Organizational Hierarchy of Needs: Customer Satisfaction
When an organization has satisfied its People First level, it is able to focus on Customer Satisfaction. At its face value, customer satisfaction means meeting the needs and reasonable expectations of customers. At this level, it is important to consider internal customers, as well as the external ones. Internal customers are the resources that support your external sales efforts.
When we achieve customer satisfaction consistently, we are providing good customer service. Unfortunately, with tough competition for products and services in markets, good customer service is not good enough.
In the book Raving Fans1, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles say you're in danger of becoming obsolete if you have “satisfied customers.” To stay ahead of your competition, you need to create “raving fans.” You need to create a level of customer service, to all customers all the time, that is so unique your customers become “raving fans” of your business, talking about their fantastic experiences at every given opportunity.
The authors describe three secrets that, if embraced, will allow the organization to create a truly unique customer service experience for their business.
Secret 1: Define the customer service vision. Creating a vision of your future customer service model centered on your customers will take time and effort. However, without it, you will not be able to communicate your vision across the organization.
Secret 2: Discover what the customer wants. Your customer service is part of your product. Make sure that you are molding your product to the customer and not trying to mold your customer to the product. Get feedback from customers and be prepared to alter your vision in response to your customer’s feedback. You will also decide which customer needs you will service, and which customer needs you will not service. You cannot be all things to all people.
Secret 3: Deliver your vision plus one percent. To create a “raving fan” you need to exceed on delivery of your customer service promise each time the customer deals with you. Consistency creates credibility. Systems and training are required to build your vision into the culture of the company. Customer expectations don’t remain static so be prepared to continually enhance your vision.
Another complimentary book is Fish!2. This book discusses how to create a work environment that supports the customer service vision. The main principles are:
Be There. Be emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.
Play. Tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic, and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” You can bring this mindset to everything you do.
Make Their Day. Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life—not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.
Choose Your Attitude. Take responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Your choice affects others. Ask yourself: “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”
The goal of the Customer Satisfaction level is to create a customer service experience that makes a customer for life. Coupled with our People First focus, it creates a Company Culture that identifies and differentiates the organization in the marketplace.
1Blanchard, Ken and Sheldon Bowles (1993) Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, Morrow, New York, NY ISBN 0-688-12316-3
2Lunden PhD, Stephen C, Harry Paul, and John Christensen (2000) Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, Hyperion, 77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023-6298 ISBN 0-7868-6602-0