Did you know that increasing customer retention by only 5% can increase your profit by around 25-30%? However, dissatisfied customers can become barriers to customer retention, which can risk your company’s growth.
But you’re not alone. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, US businesses only scored 73.2 out of 100 in 2022, dropping to the lowest in 17 years. What’s more, the numbers are continuously declining, which brings us to the question; how to enhance customer satisfaction?
With the increasing number of brands trying to get customers’ attention, you’ll have to apply a streamlined approach toward attaining customer satisfaction. Here are a few techniques to enhance customer satisfaction and retain maximum customers in the long run.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
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If you’re wondering whether your business achieves customer satisfaction, you’ll need to know what the concept entails. Mainly, customer satisfaction is how happy or content your customers are after receiving your service or product.
For example, did your product solve the problem you advertised it would? Or, did your service meet the expectations you built up on your website?
Usually, customers express these feelings while posting reviews on your website or social media page or referring the products to friends and family. By measuring customer satisfaction correctly, you can pinpoint the problem within your strategy and solve it to improve customer satisfaction.
However, merely measuring customer satisfaction levels won’t get you anywhere. You’ll also have to develop a robust customer service system where dissatisfied individuals can reach out and receive help.
Maintaining customer satisfaction is not a piece of cake and requires thorough planning and integration. So, is it worth going through all the trouble? Read further to gauge the importance of customer satisfaction for your company and decide for yourself.
How Improving Customer Satisfaction is Significant for Your Business?
Most people think developing a great product and marketing it to the masses is enough to keep a business running. But, unfortunately, that’s exactly where they go wrong.
If you already own a business and think the same way, think about it this way. What niche does your business fill in the market, or what product do you offer? For example, are you a fashion brand, a marketing consultancy service, or a kitchen appliances brand?
Now, search for your primary product on Google and check the results. You can see that there are hundreds of thousands of brands offering the same thing.
In this situation, the only thing keeping customers coming back to you is a great shopping experience. Besides that, acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than retaining an old customer, so dedicating a chunk of your budget to enhancing customer experience makes sense.
If you’re still skeptical, you should check out the statistics confirming the importance of customer experience's importance. For example, an Accenture study shows that 83% of customers agreed to switch providers because of how they were treated. Similarly, according to PwC, around 49% of customers would ditch a brand after a single bad experience regarding customer service.
Moreover, good customer experience stops the spread of negative vibes around your brand. Even if a product malfunctions or there’s a problem with logistics, if your customer service deals with it aptly, the problem can go unnoticed.
On the contrary, if your customer services fail to detour the crisis, it can result in negative word of mouth around your brand and prevent future customers.
Meaning not only does customer satisfaction ensure the retention of existing customers, but it also attracts new customers to your brand through positive word of mouth.
11 Ways to Keeping the Pulse On Customer Satisfaction
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The facts and statistics mentioned above show that customer satisfaction is crucial to help your business thrive and grow.
If you’re concerned about enhancing customer satisfaction within your organization, you’ll have to go for a multi-faceted approach.
Maintains a positive brand identity
Regulates satisfaction metrics
Collects and manages feedback
Ensures customer loyalty
Here are the ways you can keep the pulse on customer satisfaction in your business and stay on top of your game.
1. Understand Your Customers
To treat your customers well and deliver impeccable services every time, the first step is to understand what they need. Then, imagine you’re on the other side of the table interacting with a business, and you get exactly what you want. Feels good, doesn’t it?
You want your customers to feel the same way while approaching your brand. Believe it or not, meeting customer expectations and exceeding them is proven to increase their loyalty and chances of future purchases.
A great way to understand your customers’ needs is by providing human and intuitive support on all portals. In addition, live representatives can assess behavior and emotions, which can help you devise policies that serve your customers well.
Moreover, customer service representatives should treat each customer as a VIP, whether they’re pleased or displeased with your product. This way, they can get them to explain their needs effectively so you can take your time to come up with a solution.
Besides that, organizing polls and surveys on your social media portal or website can also provide insight into customer experiences and help you improve your services and products.
2. Reach Out Before You’re Reached For
When dealing with customers who have paid for your services, the best way to deal with them is to be proactive. Mainly, your customer service should reach out to them before they need to contact you for any reason.
For instance, if customers order a product online, they usually want to know if their order is dispatched or when it will reach them. In this case, sending out prompt updates through email and text can help them stay in the loop without picking up the phone to call a representative.
Similarly, be upfront and honest about any mishaps or malfunctions within your organization. For example, if you face a sudden site wide crash, it is better to inform your customers beforehand.
Let’s face it; you don’t want to end up with millions of angry messages and displeased phone calls while fixing an issue with your website.
Besides that, keep your customers posted about any deals, offers, and promotions on your website. Also, if you have a loyalty program in place, remind them of any unused points, coupons, or vouchers they can avail of on your website so that they’re not dissatisfied if they expire without notice.
3. Provide Support Through Multiple Channels
Let’s say your client has trouble operating your product or has a complaint with your service; how can they reach you? If you only provide an email, online chat, or phone call service, your customer service is lacking, which may lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Having a single mode of communication means there are more chances of the customer needing help to reach your representative. While it might be a temporary glitch in your system, it may lead to frustration and displeasure on your customer’s end, leading to a bad word of mouth and negative reviews.
To avoid such situations, it is best to have multiple customer support options available. For example, with a toll-free phone number and email address, try providing other options such as social media support and live chat. This way, they can get immediate answers for urgent problems rather than wait two to three days to receive a reply.
Moreover, in a world where AI is taking up most of the online space, around 86% of customers prefer to chat with a human. While this can help them explain their concerns to someone who understands, you can also assess customer behavior and needs between the lines to deliver the expected.
Another important factor to consider while operating multiple channels is to ensure a smooth transition between them. For example, a customer with an urgent query will probably approach all channels to receive a reply from your end. In this case, it can be a hassle for them to repeat the same specifications and credentials everywhere.
Besides that, try to cut through the formalities and give helpful answers. If your live chatbot diverts customers with complicated queries to make a phone call or email the support team, the customer will easily become dissatisfied.
4. Help Customers Help Themselves
Great, you have multiple communication channels and hired many employees to cater to your customers' needs. But, your website does not divert your customers to the said portals in any way. So, how do you expect them to find such pages and get their needed answers?
That’s why, to make sure your customers use your customer support services, you should make them visible and approachable. But first, your website should be intuitive enough to help them navigate their desired solution.
Secondly, it should readily provide all the information a customer might need to eliminate the need for direct contact. For example, if a customer has questions about the source of your raw materials, you can include the information on an FAQ page.
Simply work with your team to foresee any potential client questions and compile them on the FAQ page for reference. Similarly, you can include self-service resources such as tutorials, forms, and videos so your customers can help themselves without any external help.
5. Hire Proficient Employees
Believe it or not, 62% of customers say they would stop doing business with a brand that provides poor customer service. So, we cannot overstate the importance of hiring trained and professional customer service employees.
Not only do they provide a positive outlook of your company to potential clients, but they also deal diligently with unreasonable or displeased customers. That’s why it is ideal to hire even-tempered, soft-spoken, and possibly multi-lingual individuals who can easily tackle complaints and encourage sales simultaneously.
Apart from hiring professional individuals, you can also train existing employees to adopt certain customer service tactics to ensure customer satisfaction. This includes using positive words, offering gratitude, and listening carefully while providing a tentative solution.
Similarly, your representatives should be instructed to be honest regarding your company’s operations, so they don’t set unrealistic expectations. For example, if it is against your company policy to provide a refund for any products, they should politely but firmly insist on the point without promising any reconsiderations.
6. Conduct Thorough Research
Apart from the overall customer support service provided by your business, your product should also satisfy your clients' needs. To ensure that they do, you should conduct thorough market research and be aware of the techniques used by your competitors to improve customer satisfaction.
For example, let’s say you’re a fashion brand selling luxury coats and accessories. While many brands may try to get on top of the market, additional customizations or low shipping costs might be why customers choose one brand over the other.
This way, you should check out which technique works for the leading brand in your niche and implement it in your business to see if it increases customer satisfaction. In this case, you will have to conduct A/B testing while closely monitoring customer satisfaction metrics to see which strategy works best for your business.
7. Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes
So you’ve had a customer complain about a support representative, but you haven’t considered taking action against them? Then you should think again. Not fixing your customer service mistakes can lead to recurrent customer dissatisfaction, which can harm your business in the long run.
You see, apart from losing a single customer, you’re also losing a bunch of others through negative word of mouth. Besides, a customer is more likely to express dissatisfaction with a business to other potential customers rather than the business itself.
So, if you have received negative feedback from a customer, you should address it immediately rather than risk losing another customer.
8. Plan A Social Media Strategy
Ensuring your brand resonates with your target audience is essential to enhance customer satisfaction. Using social media portals is the best way to help customers engage with your brand.
Apart from extending your reach, you can share content, provide support, and organize reward programs for your audience. This will let your customers develop a connection with your brand and entice them to make multiple purchases.
To deal with positive and negative reviews on your portal, it is ideal to devise a default response. This way, you can easily control the narrative around your brand, even if there are multiple negative reviews on your posts.
9. Use Customer Feedback Effectively
As fed up as you might be with customers pestering you with negative reviews, those reviews are a goldmine. Customer feedback, if used effectively, can help you increase sales, retain existing customers, and even acquire new customers.
Mainly, customer feedback gives you a candid review of your products and services. Through these snippets, you can become aware of any issues your customers face and take steps toward resolving them for increased customer satisfaction.
Moreover, once your customers notice that their feedback is effectively utilized, they feel valued and become loyal to your brand.
To use feedback effectively, it is important to follow a proper procedure. First, you should concentrate on collecting feedback from various portals, including social media polls, follow-up emails, and call logs.
Secondly, think about ways to implement the feedback effectively after organizing the collected data. Start by pinpointing the areas you lack and work with your team to make the required improvements.
Lastly, organize a follow-up campaign to see if your strategy worked how you wanted it to. Even if you do not satisfy your customers on the first attempt, you can always modify your strategy to meet their needs.
10. Create Loyalty Programs
Who wouldn’t like to save a few bucks on purchases every time they shop with a brand? In addition, loyalty programs ensure customer satisfaction and keep them returning for recurrent purchases.
Whether you provide discount coupons, free shipping offers, or gift cards, a reward for interacting with your brand will immediately make your customer feel valued. Besides that, the reward will act as an incentive for them to return to your store.
For example, if you offer loyalty points or discount vouchers they can use for future purchases, they will easily choose your brand over others the next time they think of buying a product from your niche.
Similarly, a robust loyalty program can help you tackle tricky customer service situations and increase customer satisfaction. For example, is a customer furious over late delivery? Offer a discount voucher. A client received the wrong size of a clothing article? Give them a refund credit with an additional balance so they can shop again from your brand.
Apart from customer retention, a good loyalty program creates a positive vibe around your brand, which is great for marketing through word of mouth.
11. Keep An Eye On Customer Satisfaction Metrics
Most importantly, you should always measure customer satisfaction to ensure long-term customer retention. Keeping an eye on your customer satisfaction scores can help you gauge how your business interacts with the masses and help you figure out what works and doesn’t.
You can use CSAT, NPS, and CES metrics to complete this task. For example, the CSAT model lets you ask a single basic question across all portals, which customers can rate according to their experience.
Additionally, NPS asks customers whether they would choose your brand over others. Similarly, CES asks customers to evaluate their experience with your product.
Overall, these metrics tell you whether customers would like to return to your brand. According to your score, you can see which areas of your service need improvement.
Then, continuously checking your scores lets you know whether the changes you made to your strategy contributed positively to customer satisfaction.
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If you’re targeting long-term customer retention, then customer satisfaction should be the focal point of your business strategy. Apart from bringing recurrent business, satisfied customers help create a positive buzz around your brand, which is ideal for maintaining a positive brand identity in the digital area.
You can enhance customer satisfaction for your business, such as devising a proper support team, rewarding loyalty, and using feedback effectively. In addition, you can use customer satisfaction metrics to see if your strategies are working and even conduct A/B testing to compare your results.