What is customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is the measurement of the extent to which customers feel their goals have been achieved by an organisation’s products and services.

Typically a marketing term, customer satisfaction refers to the extent to which an organisation, product, or service has appealed to a customer and fulfilled their goals and expectations.

Each year, everything is expected to be faster and smoother than the last. Customer satisfaction not only relies on products and services, but also on an organisation’s ability to deliver something quickly, efficiently, and in a manner that is aligned with the technology and expectations of the digital era.

Loyal customers are your most valuable asset

Data indicates that it is exponentially more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a loyal customer—loyal customers are also worth up to ten times as much revenue as their initial purchase. Organise customer satisfaction protocols around keeping existing customers happy and fully satisfied as a top priority, then prioritise acquiring new customers.

One incident easily ends a customer relationship

Customers are quick to change brand loyalties, especially if they have a bad experience with a brand. It may take up to a dozen good experiences to make up for one bad experience, and that is assuming that a customer would be interested in good experiences after a bad experience. It is recommended that organisations follow up with customers, address them in a personal way, and constantly ask for feedback to help customers feel seen and heard.

Exceptional customer satisfaction is a key competitive advantage

A happy customer is not only a potential repeat customer, but they have potential to evangelise, or spread positive words about, a business. A competitive business is a business with satisfied customers, and the best way to win over the competition is to consistently satisfy customers with a service or product.

There are important keys to ensuring that customers are fully satisfied and likely to convert to or stay as loyal customers.

Excellent products/services

Great customer service is only one piece of the puzzle. A large part of customer satisfaction comes from constantly working on a product that helps them fulfil their goals or satisfy a need. Pour resources into creating a highly effective product or service, and work to always find ways to improve.

Caring support, service, and delivery

Excellent products or services are only as useful as the service and support behind them. If a customer has an issue with a product, service, or delivery, focus on innovative methods to better fulfil a customer request or issue by providing personalised support that involves a meaningful interaction—show them that they are being taken seriously and they are cared for.

Timely, responsive customer service

Customer service may be thorough and personalised, but it can still be frustrating to a customer when the service is not delivered in a timely manner, or the organisation is not responding altogether. Form a plan for quick response times while applying personalisation principles to ensure that the replies aren’t only timely, but they are considerate of the customer’s problem. This can include a self-service knowledge base or chatbot, or talking with a representative who has solutions specific to the products or services the customer is using.

Connected workflows that eliminate problems

Coordinated departments and workflows can help an organisation achieve better customer satisfaction through organisation and proper communication. For instance, there may be an issue that is affecting a customer, and it is submitted to the organisation. A proper workflow would deliver the issue to a team or individual who is tasked with handling the type of issue. The fewer hands an issue touches, the better—but each hand that touches it must be thorough and provide strong expertise for the issue so that they can provide a personalised solution that will keep the customer satisfied while addressing their issue.

See how the best companies are using digital technologies to improve customer satisfaction.

A product is only as excellent as its ability to satisfy the customer, and success on the battleground of growth is contingent on the ability to create the best customer experience.

Deeper customer experience (CX) investment yields bigger returns

In addition to responding to customers once they report an issue, either through self-service or assisted service, great customer experiences are fostered by proactive service. This means keeping customers informed through notifications, guided tours, and FAQs. It also means detecting when an issue has arisen that impacts customers, notifying them proactively while addressing the issue, and developing capabilities to predict issues so they can be prevented entirely.

The more an excellent CX is delivered, the more likely customers are to repeat business, leave positive reviews, and spread their experience through word of mouth. Conversely, a bad CX can lead to the loss of business in the same ways that business can be gained—thus, the bottom line is improved and positive experiences are reflected in revenue gain.

Customer satisfaction leaders are poised to pull further ahead in the years to come, yet most companies are behind with digital CX

Many companies are still focused on creating the best and most innovative software, products, or services—but, this focus is becoming more and more outdated as recommendations are shifting toward a focus on CX rather than just product innovation.

Metrics are the best way to measure the performance of a company and the satisfaction of its customers. Taking the time to track and understand customer behaviour and perception can help a company form a better understanding of whether or not they are fulfilling their duties to satisfy customers, or if there are areas where they are falling short. This can help a company strategize and create better workflows to increase customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are an excellent way to gather information about how customers view your brand. A proper survey can gauge satisfaction with the brand, find areas of improvement, and determine whether or not a customer will repeat interactions with the brand. Surveys can measure perceived level of effort, the volume of interaction with the brand, and repetition of engagements with the brand.

Learn more about how customer surveys improve customer satisfaction.

Understand your brand reputation

Use focus groups

A focus group is a gathering of potential or current customers that is used to gather specific feedback on a product or service. Typically, the focus groups represent the demographics to which the product or service is targeted, though some will gather a sample of random people.

Track brand mentions online

Hashtags are a great way to track interactions and mentions of brands online. A customer will typically use a hashtag to indicate their interaction with or interest in a product, and that data can be gathered into a survey-type format to gauge online presence and customer satisfaction. A brand can also have a “handle”, or the name of their respective account that a user can tag in a post, with or without hashtags. Usually the direct mention of the handle is a means of ensuring that the brand sees the post and gathers the feedback of the customer.

Ask customers for feedback

There are several ways that a brand can engage with customers to gather feedback:

  • Social media: Through social media accounts, a brand can ask customers to provide feedback about their experience with the product or service.
  • Surveys immediately after interactions: After a point of contact with a customer, a brand can send out a survey through email, text, or even make it available at the end of a phone call. This is a great way to gauge a reaction right after the fact rather than later when the customer may not remember the details of their interaction.
  • Ask for reviews: Current or former customers could be asked to provide an online review of the brand and their product or service. The request would typically be sent through email or text message, and they usually ask for authentic feedback with a text field for more specific information.
  • Surveys at random intervals: A survey could be sent out daily, weekly, quarterly, yearly, etc. to gauge a customer’s ongoing or past experience with a brand. This measures satisfaction after a customer has had time to continually interact with the brand or experience the service, then sit with the experience for a period of time. It is also ideal for gathering consistent data for a span of time to analyse, then apply to a strategy for customer satisfaction.

Make getting answers easy

Customers should be able to easily access information. Knowledge bases or chatbots can expedite the process before a point of contact is necessary, and customers are able to easily find answers to some questions. If a customer contacts a brand with a question or request, the brand should try to answer the question or contact the customer within a reasonable amount of time. The answer or contact should be thorough and personalised.

Deliver exceptional convenience

Finding contact options should be easy for a customer, whether it is on a contact page or available on the front page of an internet search. Customers shouldn’t have to dig to find answers and shouldn’t have to go too far out of their way to contact anybody at a company—convenience is key.

Find ways to go beyond competitors

Success is a matter of doing things better for your customers than competitors. If a competitor offers a better customer experience, customers are more likely to repeat business with or stay loyal to a brand, in addition to leaving positive reviews and spreading their positive experience to others.

Identify how a competitor, or even top customer service companies, focus on customer satisfaction. Analyse whether or not customer satisfaction is their top priority above a product or service, and analyse some of their techniques to see what does and doesn’t work—implement these techniques into customer satisfaction strategies.

Technology is at the forefront of customer satisfaction, as there are many tools that can improve a customer experience and further customer satisfaction with a brand. Consider the following:

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