At a Salesforce.com event last week, one of the presenters quoted research by the Executive Board that suggests that you get better ROI from keeping a customer satisfied than by trying to delight or exceed a customer’s expectations. According to the research, an unhappy customer will tell 7 other people about a bad experience whereas a happy customer will only tell 3 others about a positive experience.
The rationale for wanting to delight customers often sounds like this: ‘If we delight our customers they won’t churn and they will become evangelists and recommend us to others.’ Given the research findings, it's better to meet customer expectations before you try to exceed them.
Your community can improve customer support performance metrics such as time to resolution and effort to resolution. Being good at support keeps customers satisfied but doesn’t delight them. Should we focus our customer community on satisfaction and not try to go beyond that?
In our everyday lives we often get unsolicited product recommendations from friends, family and colleagues who have been delighted by a product or service. A colleague of mine was raving about the AeroPress coffee maker on Twitter the other day. What got him so excited was the product itself, not the customer service.
Where a customer community can help delight customers is not when it helps with customer service issues but when it becomes an attribute of the product or service itself. If the community enhances the product experience by making it more useful or by making the product experience more social, then the community can indeed help delight your customers.
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