy doing business with us? Are we a fun place in which our clients have their needs met? What level of customer satisfaction are we providing on a constant basis? What steps do we need to take to achieve the next level, and how will we maintain that level once we reach it?”

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