catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Advocates and Assassins

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One of the things I’ve been doing whilst not blogging, is spending more time reading. Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to contribute some posts inspired by the various books I’ve been reading. So here goes…

Satisfaction by JD Power & Associates

First book off the review shelf is Satisfaction by JD Power & Associates. Satisfaction looks at the importance of customer satisfaction to business success and uses case studies to explore different strategies for improving customer satisfaction. This is an easy to read and informative book that uses case studies to illustrate how real businesses are impacted by the experience (not just the products) which they deliver to customers.

One of the key themes of Satisfaction is that of advocates and assassins. Customers are essentially divided into three groups. At one end of the spectrum are assassins. These are the disgruntled customers who will not only take their business away from you, but will share their tale of woe with others if given the slightest opportunity. In the extreme, assassins will actively campaign against your business. In the Internet age, these more dedicated assassins won’t just bad-mouth you over a beer at the pub or at a friends’ BBQ – they’ll set up a web site dedicated to their cause and promote their site in every web forum they can get away with.

At the other end of the spectrum are advocates. These are the people who have been “delighted” by their service experience, and as such will happy recommend your business to others. The lifetime customer value of such customers is significant because they are typically more loyal and may spend more than the typical customer.

Between the two extremes are the apathetic and passively satisfied customers. Whilst not overtly and obviously harmful in the way assassins are, they do represent a potential liability to your business. Being somewhat apathetic about your service (brand) means they won’t necessarily take a lot of convincing by competitors to switch.

With this framework in place, Satisfaction uses a number of case studies (mainly from the US auto industry but also hospitality and airlines), to educate businesses on strategies for dealing with assassins and turning the apathetic customers into brand advocates.

While this book will have most relevance for those in business with a customer service or strategy focus, the easy to read style and entertaining tales of customer delight and woe scattered throughout the book also make is accessible and interesting for the general reader.

Comments Suggestion – what brands are you an advocate for and why? Who are you an assassin for an why?


Written by Admin

July 13, 2006 at 8:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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