In Chapter 3 of The Power of Momentsby Chip and Dan Heath, they refer to Forrester’s research on customer satisfaction. Forrester has built models on the financial value of customers and has shown that very satisfied customers spend more money with you than less satisfied customers. On a scale of 1-10, the very satisfied customers were identified as a 7. They go on to say that if you focus on the customers with a satisfaction of 4-6 and work to improve their experience, it is better for your business than fixing the issues of customers with a satisfaction score of 1-3. In other words, you should not focus all of your energy and budget on your most unhappy customers, but rather on your neutral customers.
This research validates how important it is for organizations to focus on using the Appreciative Inquiry framework in their planning and business processes. Appreciative Inquiry is inclusive and will generate energy and help create the mechanisms necessary in your business to move neutral customers to very satisfied customers. This will happen through customer ideas, employee ideas and the shared energy in your organization to reach a common goal that everyone works on together. If you have not experienced the Appreciative Inquiry process, it can be difficult to understand how valuable it is.
Chip and Dan Heath refer a little to that in The Power of Moments when they talk about reasonableness. They state that often times we don’t create memorable moments because it isn’t reasonable. That’s also what organizations say when we talk to them about having an Appreciative Inquiry summit and including their staff. They say it isn’t reasonable to shut down their company for an entire day, or to pull half of their organization out of production to create an inclusive plan. They say it isn’t reasonable to invite their customers into their planning processes, or to even let competitors know what they are planning. It may not sound reasonable, but it is remarkable, and it produces results.
The final fact I’ll leave you with on this topic was also cited in The Power of Momentsby Chip and Dan Heath. “There is nine times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones.” Appreciative Inquiry will allow you to elevate positive customers, create a strategy to elevate neutral ones, accomplish whole system change, and have a remarkable experience in the process. It might not be reasonable, but it is profitable.