Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is the greatest weapon in the armory of any business. It’s as simple as that.
A satisfied customer will do more for your business than any advertising campaign could ever manage.
Fully satisfied customers will return, they’ll spread the news, they’ll expound on the qualities and the positives of your product or service, and they’ll elevate the profile of your brand without you even having to ask.
Customer satisfaction in 2023, or 2053 for that matter, promotes customer loyalty and loyal customers should be the goal of every business that wants to succeed.
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What is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction can be described as an accountable measure of how well a company’s products or services meet the customer’s expectations.
OK, that might be what the dictionaries say, but in practice, there’s a lot more to satisfied customers than a person using a product or service and saying “Gosh, that’s good”.
To define customer satisfaction a little deeper, the business owner needs to start at the very beginning of the customer’s journey.
- They need to reach out to the customer – usually even before the customer is aware of the company’s existence
- They need to completely understand the problem that the customer needs to solve
- They need to present a viable solution to the customer’s problem
- They need to be aware of the customer’s spending power to overcome their problem
- They must prioritize the customer’s problem as being the only thing that matters to them
- They need to connect with the customer in a tone – or environment – that’s appropriate to that customer alone (first impressions are important)
- They need to realize that there are competitors to the service they offer and be aware of every one of them
- They need to counter any customer concerns with true and proven facts and figures – not information designed to make the sale regardless of the consequences
- They need to close the sale in a way that suits the customer – payment options, delivery dates, offering additional services that go above and beyond, and ensuring that the product really solves the customer’s problems
- They need to make follow-up calls/visits to keep the customer’s journey alive and real
- They need to make subsequent offers of staff training, offer additional information, send invitations to seminars or events, arrange meetings with other product owners, offer upgrades and add-ons when they become available, and generally ensure that once the sale is completed that the customer still feels a connection with the company
- They need to follow up with regular customer satisfaction surveys and act on the information provided
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Even if you think you’ve done everything right, customer satisfaction can be ruined by something as trivial as a late reply to a query, an unfulfilled promise, or even using the wrong name in correspondence.
The route to customer satisfaction in 2023, as it has always been, is never based on one factor alone, but on a combination of many variables that must be kept to the forefront at all times.
One of the main ways of doing this, and of understanding and measuring your customers’ satisfaction is with the use of customer satisfaction surveys that cover every step of the sales journey – from pre-sale to post-sale.
Why is knowing the level of customer satisfaction so important?
It is usually cheaper to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.
However, the rise in remote interaction and remote service has also introduced the phenomenon of the remote customer.
During the height of the global pandemic, sales executives were unable to meet their clients face-to-face and new lines of communication had to be introduced.
Zoom calls, webcasts, virtual meetings, and online product launches became the norm. Because of this, many companies lost the one true asset that they had relied upon for decades – human interaction and instant evaluation of customer satisfaction.
That’s why measuring customer satisfaction, increasing loyalty levels, and improving customer satisfaction has never been as important as it now and will be throughout 2023.
Examples of customer satisfaction
You might think that you have the customer sales journey nailed but are you sure that you’re managing every stage of the sales pipeline with customer satisfaction in mind?
For example, you might have aced the online shopping experience, only to ruin the whole experience by failing to deliver the goods or service in the stated time. Result? Unhappy customer.
But what are some examples of customer satisfaction managed properly?
Getting to know your customer
Not every company can afford the luxury of talking directly to every customer. But when there’s a problem nothing is going to solve it better than taking the personal approach.
Spending time getting to know a customer, by email or over the phone, can make all the difference in creating a feeling of greater satisfaction.
How often have you heard a friend or family member say something like this? “The lady who called me from X Company was so nice and made sure that my goods were shipped the same day. She even called me back to make sure that the delivery arrived on time.”
Not only did that phone call make the customer feel special, but it also created a positive impression in the mind of the third party.
Keeping the customer in the loop
When a crisis strikes, be that a global pandemic or local delivery issues, notifying your customers can go a long way towards improving customer satisfaction.
Even if the pandemic meant that in-store shopping was no longer viable, sending the right message about what measures the company was taking to reduce the risks for the customer showed them in a positive light.
Whether pandemic or local issues, keeping the customer up to speed with what’s happening on the ground will go a very long way to increasing the level of customer satisfaction.
Reacting to poor performance
Things go wrong and sometimes that can’t be helped.
Whether it’s a customer service person who had a bad day, a delayed product delivery, shipping the wrong goods, or any of a hundred other reasons, how your company reacts will make all the difference.
Whatever the reason for having unhappy customers, your company will need to react in the right way as soon as possible.
If you want your customers to stay happy, and more importantly loyal to your brand, you don’t want them to be disappointed for any reason.
However, on the rare occasion that it might happen, you should consider offering a discount, a free replacement, or some other freebie. You should also let them know how the problem occurred and the steps you have taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
One way of increasing customer loyalty is by introducing a customer rewards program.
The Monetha online shopping rewards program is designed to do exactly what it says – rewards your customers for their loyalty. And, what’s more, is that the process is straightforward.
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Buyers love to know that they haven’t been forgotten the moment they handed over their hard-earned cash.
That’s why keeping customers informed of every step of the journey is vitally important, especially if they’ve made a purchase online.
You might want to consider the following:
1. Acknowledging orders – When a customer places an order they should receive at the very least an automated response thanking them for their purchase and letting them know what they can expect next in the process.
2. Notifying about shipping – When the order is shipped let your customer know when the goods have left your facility, how they are being transported, and when they should expect delivery. Make sure to include a tracking number and a contact person should there be any problems.
3. Follow the shipping – If you want to add an extra level to the overall customer satisfaction experience, you might consider sending an additional notification on the day their goods are due to be delivered. The customer can then make any necessary arrangements to be at home or to make any additional arrangements necessary. This can also lessen the chances of lost or misappropriated goods.
4. Delivery notification – Finally, you might want to let your customer know that their goods have been delivered (this will mean working closely with your shipping provider). The notification may also note any other details like code numbers for postal boxes, customer ‘not-at-home’ notifications, and emergency contact details to help rectify any problems that might have occurred during transit.
These were just a few small examples of how companies can promote better customer satisfaction.
Be proactive in assuring customer satisfaction
You need to anticipate every step of the customer journey in advance and have a system in place that is ready to deal with any eventuality. You also need to ensure that the human touch is maintained throughout every stage of the journey.
And finally, don’t forget, to ensure top-notch customer satisfaction, always remember that the customer was, is, and should always remain an integral part of your company’s growth.
How to measure customer satisfaction
How does a company know if it’s doing all that it can to ensure customer satisfaction?
Being able to measure the level of customer satisfaction is pretty much critical to a company’s growth potential. Having a way of measuring customer satisfaction can give you vital information and metrics on whether your products and services are meeting your customer’s expectations.
There are several major ways to measure customer satisfaction and most of them start with customer surveys. And, always try to remember, customer satisfaction data is meaningless unless it is analyzed properly and used correctly.
CSAT Surveys usually ask a couple of short questions at the end of a transaction – or even at the end of one phase of the transaction. The questions usually come in the following formats: ‘How satisfied were you with the product/service?’ The answers might come as one of the following, unsatisfied, satisfied, or very satisfied?’
Net Promoter Score Surveys
A Net Promoter Score Survey is a customer survey asking how likely a customer would be – on a scale of 1 to 10 – to promote your brand to another person. This survey type helps companies to determine if their customers are ‘Promoters (people who give scores of 8-10), Detractors (people who give scores of 1-3), or Passives (people who give scores of 4-7)’.
Customer Service Data
Companies that interact mainly online can conduct customer surveys centered on aspects of their site, usually problem resolution times and the response to support requests. If any function on the site is resulting in increased ticketing, you can be sure that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. You can also garner further important information on your customers’ satisfaction levels from metrics like issue-handling time and problem-resolution rates.
Quantitative Customer Satisfaction Metrics
To understand a buyer’s motives, actions, and results, some companies employ quantitative research surveys. This involves creating a panel of customers who meet to offer their feedback on your business’ products, services, usability, and other telling metrics.
Customer Churn Rate
Every company providing goods or services wants to know one very important metric; why people leave (customer churn). Getting an answer to this question can help the company reduce that churn rate and increase customer satisfaction.
Customer Effort Survey
A customer effort survey will help to reveal how much effort is involved for the customer to engage with any stage of the sales pipeline. It usually involves a series of questions asking how easy or how difficult it was for the customer to accomplish a certain goal or task – returning a product, receiving support from customer service, or having an issue resolved satisfactorily (or not).
Customer Health Score
This one is really important. A customer health score will give you the metrics behind how likely it is that a customer will remain loyal to your brand, product, or service over a set period. To survey uses metrics like willingness to answer surveys, the number of support team interactions, product usage period, and money spent on the brand’s products/services. The customers can then be identified as being categories such as ‘weak, healthy, or at-risk’.
One important note about surveys
Whichever survey methods you choose to employ to help measure customer satisfaction, it’s important to remember that if you don’t act on customer satisfaction metrics, you may as well not have them.
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5 benefits of positive customer satisfaction
A high level of customer satisfaction can help to reduce churn, elevate a brand’s image, reduce the amounts of time and money spent on customer support, create a sense of loyalty with customers, offer support during times of crisis, along with helping to gain valuable insights in how products and service can be improved.
Reduce customer churn
There are many reasons why companies suffer from customer churn, price, poor quality goods, poor customer service, or better offers from other companies. However, from all of these, poor customer service is the number one offender affecting customer satisfaction levels.
To reduce churn, working closely with your customers and genuinely listening to and acting on their feedback will help to build a lasting customer relationship and improve customer satisfaction.
Increase brand awareness
Customer satisfaction generates greater brand awareness. Whether from word of mouth, or on the back of quality products and services, brand awareness is a powerful tool in the arsenal of every business.
You only have to make one wrong move for your competitors to swoop and steal the customers you worked so hard to generate and retain. Constantly working to identify and repair any paints your customers and prospective customers might experience lead to greater brand awareness, and stronger retention figures.
Get ideas to improve your products and services
Getting the opinions of your satisfied customers is always a good idea. After all, they are the ones paying good money to use your products and services and are the ones who are best placed to offer ideas on how to improve your products and services. Plus, having your customers as advisors helps to generate even stronger brand loyalty.
Increase customer loyalty
If a customer or service user experiences a negative with your product they won’t remain quiet about it. In fact, according to studies, customers who’ve been left with a bad taste in their mouths are likely to tell between 9-15 people about their experience. That’s hardly good news for the future of your business.
Any claims of a bad experience are far easier to dispel with a network of satisfied customers who’ve got your back.
Monetha is an online shopping loyalty program that generously rewards customers for shopping with their brand. Rewarding your customers can help to reinforce your brand’s presence and offer incentives for return shopping.
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Support during business downturns
For one reason or another – pandemics, geopolitical reasons, market slumps, etc. – a company’s loyal customers are the ones who can be counted on to keep the business ticking over even during times when growing your client base is next to impossible.
Repeat customers can help a business ride any storms that might come its way and can even be influential in determining whether a business is likely to survive or not.
9 ways to improve customer satisfaction
In the same way that every business is different finding ways to improve customer satisfaction will depend on the flexibility of the business to connect with customers and potential customers.
Trial and error, along with measuring the results of every strategy will help determine if your business is getting things right or not.
However, there are several basic methods of increasing loyalty and improving the level of customer satisfaction.
Listen to the feedback
It’s one thing to listen to your customers’ feedback, but it’s only by analyzing that feedback and acting on it that you can hope to increase the rate of satisfaction. Try to fully understand your customer’s pain points and then create a plan to resolve them.
Use your CRM to its full advantage by tracking the customer’s sales pipeline and making the necessary adjustments where they are needed. Social media and review platforms are other good sources of gaining a better understanding of the needs of your prospective and existing customers.
Know where your customers go
Trying to sell a $30 million private jet to a construction worker or a grade-school teacher is probably a waste of time and money, so why would you do it?
Be where you know your customers hang out, that means online, in the media, and on other platforms that they might use to find answers to their problems. Plus, customers appreciate places with flexible working hours and have the means to respond to their requests at any hour of the day or night. That doesn’t mean you have to have a physical presence 24/7, instead, you can use platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and WhatsApp to automate the process.
Don’t leave your customer waiting
When a customer reaches out to your brand, you need to do everything necessary to make sure they receive a fast response – even instantly if possible. Due to the transformation of digital communication technologies, customers no longer expect to have to wait a day or even a couple of hours for your reply.
If someone is not available immediately, ensure that you have a system in place to act for you. From pre-written responses, messaging channels, AI-powered bots, and automated emails can give you the extra time you need to make contact in person.
Customer satisfaction is for everyone in your company
Whether you know it or not, every member of your organization has ownership of your company’s customer satisfaction policy. That means, that the person who takes out the garbage to the managing director must share this ownership.
Every action taken by a company employee can affect the company’s overall image. Any negative actions can directly impact – whether through word of mouth, social media, or other media outlets – customer satisfaction. On a positive note, when customer satisfaction is high, workers tend to take greater pride in their individual tasks and the status of the company brand.
Training is your friend
Imagine if your company was doing everything right, except when it came to your customer service department. The people manning the phones and email lines are often the first and last point of contact for your whole organization.
That’s why business owners should invest heavily in training customer service to perform at the highest level. While training may seem expensive, having untrained personnel dealing face-to-face with prospective and existing clients could cost you a lot more in the long run. If yours is a small company, and training costs are prohibitive, you might want to instigate a mentorship program where trusted employees are the ones given the responsibility for the quality of their colleagues’ work.
Make it easy to find answers
Whatever the question, most prospective customers have gotten used to ‘Googling’ the answer themselves. That’s why it’s your job as a company owner to ensure that the answers to the most frequently asked questions – and even less frequently asked questions – are always easy to find without having to resort to connecting with a customer service agent.
Make it personal
It’s simple, people love the personal touch. That’s why a company’s customer service team should have access to all the relevant information they might need to deal with a client’s queries successfully.
Modern CRM programs and customer feedback surveys are equipped to carry all the information regarding a customer’s history such as who they are, where they live, what’s their age, when they last made contact, what they’ve purchased in the past, and any other information that might help them to build up a personal profile of the person they’re dealing with. Plus, if you can build an association or rapport between a customer and a dedicated member of the customer service team you’re bound to increase the overall level of customer satisfaction.
I just called to say…
Sometimes it’s better to reach out to your existing customers rather than wait for them to have a problem and contact you. For one thing, they’ll understand that you trying to provide them with the very best service (even if you’ve called at a bad time). Secondly, it means that you’re trying to anticipate any problems that they might be experiencing, and they’ll appreciate that. And thirdly, you can offer the customer – even if they didn’t ask for it – the latest news that’s relevant to their purchase or the company in general. Think of it as a call just to let them know that you’re there and that you still care.
Make the customer a part of a community
We all love to belong to something as a collective. It gives us a sense that we are valued, that we have a contribution to make and that our voices will be heard when we have something to say.
That’s why many companies build loyalty groups, chat rooms, and question-and-answer sessions for their customers. Groups like these, whether using a chat room or a physical space, can connect to have conversations, answer questions, and share ideas and useful information.
Your customers will appreciate that you’ve gone to the trouble to create a community that caters to their needs and helps to reinforce the idea that they’re not just another statistic in the sales ledger. And as a final plus, a community space can allow your customer service teams to interact in real time while getting to know the customers individually.
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Keep your customers satisfied – it all starts with just a few clicks.
Every business owner loves to see a happy customer, but real customer satisfaction gives companies more than just a warm feeling it also offers the following benefits.
- Increases brand loyalty – good experiences keep the customer coming back
- Boosts brand trust – Improve customer satisfaction and you’ll improve brand trust
- Attracts positive word of mouth – almost 90% of consumers read online reviews
- Grows your audience – A bigger audience can lead to more sales
Everything positive you do to improve your customers’ experience is almost certainly going to boost customer satisfaction. Here are some of the main ways of achieving that.
- Gather (and analyze) customer feedback regularly from multiple channels
- Act on what you’ve learned from your customer feedback
- Reply to all feedback
- Act on complaints and spread the news about how you’ve fixed the problem
- Constantly improve your product/service
- Keep customers in the loop with relevant company news and new product info
- Empower employees to be the face of the company/product/service
- Reward customer loyalty
When it comes to customer satisfaction, customers are often described as being either ‘Promoters’, ‘Passives’, or ‘Detractors’. The more customers you have in the Promoters bracket the better it is for your business. If you have more detractors than promoters, it’s time to make some major changes in your business strategy.
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) – an overall measurement of customer satisfaction directly after interaction
- Net promoter score (NPS) – measure how likely a customer is to promote your business/product/service
- Would you miss us (WYMU) – asks the customer if they would miss a product or service if it no longer existed
- Customer effort score (CES) – measures how much effort was needed for the customer to accomplish any interaction with the company
According to business experts, 79% of people are less likely to return to a particular company, product, brand, or service after a negative experience. That’s why extensive marketing campaigns are created; to help ensure that every experience is a positive one. Here’s how they do it.
- Request feedback across multiple channels
- Hire the right employees the first time around
- Personalize every experience and contact as much as possible
- Have a user-friendly website/portal
- Create specifically targeted online content that’s designed to help
There are many other ways of increasing customer satisfaction, from a friendly welcome to extensive advertising campaigns. Every company – and its employees – are different, so what works for one company may or may not work for another company.
Conclusion – make your customers happy
Nobody wants unhappy customers, but understanding customer satisfaction is not as easy as many business owners think. They should never assume that they know everything about their customers and constantly strive to build deeper relationships.
It is vitally important to use tools such as customer satisfaction surveys, automated reply systems, focus groups, social media, and even rewards programs like Monetha to fully engage their customers and understand their wants.
The more you know your customer expectations – customer feedback will help you to understand that better – the greater their level of customer satisfaction. The result? Happy customers.
And never forget, that every member of your team, regardless of the position or rank within the company, plays an important part in maintaining and growing customer loyalty towards your brand, product, or service.