12 ways for your company to improve customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is essential for an organization’s success. If a company wants to make it in today’s business world for a long period of time, it should focus on making its customers happy, on building a relation based on trust and, eventually, on gaining their loyalty. Satisfied customers can become the biggest asset a business possesses, in this highly competitive environment.
Today, organizations seem to have more and more methods, tools and tactics in store when it comes to making the customers happy, and their usage can make the difference between a successful and an average organization.
In his article Improving Customer Satisfaction (6 Tactics), Ross Beard provides some useful tips on how to increase the level of customer satisfaction:1. “Hold employees accountable for customer satisfaction”
It can be helpful for an organization to create a culture which entitles all employees to be responsible for certain areas regarding customer satisfaction. This approach involves breaking customer satisfaction into categories and assigning each category to a team member. Each team member will be accountable to follow up with customers and make sure they are happy.2. “Use live chat to offer superior customer support”
Live chat can be considered as an extension of email, the multitude of platforms that enable an organization to provide its customers with instant support. As help can be offered very promptly, at different moments during the day, it might be the tool that helps you deliver outstanding experiences to your customers.3. “Treat every customer encounter as a business referral opportunity”
When interacting with a customer, employees should act as if they are going to ask for a referral from them at the end of conversation. This will determine employees to put more effort into delivering superior customer experiences and maybe turning regular customers into customer advocates.4. “Consistent and clear expectations”
In the author’s opinion, it is important to be very clear about what customers should expect from a company’s products and services. If, after providing its customers with a clear list, the organization fails to deliver, it can know, very specifically, what expectations have not been met.5. “Leverage action based emails”
Action based e-mails can be used to educate the customers on different areas of interest to them.6. “Focus on WOW experiences”
When creating WOW customers experiences, you are exceeding their expectations by addressing their needs thoughtfully and in unexpected ways. A more customized approach in the interactions with the customers will create happier customers, which will eventually turn into “raving advocates”, as Ross Beard mentions.
Another author, Caron Beesley, also provides some strategies that can be followed, in the article 3 Simple Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction Today:A. “Listen and Learn”
When communicating with clients, employees should be aware of the key information transmitted and make sure everything is very clear. They should also observe customers’ behavior, in order to be able to identify their needs and recommend the best products and services. In this way, customer satisfaction will improve, with a positive impact on the financial performance as well.B. “Look for ways to treat customers as you would like to be treated”
Companies should prove care and genuine concern when solving customers’ requests. The saying “Put yourself in the shoes of your customers” is the best to follow when interacting with them, and having simple role-plays with your staff can help you identify improvement areas and work on them, as Beesley mentions.C. “Carry Customer service across all your customer touch points”
Companies should monitor all their touchpoints and offer support and care at all these levels, both online and offline. Caron Beesley considers that encouraging an engaging social media environment within the company will prove beneficial for the customers’ satisfaction.
Now, we understand that improving customer satisfaction is never easy, but it is definitely worth the hassle. So in addition to the points we’ve outlined so far, here are three more things you should keep in mind when focusing on maximizing customer service and satisfaction:I. Measure customer satisfaction
No improvement can take place in the absence of measurement. By measuring customer satisfaction, a company can dramatically decrease the number of unhappy customers, and the reason is simple. When finding out what is their current level of satisfaction, the organization can an act both in developing its products and services and in offering a better customer support.
Very popular tools for measuring customer satisfaction are the online surveys and the customer satisfaction metrics.
When designing a customer satisfaction survey, companies should, first of all, set clear goals and establish a plan for using the data collected and for acting upon it.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help you gain clarity in this matter. Some examples of KPIs are % Customer satisfaction, % Customer loyalty, % Customer satisfaction with service levels, % Customer satisfaction with complaints handling, % Net Promoter Score.
These KPIs should be used to measure clear and specific objectives, which were established in accordance to the organization’s strategy. Of course, employees should have a very clear understanding of the KPIs’ meaning, and they should have clear action plans established, for achieving the targets.II. Strengthen the customer loyalty
Loyal customers are important for an organization, as they are not easy to influence by the competitors. If customer satisfaction refers to a transaction made with a customer, customer loyalty refers to an attitude or behavior of a satisfied customer. Some strategies that can be taken into consideration when striving to gain customer loyalty would be:
- Keeping in mind the special occasions from their lives and pay attention to them, for example by sending personal letters, cards or small presents;
- Educating customers and involving them in the development of new products;
- Listening to customers, talking to them and finally delivering according to their needs.
Benchmarking with other companies from similar domains can provide an organization with new ideas for improving customer satisfaction. Benchmarking can offer insights on the best practices used in the industry, which can become a starting point for innovation and improvement.
Satisfied customers play a crucial role, which can eventually be translated through a good market position, business success and profitability. Happy customers are the best advocates of a brand, and they represent a company’s key target.