Scoring with Customers:
At RIFF, we understand the difference between ‘putting the customer first’ and ‘putting customer satisfaction first’. While customer satisfaction is a valuable snapshot in time, we aim for a holistic approach and lasting relationships. Our focus on service recovery emphasises the importance of speed, honesty and exceeding expectations.
Customer-Centric or Customer Satisfaction-Centric?
At RIFF, we distinguish between ‘putting the customer at the center’ and ‘focusing on customer satisfaction’. This approach is pivotal in our outlook on customer service and relationships. Similar to the sports world, where the football match between the Netherlands and Ireland led us to the European Championship, we ponder: do we focus on the short term (the immediate post-match reaction) or the long term (overall performance in a tournament)? Increasingly, we observe customer satisfaction becoming a detached KPI, no longer intertwined with the customer.
Customer Satisfaction: A Snapshot
Customer satisfaction is a valuable metric, yet a survey result isn’t the entire narrative. It’s a measurement subject to fluctuations based on immediate experiences and emotions. It’s akin to a fan’s reaction right after a game. Important, yes, but we see it as a snapshot of customer experience. Various tools measure aspects of customer satisfaction – CSAT, NPS, CES – each providing a piece of the puzzle but not the complete picture.
The Customer at the Center: A Holistic Approach
At RIFF, centering the customer means focusing on their deeper needs and desires, beyond just meeting expectations. It’s about building a relationship founded on understanding and trust. We aim to make every interaction meaningful by delving into each customer’s unique situation.
The Mortgage Example: Long-Term Relationships Over Short-Term KPIs
Consider this: a customer, repeatedly denied a mortgage, finally finds a bank that says, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll handle it.’ Ask them about their satisfaction, and you’d expect nothing but praise. But three years later, if that mortgage turns into a complex financial trap with soaring costs and a collapsing bank, leaving customers homeless – the satisfaction rating will tell a different story. At RIFF, we view this as a vital learning moment. True customer satisfaction isn’t just measured at the point of purchase; it’s a story that unfolds over time, full of twists and turns. Our goal is to understand and support this narrative, no matter the customer’s stage.
The Power of Service Recovery
The ‘Service Recovery Paradox’, a concept we embrace at RIFF, suggests that customers who have a positive service experience after an issue often show greater loyalty and satisfaction than those who never faced a problem. This emphasizes the importance of speed, sincerity, solution-focus, and exceeding expectations in recovery. It’s about rebuilding trust, akin to a team making a comeback to win, an experience even more exhilarating than a steady, uneventful victory.
Conclusion: A Dynamic and Layered Approach
At RIFF, we strive for a balance between being customer-centric and pursuing customer satisfaction. This means authentic, empathetic customer service focused on understanding and fulfilling the true needs of the customer. We aim for sustainable relationships, not just momentary satisfaction. By balancing these aspects and focusing on both short and long-term goals, we build lasting relationships with our customers, much like in football. Moments are to be celebrated, but ultimately, it’s the entire journey and the final result that count.
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