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Customer satisfaction - the icing on the cake or the cherry on top?



Last week, I got a letter from my local water company warning me about work in the area that could mean my water pressure is reduced or even my supply interrupted.  I found myself getting slightly irritated - “I pay my water bill, why should I have to put up with having no water?”  So perhaps I was being a little unreasonable but it reminded me of a point about creating customer satisfaction.  I am not satisfied when the water company manages to get water to my taps but I am dissatisfied if I turn them on and no water is there.

Getting the basics right

Look it at this way.  If I buy a cupcake, the very least I expect is cake.  It doesn’t make me a happy customer but, if it isn’t there I will certainly be an unhappy one. 

The cake represents some of the basics that your customers might expect from you – delivery to timescales, budget and the quality you’ve promised.  Fail to deliver these and you’ve probably got a reasonably unsatisfied customer.

Enhance the experience and give the right impression

Next, the icing on the cake.  Here is where you can start making a difference to what your customers think of you.  If you communicate well, turn up to meetings on time, show you understand their needs and suggest innovative solutions, it’s likely your customers will enjoy their experience more and believe you can get the basics right.  Turn up to a meeting late or fail to return their phone call and they might start to wonder about your ability to deliver.

Your ‘icing’ should enhance the experience your customers have and give your customers the right impression about how well you can deliver the basics.  And if you know cupcakes, you’ll know that:

  • good icing doesn’t really make up for a bad cake; and
  • bad icing can detract from what might otherwise be a delicious eating experience

Differentiate and delight

And finally, the cherry on the top.  On its own, just disappointingly sweet but on top of a beautifully baked and iced cup cake, it can make all the difference.

This is your unique selling point; the thing that differentiates you from your competitors and the things you do that make your customers feel special.

If you can get this right, you will have your customers licking their lips and coming back to you for more.  Don’t bother with it and, quite frankly, you may as well be any old cupcake.

The final crumbs

So, there it is.  My ‘pyramid of perfection’: get the basics right (the very least your customers expect); add a superb icing (that enhances the experience); and provide a little extra on the top.  Perfect!

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QR Encompass
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