At the end of 2021, as many as 80% of companies have failed to improve their customers’ satisfaction according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This continues a long trend of displeasure between customers and companies, although the trend lines are flattening a bit. Companies are digging in with a focus on customer satisfaction improvement and it’s beginning to pay off.
Online reviews have become even more prolific over the last few years as customers increasingly turned to online shopping and a more cautious approach to their shopping habits. According to Invesp, a full 90% of consumers visit review websites before making a purchase.
Companies have a great opportunity to increase customer satisfaction in a public, impressive way simply by interacting with their customers when they leave reviews online.
- What is customer satisfaction?
- Why is it important?
- How to improve customer satisfaction?
- How to start?
What Is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a metric of the customer service experience. By measuring client satisfaction, companies can stay ahead of purchasing trends, monitor customer churn, and can also determine issues or concerns with various products or services.
There are many aspects to monitoring the customer experience, but the most important are speed, convenience, knowledge assistance, and friendly interactions. 80% of American consumers find these factors to be the most important aspects of a positive customer experience, shows the PwC report.
Customer satisfaction can be measured in many different ways, but it all amounts to the same thing. Companies need to know how their products and services measure up to the expectations of their customers. This feedback is measured in many ways.
While you can gain a lot of information from surveys and online forms with customers, there is a lot to be gained from reading what customers are saying online as well. Review websites make it possible – even easy – to measure customer satisfaction.
Why Is Customer Satisfaction Important?
Customer service is the name of the game in modern business. Without a strong measure of customer satisfaction, your customers are going to simply hop to your competition for their purchase, and you’ll be faced with the more expensive task of converting new customers rather than encouraging repeat purchases. As you’re considering how to improve customer satisfaction, first consider why it is so important.
Customer Service Defines Your Brand Reputation
It’s unlikely that your product or service is wildly different from anything created by the competition. That means you need to find another way to differentiate your offering. Outstanding customer support is a great way to do just that. Your brand reputation can be defined not just by providing a quality product, but by also providing the quality service to go along with it.
Repeat Customers Pay Off
According to the Harvard Business Review, keeping your current customers can pay off. By working to increase customer satisfaction and retain just 5% of your current consumers, you can boost profits up to 95%. A boost in clients satisfaction can benefit in a big way.
Customer Churn Reduces
Having loyal customers can yield big profits, but the flip side of that is the money you’ll save by not having to round up new clients when your old ones leave dissatisfied. 32% of customers will stop doing business with you after only one bad interaction. Customer satisfaction improvement can keep your clients happy and perhaps bring in new ones by word of mouth rather than more expensive marketing.
It’s Expensive to Fix Mistakes
According to Forbes, it can take up to twelve positive interactions with a customer to overcome the effects of one negative one. If you can improve customer satisfaction and make sure customers are pleased with your first interaction, you can skip a great deal of the work that goes into making up for a mistake.
Customer Feedback Drives Business Decisions
The decisions you make as a business owner stem from the feedback your customers are providing. Forms and surveys can provide a lot of this information. So can online reviews. As you’re making decisions about product improvements or new areas to explore, monitoring what customers are saying online can provide more insight than just about any other measure, save calls to your customer service department about issues.
Drives a Positive Brand
Your brand recognition is a critical part of your marketing strategy. You spend quite a bit advertising your product or services. You have social marketing teams making sure you’re doing as much product hype online as possible. But it will all be for naught if the product or service doesn’t measure up to the hype. You need positive customer support and satisfaction if you want to reinforce the brand image you spent so much time creating.
Happy Customers Bring More Clients
If you can keep your customers happy, they will likely tell others about it on review websites or by word of mouth. Customer reviews are powerful. A positive review tells others that you stand by your customers and provide what they need. Even negative customer reviews can provide an opportunity to capture new consumers by publicly taking a bad situation and making it a good one. Customers love to see companies interact with them publicly.
How to Improve Customer Satisfaction: 8 Strategies
Looking for how to improve customer satisfaction? There are many ways to boost customer service, some of which take minimal effort or expense. Here are eight things to consider.
Understand Your Customers
If you’re seeking the best ways to improve customer satisfaction, start by getting to know your customers. Use surveys to build a customer profile and then plan and execute new initiatives according to the profile. Considering something new? See what your customers think before investing in the idea – surveys and online feedback are great ways to see what’s on their minds.
Seek Customer Feedback
It’s hard to perfect your customer service if you don’t ask for feedback. Online reviews provide unsolicited feedback in many cases, but you can also ask for it directly. Quick surveys after the transaction can give you immediate information. Solicit online reviews to help build your brand and see what customers are saying. You’ll get much more information when you ask for it.
Create a Culture of Service
If excellent customer service is going to be a cornerstone of your business, you’ll need to make your business centered around it. Your focus should be on service and you should be leading with empathy. Train your employees to work with customers rather than manage them to create the sort of positive feedback you’re looking for.
Respond to Customer Reviews
Online reviews are powerful things. You and would-be customers learn a lot, and the consumer leaving the review is gauging your reaction as well. When customer reviews pop up online, you should be replying to them. A quick thank you is a positive way to react to favorable reviews.
If a negative review shows up, treat that as an opportunity to showcase your exceptional customer service, but be sure you reply! Current and would-be customers are watching to see that you are there to assist them.
Take Action on Customer Responses
It’s not enough to send out a canned response to reviews or phone calls to customer service. Clients expect you to react. In fact, 64% of customers improved their rating on the review website, PissedConsumer.com, by speaking directly to customers.
Offer Multiple Communication Channels
You need clear communication channels, and you also need multiple options for how customers can be in touch. Offer customers options to communicate with you by phone and by email, and also social media options and online chat services. Have communication choices through apps and on your website.
Speed and professionalism are critical. Customers have concerns and they want to know you are paying attention and ready to spring into action. In fact, 43% of customers would pay more for convenience, and speedy response will give them just that. When replying to customers online, move as quickly as possible – two days for a thank you and less than a day when you’re addressing a concern.
Engage Personally With Your Customers
When replying to reviews or engaging with customers in stores or through customer service, do so as personally as possible. Customers respond to customized and personalized experiences, and sometimes this can be as simple as addressing reviewers by name and including specific details of their experiences.According to PwC, 42% of customers would pay more for a friendly experience, so it’s worth throwing some smiles and names around.
Steps to Start Boosting Customer Satisfaction
If you haven’t been focused on maximizing your customer satisfaction, you’re missing opportunities to retain customers, decrease churn, boost profits, and build a powerful brand reputation. Boosting customer satisfaction is a process that requires constant finesse and polish.
As you begin your customer satisfaction journey, especially in regard to customer reviews, work through these basic steps.
Step 1: Set Up Excellent Communication Channels and Procedures
You can’t help your customers if you don’t have the right people in place to help them and you don’t have easy ways for customers to reach out. Start by building a customer service department you are proud of.
Step 2: Request Feedback
Encourage customers to share feedback directly with you and with others. You can solicit it through surveys, online forms, and online reviews. Ask for feedback in as many ways as you can find it.
Step 3: Engage Quickly and Politely
Customers who have left feedback are looking for responses or solutions. Give them what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Keep your responses in the public eye initially so that others know how much your company values customer service.
Review websites like PissedConsumer.com offer easy ways to engage with customers. Consumers leave reviews about their experiences, often seeing solutions to problems they have encountered along the way. These customers are seeking answers and options. Engaging with customers can be as simple as offering an apology and the best means of contact is seen in review #4017460 a customer posted about a missing delivery attempt.
Step 4: Stay Flexible
Customer service is always changing and there is never a single solution that works for every problem. You will need to stay flexible, adjust your response, and personalize the customer service experience for every customer to provide maximum customer satisfaction.
This might mean offering customers multiple means to stay. JustAnswer did exactly this when replying to a complaint by a customer on PissedConsumer (review #4012334). The reviewer was charged more than expected, and in a professional response, the customer support team offered a specific contact person with both phone and email options.
Customer satisfaction is a metric that is critical for the success of your business. Still, too often we fail to monitor what our customers are saying and the effectiveness of our response. Improving customer satisfaction brings in more revenue, more business, and more respect for your brand. It’s always worth investing in a high-quality consumer experience.
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