Have you ever noticed that customer satisfaction decreases over time?
I think it’s human nature. You may have noticed it as a customer. And you may have noticed you’re your own customers. If not, then you may want to look out for it.
There could be several legitimate reasons.
Sometimes it happens after the honeymoon period. At first it’s fresh, everything is new and exiting. Any high expectations haven’t had time to be dashed. Over time, unmet expectations impact satisfaction to a greater degree. Especially if we haven’t right-sized them into something more realistic. People just forget what the reasons why they selected us in the first place.
Another reason may be that unless we are selling a commodity product, customers have a natural lifetime. If our products and services are outcome based, they may graduate from us when they achieve the outcome. If that’s the case, we wish them well on their journey to whatever is next. We hope that the experience they had of our brand will make them become brand advocates. Even if they stop buying for us.
The worst reason is it happens because all our attention is spent nurturing new customers, and little attention spent nurturing existing customers. In other words, if they have reasons to not be satisfied. Like, if all our special offers are only for new customers. Or it’s too difficult to communicate with us.
All of these are good reasons to watch out for if satisfaction starts to wane over time. And take some active actions.
I suggest we segment customers by how long they have been with us. Reaching out differently at different stages. Consider when they might graduate from the service level they are at. The right upsell or cross sell could refresh the relationship. Or an offer to get a deal if they are a referral.
Knowing how to segment people over time can be something to learn from the existing behaviour of past customers. Are there noticeable behaviours? Questions they ask? Can we tailor surveys to find out more information? Will mapping the customer journey give a deeper picture of what happens over time? Can we make our processes easier – even looking at off-boarding.
A happy customer should be cherished and needs to be nourished. Likewise, an unhappy ex-customer should be avoided at all costs.
Does this ring true for you? What’s your experience with customer satisfaction changing over time?
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