Seth Godin – I DISAGREE on being "satisfied"…

On average, I agree with 90%+ of what Seth Godin talks about on his blog, writes in his books, or speaks about in his speeches.  However, today I have to disagree with Seth.

Seth wrote a blog post, “Dissatisfaction Guaranteed,” where he closed with a line, “Satisfied means done, finished, I don’t need any more.”  I don’t agree – satisfied is not the end state, not even close to it actually.

My brother, Gary, and I wrote a book a few years back, “Creating and Delivering a Totally Awesome Customer Experiences” where we addressed this elusive issue of customer satisfaction.  We are not strangers to this world of customer satisfaction and after our studies and consulting work, we have a different definition of “Customer Satisfaction.”

We created a statement that people have used and enjoyed for years, “A ‘satisfied’ customer is a customer simply looking and waiting for the ‘next best’ DEAL”.  What we found was that a satisfied customer was “satisfied” as long as there wasn’t a better product, price, or terms available for them to choose from.  If there was a better “deal” that came along, the so called “satisfied” customer would “defect” and take advantage of the better deal.  The most valuable word we should be focusing on is “LOYALTY”. 

For example, let’s say you were buying a new barbecue grill (since it is close to the end of summer).  You usually buy it from your local hardware big box store.  Then, you see the same grill at another store for $50 less – exact same grill.  The majority of “satisfied” customers would “defect” and go to the other store to buy it for the $50 savings.  Why?  Because they were not “loyal” to your store and as soon as they see the next best deal they left.  Until you saw this deal, you were “satisfied” and would have continued buying from them.  It is only if you are “loyal” to the store and would pay extra that you are “finished and done” as Seth would say.

So when people talk about having “satisfied” customers, you can see why I cringe.  I want LOYAL customers who are also my ADVOCATES.  That is when you are “done and finished”.  Actually, it’s just the beginning as well – how to do ensure you retain them and get them proactively spreading the word about you.  That is the topic for another post…

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3 Responses to Seth Godin – I DISAGREE on being "satisfied"…
  1. Tia Peterson | Webbed Ink Inc
    October 4, 2010 | 6:24 pm

    Agreed. There is much more to satisfaction than being done. I haven't read Seth's book so I'm not certain of the context, but there are some cases where he is correct, though. Businesses do not need to go overboard with customer experiences. So long as I am happy with the price and the service and the convenience, I'm satisfied and will come back.

    Basically, so long as there are no complaints.

    Where I would disagree just a teeny bit with you is in the dissatisfaction by price factor. It all depends. Retail wouldn't be as massive as it is if people cared about price so much. Manage other thing trump price, including laziness and sheer convenience.

  2. Tia Peterson | Webbed Ink Inc
    October 4, 2010 | 6:25 pm

    And it was my apparent laziness that put so many typos in that last sentence! :) It should have read, "Many other things trump price…"



  3. Blaine Millet
    October 5, 2010 | 4:27 am


    Thank you for your comment and thoughts. In actuality, some of what you are describing is included more in the definition of "loyalty" than "satisfaction". If you are happy with price, the service and convenience, you have the foundation for being loyal, mainly because of the service/experience component.

    Given price and convenience, you are merely satisfied and if those change, meaning price increases or there is something more convenient, you are much more likely to defect. But if you truly enjoy the service, it will take more than just price and convenience to switch – that is the foundation of loyalty.

    Again, enjoyed your perspective – thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.