Part 12: The Secret to Extreme Customer Satisfaction

In my last blog post I presented the “secret sauce,” a unique combination of key value drivers that result in extremely satisfied pool retail customers. I also pointed out that retailers have a performance gap. Only 19 percent of loyal specialty retail pool consumers (Loyalists) recognize this combination of advantages. For those that do, overall satisfaction with the value provided by their retailer soars to 85 percent. For those that don’t, overall satisfaction drops to 1.5 percent. This post will consider what might be going on behind these numbers.

Retailers are only as strong as their weakest link

Our research specifically points to the fact that the “secret sauce” advantages are vitally linked. The chart below demonstrates that Loyalist satisfaction with the overall value provided by their retailer is much lower for each individual advantage (39 percent - 53 percent) than when all are combined (85 percent). Leaving out just one of these value drivers is akin to omitting a key ingredient in a recipe — the consumer experience is just not the same. The simple fact is that only 19 percent of Loyalists experience the “secret sauce.” That leaves a lot of room and significant opportunity for retailers who take this seriously. 


"Interactive" versus "Passive Advantages"

To arrive at the formula for the “secret sauce” I made the distinction between interactive and passive advantages. Applied knowledge is an Interactive Advantage involving real-time interfaces between staff members and customers. The product line itself is a Passive Advantage and its selection does not involve interaction between staff members and customers. But, most pool products have a degree of complexity that requires product knowledge and superior service to create advantage. Maximizing product value relies heavily on interactive exchange with consumers to bring advantages to life. Our investigation explicitly concludes that knowledgeable employees and superior service are vitally linked to creating advantage through product line.

The solution now lies hidden in plain sight

The solution for retailers is twofold: to fully accept there is a big gap in the delivery of these advantages and then take action. The survey data we collected confirms that any two Loyalist customers can react differently to their experience with the same retailer. One may be delighted while the other is left unsatisfied with the value received. We now know that is likely due to missing ingredients in the “secret sauce.” Failing to recognize this difference will significantly increase the risk of customer defection. 

Stay tuned for future posts that address the relationship between Loyalist, Nonloyalists and the Internet.

Your turn 

Here is the opportunity to share your thoughts regardless of your role in the industry. Ask any questions you want about the research. Let me know what you are wrestling with and how you are doing in serving the “secret sauce.” If you prefer not to post a blog response, I would be glad to read your comments by email at [email protected].

Read the previous post in this series: Want Loyal Customers? Here’s the "Secret Sauce"

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