As a good business manager, you’ve probably already checked great product and competitive price off the list at your company. As a very good manager, you’ve also already checked off over-delivery on promises too. But, what about great customer experience—the To Do item that great managers can readily check off on their operations evaluations.
The customer experience at each stage of your sales funnel is predicted by industry experts to become the major differentiator over the next several years. Customer satisfaction (CX) in the areas of your brand’s service, messaging, and other such performance metrics will make or break businesses, including those operating on oversimplified quality/price value models. Bottom line—you need for people to enjoy doing business with you.
It’s beyond content marketing, mobile, personalization, and social. It’s the overall experience that drives CX and, ultimately, customer loyalty. In one business sector survey, 86% of consumer respondents reportedly said they will pay more for a better CX. But, how is customer satisfaction defined, measured and increased?
Defining Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is simply the measure of the extent to which your product, service, and total customer experience either fails to meet, meets, or exceeds a customer’s expectations. Businesses might base this measure on repeat purchase rates, referral rates, reviews, survey feedback or other data.
Measuring happiness? Yes, that’s exactly what needs to happen in order for you to control it, happiness. Control happiness! Don’t worry, we’re not really going down the rabbit hole here. You’re already doing this to some extent. All businesses who care about customer satisfaction are doing it. The point is just to get better at it.
Customer Satisfaction Benefits
Brand trust — Consumers trust other consumers, even strangers, more than they trust ads or any other professional marketing. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, you increase the number of people who are recommending your products or services to friends, relatives, coworkers, and other personal and professional acquaintances.
And, you reduce the numbers of unhappy customers who spread negative word of mouth—which they share with three times the number of people with whom they share reports of their positive customer experiences.
Brand loyalty — As you increase customers’ trust in your business, customer retention is increased. Your costs of servicing customer accounts is reduced. And, your referral sales revenues are increased.
Brand buzz — With increasing brand loyalty, you have an increasing number of happy customers as your advocates, cheerleading for your company among personal and professional acquaintances, and across social platforms. This is the best possible promotion you can get. And, it’s the relatively formal-marketing-cost-free result of simply making the most of your opportunity to make customers happy.
Customer Satisfaction Slipping Through the Cracks
Measurement of customer satisfaction is the initial step toward improving it. You’ve got to be able to measure customer satisfaction in order to understand it. Measuring satisfaction enables you to control it. The ability to control satisfaction makes it possible to improve it. Here are some findings that reflect the poor emphasis on this critical need across the business sector:
- Most business leaders acknowledge that happy customers are a primary requirement for revenues and growth. But, reportedly only about 48% of consumers believe that the companies that they buy from are actually focused on their satisfaction.
- About 60% of customers share their stories of bad customer experiences with other people. Only about 46% share their good customer experiences with other people.
- In one study, 80% of business leaders reportedly said their companies provide an exceptional customer experience. But, only 8% of customers agreed—a staggering disconnect of perceptions.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
There are abundant tools for fast, convenient, and affordable means to measure your customer satisfaction, regardless of your business’s budget. Start by using some of the resources listed below, or others to monitor your levels of customer satisfaction.
The, use the information you gather to form your strategies for quickly resolving problems that are dragging on your customer satisfaction levels and for incentivizing already happy customers to become advocates cheerleading for your brand.
- Net Promoter Score — This is an easy measurement of customer satisfaction. Customers complete a simple survey within just a few seconds. Typically, the survey ask a basic question about how likely it is, on a scale of 1-10, that the customer will recommend your company to friends and family. Resources: Promoter.io, Wootric, Delighted, AskNicely
- Social Media Monitoring — Stay aware of what customers are saying about your products and brand. Choose a monitoring tool, pick a few keywords and key phrases. As you discover that a customer has had a bad experience, you can reach out to him/her and correct the problem. Resources: Google Alerts, Brand24, Talkwalker, Mention, And many others.
- Customer Feedback — A very simple way to measure customer satisfaction is to just ask for feedback. Consumers willingly provide feedback. Just provide some handy prompts for customer reviews, social media messages, or any other vehicles for them to register their opinions. Resources: GetSatisfaction, OpinionLab, PollDaddy, Feedbackify, SatisMeter, Survicate, online reviews such as Feefo, and TrustPilot, and user testing such as Zarget, CrazyEgg, and Hotjar.
- Customer Satisfaction Survey — A very easy and reliable way to get a report of customers’ levels of satisfaction with your company’s products, services, effectiveness in complaint resolution, etc., is a standard satisfaction survey that asks a series of multiple choice and fill-in text questions. Resources: SurveyMonkey, Customer Thermometer (email survey).
Increasing Customer Satisfaction
Customers want to sense that they’re recognized as people, not just wallet-holders. We all want to feel appreciated. This human drive leads to an interesting outcome of measuring customer satisfaction:
- Asking for feedback — Asking customers for their opinions does more than gather the actionable data you need to make good business decisions. It also informs you of problems or complaints so you can respond quickly. And, it lets customers know you respect their opinions and value their satisfaction, which act increases their satisfaction with your company. Yes, you read that right—the very act of gathering customer satisfaction data increases customer satisfaction!
- Providing Solutions — Use feedback to improve customer satisfaction, by providing solutions to the problems that people describe in their complaints. Maybe they’ll say shipping takes too long. There’s no express delivery option. There’s no 24/7 service online. Add self-service functions. Activate a chatbot to interact with them online. Adding your solutions to customer problems yields increased satisfaction and retention rates. Easy math.
- Provide open communication lines — Let customers communicate in the ways they prefer: by phone, online chat, instant messaging, email, social media, and so on. Respond promptly to both positive and negative communications from customers. Can’t emphasize enough the power of letting people do what they want, especially when it comes to love of communicating.
- Treating customers with respect — A highly effective method of helping create satisfied, happy, loyal customers is simply to make sure that all of your company’s representatives treat them as anyone wants to be treated as a customer—with sincere respect throughout every encounter.
Whatever your great product or service, customer satisfaction is the natural top priority in business. So, collect, analyze, and use your customer satisfaction data in every interaction, through every stage of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process. Caveat: Do beware of inundating customers with too frequent surveys.
The point is to make doing business with your company—to make getting what they want—as easy as possible for your customers. Treat customers respectfully. Maintain open communications with them. And, solve problems promptly, to convert customers into satisfied customers, satisfied customers into repeat customers, and repeat customers into cheerleaders for your business.
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