Customer Satisfaction Is Not Enough

Note from Michelle: Tessa Stowe’s newsletter is one I regularly read and highly recommend.  This article was great, and so true.  If you aren’t subscribed, there’s a link at the end you can click through to sign up!

©Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2008

If you have dissatisfied customers, will they keep buying from you? Probably not. If you have satisfied customers, will they keep buying from you? Maybe. But maybe not.

You are probably saying to yourself that, surely, if your customers are satisfied with your products and services, they will keep buying from you. That’s one of the reasons everyone says you must focus on customer satisfaction. But while customer satisfaction is important, it’s not enough to ensure your customers will keep buying from you.

To illustrate this, think about how many restaurants you have been to where you had great food, but you’ve never been back. They met – maybe even exceeded – your expectations with delicious, well prepared food and you were satisfied, or even extremely satisfied, with your meal, yet you have never been back.

If you yourself have been a satisfied customer who didn’t repurchase, why should you expect your satisfied customers to repurchase from you?

If you want your customers to keep buying from you, you need to go beyond customer satisfaction.

Continuing the restaurant example, there is a Chinese restaurant near where we live. Their food is usually good but, occasionally, Andrew, the chef/owner, has a bad day and overcooks the food. Even so, we keep going there and have been doing so for over 10 years. We would not even think of going to another Chinese restaurant in the area.

You see, every time we walk into this restaurant we are greeted with a big, welcoming smile by Cindy, Andrew’s wife. Cindy always takes the time to chat with us and to catch up on how we are and whether we have been on any holidays. She remembers what we tell her and then follows up with us the next time she sees us. All in all, every time we go to “our” Chinese restaurant, Cindy makes us feel special and we just keep on going back.

We are loyal to this restaurant because Cindy makes us feel good every time we go there and shows that she is interested in and cares about us. We feel like we belong, like it’s really “our” restaurant. It’s a simple formula, really.

So the key to ensuring your customers keep buying from you is to satisfy them with your products and services AND to make them feel good. They’ll then become loyal customers.

To make your customers feel good, focus on the experience they have when dealing with you. Do what you can to ensure that they feel special, they feel appreciated, and they feel you care about them, not just as customers, but as people.

If you can deliver this experience to your customers, you will build loyal customers. And loyal customers will keep on buying from you, even if they are occasionally dissatisfied with a product (as we are with Andrew’s occasionally overcooked food), because they enjoy the experience of dealing with you.

Think of ways you can give your customers a great experience when they deal with you. How can you make them feel good? How can you make them feel special? How can you show you care about them?

Get into the habit of doing at least one thing a day to show a customer you care about him or her. For example, you could send your customers cards – as a “Thank You,” on their birthdays, or just to say hello. The possibilities for making your customers feel special are endless once you start thinking this way. If you put systems in place, this can all be done with very little effort.

Focus on building satisfied AND loyal customers, and watch your sales grow.

Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at

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