It’s easy to get confused about what customer satisfaction is and isn’t.
We needed antibiotics for our five-year-old daughter. Like most kids, she’s picky about flavor (hates grape, loves cherry). We explained this to the pharmacist at the major pharmacy chain.
Lacking cherry, they added a watermelon flavor on top of the grape (creating a flavor that, in our household, we have dubbed “nastysickle”) without asking us. They resisted giving back the prescription to have it filled elsewhere. (After all, then they’d have a bottle of nastysickle on their hands). We pushed, got it back and filled it with cherry at People’s Pharmacy.
If we’d walked out unhappily with the nastysickle we would have been considered satisfied. As we gave our daughter nastysickle medicine twice a day. Not the worst thing in the world, but far from a satisfied customer. They didn’t want to satisfy us. They just wanted us to go away and not show up as a return or complaint.
A satisfied customer isn’t someone you can convince to grudgingly take bad-tasting medicine. A satisfied customer isn’t someone who isn’t quite unhappy enough to demand their money back. It’s fine to measure returns and walkouts, but don’t call those customer satisfaction metrics. These days marketers fear that an unhappy customer will get over 4MM YouTube views. Some are so paranoid that they sue customers who tweet their dissatisfaction to 17 followers. I think we should worry more about unhappy customers who quietly take their nastysickle and leave, never to return.
A satisfied customer is glad they spent their money with you and recommends that others do the same.