Almost every business book talks about satisfying the customer. Every business guru touts this. But no one seems to be asking the question – If we satisfy the customer, how will he keep coming back? He may be satisfied at that moment and you are happy that he is ecstatic about your service and it ends there.
Satisfied Customer – A Problem?
Everyone knows that it is easier to have recurring revenue (an existing customer) than generate a new revenue stream (from a new customer). The question though is – How do we handle this if the customer is already satisfied? One might wonder why this is a problem. Think about it – A customer who is satisfied over a long period of time slowly loses the value of what s/he is getting as it starts appearing like anyone can do it – in other words, the bar that you set becomes the standard and hence, the value erodes.
Great marketers have known this for a long time. Just like in a good movie, the director cycles through a satisfaction/dissatisfaction cycle working with our emotions – one needs to take the customer through cycles of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the product and/or service. And yes, the honesty of this post makes it edgy!
Humans naturally crave for new and scarce things. If we look at Apple, they release a new product with some features which are not so great… like the camera in iPhone 3G. People are a little dissatisfied with these features and start to talk about these and eagerly await for improved features. When apple release a newer product, they surpass the expectations like the camera in iPhone 4G. Lot of iPhone 3G users will naturally buy the new iPhone 4G.
The cycle continues…
Listen to the Customer
Sometimes, when we release new models or new software, the customer is already satisfied with the product and does not want the new product. Lots of sales people work on convincing the customer by telling them the new features. They somehow want to convince the customer to buy the product. Instead, they should sit and listen to the customer and should discover pain points for the customer. Most of the times the customer does not see it as a pain, but if you can see it and show him how bad it is (make him dissatisfied) and then show him how the new product will alleviate this pain – he is most likely to buy it. The key is to know… that the customer is sometimes blind to the pain and we have to bring it forth for him. In the case of IPhone 3G, a lot of people are satisfied with the camera, but when they see other people telling how bad it is compared to the iPhone 4G, they realize that what they have is not good enough and want to get the new iPhone 4G!
—Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.