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Customer satisfaction is the heartbeat of any business. How you treat your customers, and how they feel about your product or service, is the decisive factor over whether they go back to you or to your competitor. revenue. In this article, we unpack what it takes for your business to produce highly satisfied customers who will come back to you time after time.
What Is Customer Satisfaction?
Simply put, customer satisfaction is the degree to which your company’s products, services or experiences line up with your customers’ expectations. It’s a measure of how your customers feel about interacting with your company, which can be quantified by conducting customer satisfaction surveys.
These surveys provide an indication of:
- The average level of customer satisfaction; and
- Customer loyalty.
Why Is Customer Satisfaction Important?
Customer satisfaction can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. It can shed light on the likelihood of customer loyalty, customer referrals, and customer churn. It also provides direction on areas of improvement for long term success.
If your company measures customer satisfaction, you should be able to identify these three important things:
- Satisfied customers who have the potential to become evangelists or brand ambassadors who can help drive new customers;
- Dissatisfied customers who have the potential to churn or otherwise leave negative reviews of your company. Research conducted by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that a dissatisfied customer will tell between nine and 15 people about their experience and roughly 13 percent of dissatisfied customers tell upwards of 20 people.
- Areas where your product or service could be improved.
How Can Your Business Achieve Excellent Customer Satisfaction?
Theories abound as to how companies can achieve excellent customer satisfaction, which vary widely in terms of their effectiveness.
But here are eight surefire ways to get your customers raving about their experience with your business.
Personalize Your Customer Service to Perfection
In a crowded marketplace, it’s more crucial than ever that your customers feel like they’re the only ones in the world who matter.
Using your customer’s first name in conversation, congratulating them on an upcoming graduation, and extending well wishes for their birthday are all simple ways to make your customers feel that your customer service agents know them personally (not just the finer details of the transaction they entered into).
[Tip: Use Customer Service Scenarios Tests to prepare your team to personalize service]
A personalized approach like this doesn’t have to be overly onerous on your team, or slow down the pace of service—with the right tools, it should feel natural and effortless.
Provide Your Customers with Seamless Omnichannel Support
Customers today value an easy, effortless customer experience. That means going beyond just an omnichannel experience, providing customers not just with their choice of channel to reach you on, but delivering a seamless experience between those channels.
According to our survey, 86% of customers say they expect the companies they talk to to provide a seamless experience between one channel to the next, with 73% saying that one of their biggest frustrations is having to repeat their previous conversations to an agent just because they switched channels.
Offer Your Customers Self-Service
Sometimes your customers want to find answers for themselves, rather than talk to a customer service agent.
Offering self-service is a win-win for both your customers and your agents because it allows your customers quick access to the answers they need, while freeing up your agents to spend more time reducing backlog or tackling the more complex customer questions.
Apply the ‘Golden Rule’ To Serving Your Customers
The time-honored ‘golden rule’ says that we should ‘treat others the way we want to be treated;.
This calls for your agents to empathize with your customers by putting themselves in your customers’ shoes. One way to do this is to have your agents engage in role play scenarios and act out situations that involve encounters with both easygoing and difficult customers.
The aim of the role play exercise is threefold—first, to observe how your agents handle each scenario; second, to highlight the areas where they need to improve; and, third, to improve through practice and observing best practices.
Encourage Your Customer Service Agents to Be Empowered Problem Solvers
“Let me escalate this to my supervisor.”
These are seven words your customer would prefer not to hear. They would much rather hear these seven words instead: “Let me sort this out for you.”
The Ritz-Carlton is a model example of an employer that encourages its staff to become more autonomous – principally, by giving them the green light to spend up to $2,000 to solve a customer’s problem – without ever having to ask a manager for permission first.
In fact, Empowered Problem Solvers—agents with the knowledge and authority to solve a customers’ issues without escalations—came out top amongst consumers in our latest consumer survey.
Prioritize Your Customer Service Agents’ Satisfaction Too
Just as happy customers make for a healthy business, happy customer service agents make for happy customers.
Richard Branson’s philosophy applies here—that is, “If you look after your staff, they will look after your customers.” So, if customer satisfaction is one of your company’s priorities, it’s a good idea to prioritize your agents’ satisfaction too by showing some appreciation for their efforts.
This can take the form of one-to-one gestures, such as personalized ‘thank you’ notes, to more company-wide acknowledgement, like ‘employee of the month’ programs.
The more pride your agents take in doing their job, the better their customer service is likely to be.
Learn From Customer Compliments (and Complaints)
If your company is ever accused of going on a fishing expedition, let it be for customer compliments and complaints.
Why? Because every customer interaction—good or bad—presents your business with an invaluable opportunity to improve customer satisfaction one way or another. While compliments
show what your company should be reinforcing in the customer journey, complaints highlight areas of improvement.
Analyze Customer Survey Data (And Create an Actionable Plan)
Customer survey data enables your company to have its finger on the pulse when it comes to the experience your customers actually have with your business. It also puts your company in pole position to take necessary action and seize any opportunities that flow from your customers’ insights.
Just be sure that once you’ve collected all this valuable data, there’s a plan in place to analyze and implement actionable strategies that can help your company capitalize and improve from it.
Conclusion: Improving CSAT
Consistently delivering excellent customer service isn’t easy, but it’s definitely doable. Gladly has helped scores of companies provide radically personalized customer service. Watch our demo today to find out how our best-in-class customer support platform can help raise your customer satisfaction game to new heights.