For a business to survive, it needs income, which comes from customers. No matter what product or service your business may be offering to clients, customer retention is an important aspect of any successful business. Some companies may survive with only single-purchase clients, but owners of businesses that thrive and grow tend to focus more on overall customer satisfaction. Discover how to improve customer satisfaction for your own business.
Why Is Customer Satisfaction Important?
Whether your business focuses on promoting products to other businesses or directly to customers, you're always dealing with other humans. Taking a more human approach to the customer experience is an important part of your role. Because you're interacting with other people regularly, the concept of keeping your customers happy is crucial to your company's overall success and potential for growth. To do so, you'll need to maintain a long-term, functioning relationship that benefits both sides, as well as determine how to build customer loyalty.
According to research performed by RightNow, more than 80% of satisfied customers will do business with a company again if they feel the experience was positive. On the other hand, 95% of unsatisfied customers surveyed will take action after experiencing something negative with a business. Taking action may include sharing concerns with others, whether that involves complaining to friends or sharing feedback online, or simply reiterating the negative feelings they experience.
To delight your customers and avoid negative reviews and frustration while expanding and growing your business, you need to pay attention to these customer satisfaction rates and work on ways to improve them. Every company may approach how it requests customer feedback and improve customer satisfaction rates differently, but following a few tips for how to improve customer satisfaction can help you achieve greater success in your business.
18 Ideas for How to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Among the best ways to improve customer satisfaction are the following:
1. Provide Support Across Multiple Channels
In today's tech-heavy world, your customers want to be able to communicate with your team members in multiple ways. Some will want to call in to talk to a customer service representative, while others simply want to use social media to ask questions or resolve a problem. Make sure your company has customer support reps available to respond to inquiries through various social media platforms, web form submissions, emails, and phone calls to provide the best possible experience for each individual customer. Some companies choose to use artificial intelligence to respond to inquiries initially and filter these inquiries to other channels.
2. Focus on Employee Satisfaction
When your employees are satisfied and happy in their roles, these feelings tend to translate to the service they provide to customers. It's important to make employee loyalty and satisfaction a priority in your business to maintain a positive working atmosphere, such as implementing an employee recognition or rewards program or by simply expressing your appreciation in a personalized way.
3. Focus on Company Culture
Establishing company culture goes a long way toward making your employees happy, and it impacts the customer experience as well. Employees aware that your company culture emphasizes a healthy work environment may be more inclined to work for you, attracting better talent to your company while providing a better degree of service. Customers interacting with company reps who uphold the brand’s values may feel more satisfied dealing with your team, too.
4. Take Ownership
Each employee who is responsible for communicating with customers must be able to take ownership of a problem a customer may be experiencing and find a way to resolve it. When your customer support reps can resolve problems for customers, they tend to have more pride in their work. Additionally, customers can be satisfied with the outcome without having to talk to multiple people or be transferred to different departments.
5. Ask for Customer Feedback
Customer satisfaction surveys are essential for improving satisfaction rates. If you want to know whether your clients are happy with the service they're getting from your company, you need to find a way to measure customer satisfaction. A standard survey that goes to every client who purchases a product or service will give you insights into what people like and dislike about their experience.
You can also take the responses and use them to implement a plan to improve customer satisfaction rates. In using information on how your customers feel about your service to change your operations, you directly meet your customers’ needs and may thus notice higher satisfaction levels.
6. Look at Reviews
If you're worried about negative reviews, you may avoid searching for your business name on Google or Yelp. However, you have to know what people are saying about your company and their experiences with your employees. Providing great customer service can result in positive reviews, while a negative review can impact your company's overall online rating. Check reviews regularly and respond to any unhappy customer, if you have any, to find out how you can make a complaint right and increase customer satisfaction rates.
7. Implement a Customer Support Training Program
To provide the highest level of customer support, it's essential to ensure that your customer service representatives are trained to give streamlined positive support to your clients. A customer support training program ensures that those who serve as the face of your company are providing high levels of customer support, especially when they understand the expectations.
8. Personalize Your Responses
A successful customer satisfaction program is personalized and tailored to each individual client. Customers should feel like they are the only ones who matter at that moment. Using their personal information, such as their name and order details, can make a big difference.
9. Assess Customer Churn Rates
Customer churn refers to the occasion when a client ends a relationship with a business. If your company provides products or services online, the churn rate may refer to the length of time since a customer last interacted with your website or made a purchase. You can use tools built into small business software options that can help you track churn rates and determine how to re-engage customers who are no longer interacting with your business.
10. Use Net Promoter Scores
A net promoter score measures the customer experience rates and uses this information to predict how your business could potentially grow. Calculating your net promoter score regularly also helps to gauge the loyalty level of your customers. Using these scores allows you to determine whether customers are happy with your business, which you can then use to make changes to your customer support model or other engagement tactics.
11. Create Product Experts
Your team should include experts on the products or services you provide to clients. Any agent who is interacting with a customer directly should understand the nuances and specifications of the product or service offered. Take the time to create and implement a training program that ensures your support team is made up of knowledgeable experts.
12. Exceed Expectations
Your customers want to know what to expect in terms of wait times, response times, and interactions with your employees. It's frustrating for customers to feel like they're in limbo, unsure of when they might hear back or what a support representative will be able to do to resolve their problem. Remove the uncertainty by providing clear expectations for customers and then exceeding those expectations in the response.
13. Reward Loyal Customers
Every so often, reward your loyal customers with something they might not expect to receive, such as a free product or a discount code. Receiving a coupon code via email could inspire customers to purchase a product that they have been considering from your company. Even if they don't use it, your customers will appreciate the gesture and may be more likely to come back to your business in the future.
Although a number of definitions exist for customer satisfaction, depending on your industry and clientele, it's essential to make sure that your business plan includes an active focus on overall customer satisfaction rates. This number is an important metric that you should track and check on as frequently as possible throughout your fiscal year. By implementing some changes to your customer training programs, requesting feedback, exceeding expectations, and ensuring your employees are satisfied in their roles. You can identify how to improve customer satisfaction rates and gain more loyal individuals who want to purchase from and do business with you in the future.
14. Build a Customer Service Community
An online customer service community – perhaps a Facebook group or questions and concerns tweeted with a certain hashtag – can engage customers with your brand without much extra work on your end. As the relationship between the customer and your brand grows, the customer may feel happier with your services and thus more loyal to your brand. It also creates a library of content to which you can refer other inquiring customers about your products or services.
15. Include Add-ons and Discounts
To improve your customer satisfaction levels, try surprising your customers with unexpected discounts, offers, add-ons, or free products. For example, the limited-time extended warranty you add to a customer’s purchase or the free extra item you add to large orders can make your brand appear more generous. And customers are more likely to feel satisfied with a generous brand.
16. Take the Stress Out of Buying
It’s one thing to mark down your prices substantially. It’s another to clearly indicate and explain your extended refund, warranty, or free trial periods at the point of purchase. Often, customers expect these terms on risky purchases, and when you include them upfront, you appear more trustworthy. Your customer loyalty may also increase if you remain transparent about how customers can seek recourse if they’re dissatisfied with their purchases.
17. Compare Your Customer Services with Your Competitors
To see where you could improve your customer satisfaction, benchmark your customer service against that of your competitors. If a highly successful competitor is doing something you’re not, give that a try. Or if you see on social media (or hear through word of mouth) that a competitor keeps slacking in one customer service area, commit to not making the same mistake.
18. Prioritize Honesty in Your Marketing
Products that don’t meet the standards set in your marketing or product information are a major source of customer churn. Worse yet, customers who break ties with you over false advertising might leave all kinds of negative customer feedback on your review pages, thus leading to fewer future customers.
To avoid this problem, don’t overpromise anything in your products’ marketing materials. Instead, focus on what you think are your products’ actual best features and what your customer satisfaction surveys indicate are your strengths. In doing so, you put your best foot forward without setting yourself up for extensive blowback. The result is improved customer satisfaction – and, for your business, more revenue.