How Expectations Influence Customer Loyalty
I’m keen to help the people and organisations I work with understand how to deliver Customer Experiences that will build Long Term Loyalty. But I’m even more keen to help them understand that there’s more to it that just what has become known as Customer Experience Management.
That’s because I am convinced that there is thread, like a DNA chain, that must be in place if Sustainable Customer Loyalty is to result. That thread starts with the customer’s Expectation of what will happen, it then moves on to the Experience of what actually happens, and it ends with the Memory of what did happen, which is often not the same as the actual Experience. Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winning psychologist, tells us that we do not make decisions based on Experiences but that we make them based on our Expectations of future Experiences and our Memories of past ones. So I’m convinced that Customer Experience Management and Customer Memory Management are the most important Customer Loyalty Management skills to learn. That’s why they are a key focus, when we work with a business for a particular project.
I had a personal experience of this just a few days ago. I was booked to stay somewhere I had not been before and my expectation was that it would not be very good. But it was the only suitable place in the area, so I had to book it. However, when I got there the reception and welcome were fantastic, the accommodation was much better that I had expected and the exceptional level of hospitality remained all through my stay. It actually was far from the best place I’d ever stayed, but I left with the feeling that I’d be happy to stay there again.
When I reflected on it during the journey home, I realised that had my expectation been different, I might have left with very a different memory of the experience and therefore a different feeling about whether I’d be happy to return. So my Expectation had influenced my Memory of the Experience.
My point is that we need to be very careful about the Expectations we give customers. It’s all too easy to make false or exaggerated promises and so build expectations that cannot be met by the actual Experience. And when this happens the Memory is one of disappointment and/or dissatisfaction, and so loyalty is damaged. It’s far better to ensure that the Experience is better that the Expectation, leaving a Positive Memory with the resulting boost to Customer Loyalty.
© Copyright Chris Daffy
- 8/4/2016:Focus on Experiences!
- 20/9/2016:The Right Approach to Customer Experience Management
- 31/1/2017:Passing thoughts - Customer Experience Stories
- 2/8/2016:Building Customer Loyalty