Necessary But Not Sufficient
"Necessary But Not Sufficient" - I first heard this phrase used by Knell Nordstrom, the Swedish Economist, who used it to describe the many things that used to make worthwhile differences to business performance and results - but no longer do. It’s haunted me ever since and I’ve found many uses for it.
Most of these uses relate to my work helping organisations find ways to build customer loyalty. There are numerous things that used to make a difference, but as markets have got more competitive and customers have become more demanding, they no longer do. So here are a few of the main things that I think now fall into this category of still being necessary, but which are no longer sufficient to create worthwhile, lasting customer loyalty.
I think it’s well known now (or at least it should be) that satisfied customers are not automatically loyal. Dissatisfied customers are certainly likely to be disloyal, but the converse does not apply. Numerous research projects have found little or no direct connection between a customers’ feeling of satisfaction and the likelihood of them becoming loyal in the future. That’s why I am always disappointed to find organisations that are spending money on Customer Satisfaction Research when there are many other things that can be researched that are proven to relate to loyalty.
On Time - In Full (Invoice Correct) – OTIF(IC)
OTIF(IC) is a measure used by many organisations. And it’s an essential one because late, incomplete deliveries with incorrect invoices are certainly going to make customers disloyal.
But here again, the converse does not apply. Doing what you promised to do will create satisfaction, but we know that does not link to loyalty. So, do ensure you can do OTIF(IC), but don’t stop there – it’s not enough to build loyalty.
Customer Service Training
There’s a common belief that the training customer service people receive is the key to success. But I don’t agree with that. All my experience shows that their recruitment is far more important than their training. What I mean by this is that if you don’t have the right people serving customers; that’s people with a natural talent for it; no amount of training, no matter how good it is, will turn them into the right people for the job. So, Customer Service Training may be necessary, but it’s not the key, and therefore is not sufficient to ensure great service is experienced by customers.
I’m often asked if I can provide training for people on the front line. The answer is of course, yes. However, I usually then go on to question the judgement of starting with the people on the front-line. That’s because in many situations, the root cause of service problems is not on the front line; it’s with the people and/or processes deeper in the organisation. So, it’s then advisable to start the training, or better still the education, there. So, front line training may be necessary at some time, but in many cases, it’s the wrong place to start, and so is not enough.
Customer Experience Management
This will probably be a contentious one, because many organisations have invested much time and resources in it. But psychologists like the Nobel Prize winning Daniel Kahneman, tell us that we do not make decisions based on experiences. We make decisions based on either our expectations of what the experiences will be like, or our memory of those experiences from the past. So, Customer Experience Management is important, but it’s not enough. I believe that Customer Expectation Management and Customer Memory Management are also necessary – and even more important in building customer loyalty. Collectively I call these skills Customer Loyalty Management.
Customer Loyalty Management
So, there are my top 5 things which I believe are Necessary but Not Sufficient to create worthwhile customer loyalty. If you’d like to learn more about how to improve Customer Experience and Customer Loyalty for your business, all about...Loyalty team is here to help you, with my guidance.
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