There was a study about customer satisfaction that was conducted by Delta Airlines a few years back and the results were so startling that it became quickly obvious that the outcome could apply to all types and sizes of businesses and organizations. The study centered on what their customers really wanted from Delta Airlines.
Here is what they found. Their customers wanted to know the answers to four questions. They were:
1. Do you like me?
2. Do you care about me?
3. Can I trust you?
4. Do you know what you are talking about?
The first thing they wanted to know was if they were sincerely liked by their Delta representative that they encountered. The customer knew this from how the representative interacted with them. Did they use their name, did they really listen, did they have sincere empathy in their voice?
The second thing they wanted to know was did the representative care about them. The customer knew this from questions they asked, again, the tone of voice, the little things they said or did that indicated they indeed cared, and how helpful they tried to be.
The third question they wanted answered was, could they trust the Delta representative. Indications of trust could be seen in how confident the rep was and did they follow through as promised. One example of how trust can be lost by an airline rep happened to me.
Some time back, I was trying to book a last minute flight to make it to a program I had been scheduled to do in Oakland, CA. The representative of the airline, which I will hold anonymous, promised me that if I had to make any changes within the next 24 hours, I could do so for no charge or penalty. Sure enough, I called back three hours later to cancel one segment of the flight and was told by a different rep that I would be charged an additional $150 to make that change. I explained to him that the first airline representative I spoke to promised me no charges. He checked with his supervisor and after a few minutes of waiting on hold, he came back and told me they could waive the charge, but I would have to take a different flight two hours later. This would mean I wouldn’t arrive until late that night. I sullenly told him I would stick with my original travel plans. This airline violated my trust; as a result, I made a decision that when it was possible, I would avoid flying with them in the future. My point is, to insure customer satisfaction provide the kind of customer service training that teaches to deliver what you promise – no matter what, or risk losing that customer.
Finally the fourth thing Delta’s customers wanted to know, was the rep knowledgeable and competent. Indications of these qualities were demonstrated if the rep was familiar with the particular situation the customer was experiencing and had they solved similar types of problems before.
In summary, to build lifetime customer satisfaction, make sure your company or organization is able to provide the kind of customer service training that will help your employees answer those four questions on a consistent basis with all of the customers it serves.