Customer satisfaction is one of the most critical performance indicators in business today. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is or what industry niche you inhabit; every day, you must ask yourself if you’re doing everything you can to ensure your customers are happy with what you offer.
Measuring customer satisfaction isn’t as simple as it used to be. In most cases, you’re not interacting with people face-to-face, so it’s easy to miss the signals. And since so many interactions take place online, unhappy customers won’t hesitate to jump ship and switch to a competitor if they feel their needs are unmet.
A high level of customer satisfaction is a hallmark of business success. Satisfied customers are loyal customers, have a higher average spend, and tend to be evangelistic about their approval, referring their friends and colleagues and reassuring new customers they’ve chosen well.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a gauge of how happy your clientele is with your company, its people, products, and services. In the past, you would do business with a customer, sell them a product or service, complete the payment, and they would then tell you what they thought about your work. It was about the transaction.
Today, customer satisfaction is more experiential and holistic. Customers tend to look beyond the transaction. What happens before and after the sale are just as critical, as are the company’s values, what they stand for, what they represent, and how they treat their people.
We measure customer satisfaction in myriad ways as every interaction tells its own story. Companies collect and analyze data to understand their customers better so they can anticipate their needs and motivations. Measuring customer satisfaction supports the effort to foster and maintain strong customer relationships.
Importance of Customer Satisfaction
There are many ways to describe the importance of customer satisfaction. One of the most measurable, however, is its effect on the bottom line. It costs much less to retain existing customers than it does to acquire new ones.
By some estimates, acquiring new customers costs 500% more than retaining an existing one. That’s a significant metric to consider and an excellent argument in support of increasing customer satisfaction.
If a customer has purchased from you once—and especially if they had an excellent experience—they are far more likely to return. Loyalty customers are also more likely to upgrade their purchases and spend more per transaction. Companies spend less on marketing and do not require as many resources to capture their attention.
With all the digital tools marketers have at their disposal, it’s easy to gain the attention of a highly targeted audience. However, if you don’t deliver, there is little hope they’ll give you a second chance.
Even one unhappy customer can create a domino effect of harmful repercussions. Word of mouth is everything, and social media tends to amplify the sentiment, underscoring the need to focus on how to increase customer satisfaction in any way possible.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Companies measure customer satisfaction to identify gaps and weaknesses in the customer experience that might become barriers to customer loyalty or damage the brand.
How to measure customer satisfaction will ultimately depend on the organization’s goals and what’s most important to them. Customer satisfaction surveys are generally a good strategy as they are served while the customer is still on the website or once a transaction is complete. The sentiment is delivered in the moment, so the results are reliable, and the insights are given in real-time.
Insights collected by this method are referred to as a customer satisfaction rating or customer satisfaction score (CSAT). There is no standard scale of measure, but most companies use a linear scale of either 1-3, 1-5, 1-7, or 1-10. The results might represent a specific aspect of the website, a feature, service, or interaction.
Brands might also solicit feedback on new features or products to get a sense of whether they are on the right track. This approach to improving customer satisfaction is an excellent way to help loyal customers feel heard and valued.
Ten Tips on How to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Knowing what your customers want makes it easier to give them what they need, so that’s always a good place to start. Here are ten actionable tips you can implement right away to boost customer satisfaction.
1. Act on Customer Satisfaction Survey Data
Customer satisfaction survey data is delivered in real-time, so it’s an excellent opportunity to recognize and address issues happening in the moment. Whether it’s about poor customer service or satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the product itself, it’s an opportunity to interact with the individual in context and gain insight on what it would take to fix their problem, improve customer satisfaction levels, and turn things around.
2. Provide Multichannel Support
Customers today want to engage on the platforms they prefer—and they don’t want to be forced to accept your preferences. Offering a variety of ways to connect with your brand shows that you value their time and respect their preferences, improving customer satisfaction in the process.
3. Respond to Reviews
Your support team should respond to all reviews—good or bad. Most customers understand that not everybody will be happy, but your willingness to acknowledge and attempt to remedy their issue speaks volumes about your brand values.
4. Be Proactive
Anticipating customer needs or identifying (and fixing) issues before they become a problem is a great way to increase customer satisfaction. When customers know you have their back, customer loyalty is assured.
5. Happy Employees Equal Happy Customers
Happy employees go a long way to increasing customer satisfaction and improving customer loyalty. Ensure your teams have the tools they need to do their job efficiently. Automation, CRM software, and a robust content management system (CMS) are foundational in the enterprise as they simplify workflows, remove informational silos, and help teams deliver best-in-class customer service. When employees are happy, it resonates throughout the organization, improving customer satisfaction and elevating the brand.
6. Ask For Customer Feedback—And Then Act on It
Customer feedback is only helpful if it’s acted upon. There are few things a brand can do to improve customer satisfaction that works better than taking their suggestions and turning them into action. And don’t forget to follow up! If they suggest a feature and you implement the idea, be sure to let them know; your proactive approach is guaranteed to gain customer loyalty and increase customer satisfaction.
7. Prioritize Customer Experience
Customer experience (CX) is everything. Strive to reduce friction and remove all barriers to achieving customer goals. Audit and test all customer-facing systems often to ensure a seamless customer experience.
8. Offer Self-Serve Options
Not all customers want or need to engage with customer service to get their needs met. Offering self-serve options, an extensive knowledge base, and detailed FAQ and documentation help customers find the answers they need at their convenience.
9. Empower Your Employees
Empower your employees to act in response to customer feedback they receive. This approach eliminates delays to resolution, helps you close tickets faster, and will improve customer satisfaction in the process.
10. Measure Customer Satisfaction Constantly
Measuring customer satisfaction is critical to understanding how well your customer satisfaction strategies are working. Today’s customer has little time for brands or processes that get in the way of achieving their goals. Solicit customer feedback, deploy in-context customer satisfaction surveys, and don’t stop improving—because where customer satisfaction is concerned, there are always new heights to reach.
WayPath Consulting is dedicated to helping you achieve and improve customer satisfaction with custom CRM, CCM, and CMS solutions tailored to your organizational needs.