Do you remember the days when customer satisfaction was what we aimed for in business? When “Good” or maybe even “Excellent” was the marker of success that board rooms hoped for?
Those days are in the past.
Technology, the internet in particular, has changed the world and it’s changed the bar for success with customers.
Social media in particular has had a huge effect, and I use that term in its widest sense. Not just Facebook and Twitter but actually the whole concept of user-generated content, reviews, ratings and comments. It’s a much more social world than it ever was and customers have real power now. Just a few years ago we could look for customer reviews on TripAdvisor or Feefo, now that appear right in the Google search results – new customers see the reviews of existing customers before they even visit our website.
Customer “satisfaction” just isn’t enough.
The best companies, the most ambitious companies and the companies in the toughest markets, they realized years ago that customer satisfaction just isn’t enough – the bar has to be higher. Those companies realized that to grow, to thrive, to survive even, they needed customers to love them, to love their products. They needed customers to advocate for them, to spread the world, to sell for them!
Dharmesh Shah & Brian Halligan and the team at Hubspot are pioneering an entire industry around helping companies to leverage and amplify the advocacy and goodwill that comes from positive customer connections. Dharmesh even coined a new term “Delightion” to mark the feeling someone has when they are so enthused about a brand or product they feel compelled to share widely and spread the word.
And that means that employee “satisfaction” just can’t be enough.
A much higher bar for customer success demands a much higher bar for employee success.
How on earth can you create customer love if you only have employee satisfaction?
If we want customers to love our products and brands, if we want them to evangelize for us and spread the word then they have to not only be delighted with both our products and our services but they also need to buy into the whole concept of our brand, they need to buy into the “Why” and the “What” of what we are doing.
The standard required for products, services, processes, brands to deliver that is huge. And how on earth could you meet that standard with a disengaged workforce that just comes to work to do the basics, not get fired and collect a pay cheque?
We know that happy, engaged employees build better, more productive, more innovative and more resilient organizations. We know that engaged employees perform better :
- Engaged employees make better decisions
they do this because fundamentally they understand more about the direction the company is going in and more about how their role supports that direction.
- Engaged employees are more productive
they’re more productive not because they work longer hours but because they love what they’re doing so they get less distracted and the focus and intensity of what they do is greater
- Engaged employees innovate more
they innovate more because they genuinely want their organization to succeed. I know that innovation is personally expensive – it invites failure and as a result it is only truly practiced by people who care about their company.
A good culture ensures that your employees and your leadership will be on the same page, working together to create, as Dharmesh would say, “customer delightion“.
Your employees won’t be able to delight your customers if they don’t understand and believe in everything your organization is doing. But if your employees believe in what you’re doing and want you to succeed, they will pass along that passion to your customers.
The desire, the need for customer love, for customer advocacy – its another reason why employee engagement is no longer an option. It’s becoming an urgency.
Understanding the new power of customers
The video below is one of my favorites from Hubspot, speaking to marketeers it does a great job of explaining the power that customers have now.