There are various ways to define total customer satisfaction. However, the underlining fact is very clear – You need to try to make your customer as happy as possible with the brand. I am specifically mentioning the brand and not the product, because the brand has a huge scope when compared to a product, and your objective as a marketing manager should be to keep a holistic eye instead of having tunnel vision.
The development of total customer satisfaction starts from the moment he decides to purchase a product. Now, even the customer has no idea which product he is going to purchase. This decision depends on many factors, one of the primary factors being the customer and his behaviors, attitude, lifestyle etc. Because of these inherent characteristics, the customer forms an expectation of the product, and then based on these expectations he purchases the products from the company.
Customer expectations are tricky to manage. Expectations come from the buyer’s past experiences, word of mouth from family and friends, and expectation due to the marketing by the company also. If the marketing manager raises the expectations too high, then many customers might be disappointed. On the other hand, keep the expectations low, and the customer might shift to another brand. Thus, managing customer expectations is important to get total customer satisfaction.
In essence, you cannot tell which customer will be satisfied with what. If you give a product which lasts for a year, some customers might be delighted with it whereas others will want a product which works for 10 years and will scoff at your product. So, ultimately, the level of customer satisfaction primarily depends on the customer himself.
Furthermore, there are two different types of customers a firm has. One is the customer in the market, who can be made happy when you give discounts, give high value products or in general provide them products matching or even above their expectations. The other customers are the internal share holders. Now these customers are completely different, and making them happy is also important to the company.
So, if you suddenly bring a price discount which is not needed, the external customers will be more then happy, but this will be a surprise to the internal customers. Because this discount is coming out of the companies pocket and it is the company which is losing margins. So, if you want to launch a discount, you need to launch it at such a time that it helps the external customer in taking decisions and it also keeps the internal customers happy by achieving higher sales. That’s when you have achieved total customer satisfaction in the true sense.
Alternatively, here are some steps which can be taken to get total customer satisfaction from whatever product or brand you are managing.
- Give products which are value for money and meet the requirements of the customer. For this to happen, you need to have a clear mindset on Who your customer is?
- Remember the difference between the customer service motto of “satisfied, delighted and exceeds expectations”. If you want total customer satisfaction, you need to aim for exceeds expectation (Basically you need to give your best shot)
- Invest time and money to cover loopholes especially in manufacturing, R&D and other such back end processes which ultimately strengthen the market and give confidence to the customer.
- Customer care is the most important part of customer satisfaction post purchase
- Measure customer satisfaction regularly to ensure that motivation levels are high
- Take feedback so that you can find out the most demanded attribute in the market for a particular product. And ensure that you make the changes to retain the future customers.
These are off course, just some steps and each manager can decide on the best way to do it based on his business as well as based on his customers.
Achieving total customer satisfaction is generally possible for firms which have been in the market for a long time, from whom customers expect a lot, and still the company keeps delivering on these expectations. That is when a firm achieves true total customer satisfaction. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Coke, Adidas and other such companies are known to achieve these levels of customer satisfaction.