Talking Business: In Internet age, ‘satisfaction’ isn’t good enough


This article has been republished with the permission of Furniture Today USA.

Words: Bill McLoughlin

At a time when consumers have near limitless access to information, shopping and entertainment, traditional metrics of customer satisfaction have become as outmoded as carbon paper. That’s the assessment of Andy Bernstein, founder and CEO of FurnitureDealer.Net.

“Today, your best customers are not the ones who buy the most from you but the ones that sell the most for you,” Bernstein said, discussing the concept of “net promoter score,” a metric for measuring customer loyalty developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix in 2003. The actual calculation is based on the difference between the percentage of promotors and detractors for an individual brand based on a scale of -100 through +100. It is most commonly expressed on a scale of one to 10 with the marketer’s goal being to achieve a high percentage nines and 10s, which represent brand evangelists.

Photography: Peter Clarke

“Anyone who’s giving you a seven or an eight is a passive,” Bernstein explained. “Anyone giving you less than a seven is a detractor. That means they’re out in the marketplace telling people you stink. Your goal is to increase the ration of nines and 10s you get.”

In world defined by information overload, the power of peer reviews and word of mouth has never been a more critical determinant of success, and the need to deliver exceptional customer experiences has never been more important.

“Meeting expectations is no longer good enough,” Bernstein said. “Customer ‘satisfaction’ is going to put you out of business. What you really have to do is delight the heck out of your customers.”

While most of his focus on helping brick-and-mortar retailers with their web presence, Bernstein noted that local brick and mortar have a number of critical advantages. The key however, comes down to execution of a simple mantra of why, how, wow.

“Everyone in your company has to understand ‘why are we doing this?’” Bernstein said. “Then you can get to executing the how and the wow, and you have to do it with every single employee, sales people, delivery people, buyers. Every employee has to be thinking about creating that ‘wow’ experience for the customer.”