No matter what product or service you provide for your customers, there is one question that must always be at the forefront of what you do:
"How do I make doing business with my company a better experience for my customers?"
Customers are the lifeblood of your business and if you can't keep them happy and loyal, it won't matter how good your marketing is, how many leads you receive, or how well your salespeople convert new customers.
Without focusing on keeping your customers happy and consistently improving customer satisfaction, you'll struggle needlessly and your doors will be closed in no time.
Customer satisfaction may seem like an elusive term that's impossible to track or manage, however, there are a number of factors that dictate whether or not your customers are happy, and a variety of measurement tools consistently evaluate customer satisfaction in your business.
In this post, we'll learn how you can influence and improve customer satisfaction for your business.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
The ASQ (American Society for Quality) defines Customer Satisfaction as 'a measurement that determines how happy customers are with a company's products, services, and capabilities.' Armed with information from surveys and ratings, companies can make educated decisions regarding how to improve their products and services.
While individuals vary in exactly what they look for from a company, there are some universal truths when it comes to customer satisfaction. This means that no matter what product or service they are shopping for, customers expect certain things. Let's dive in below.
Factors that Influence Customer Satisfaction
- Response Time
- Reasonable Prices
- Loyalty Programs
Have you made it easy for customers to interact with you to ask questions, voice concerns, or get a problem solved? Or, do customers have to jump through a number of hoops, do an extensive Google search, and pray to the gods of customer service that they can get a hold of you?
While it may be unpleasant dealing with an unhappy customer, it's significantly worse dealing with an unhappy customer who took 2 hours out of their day to track you down.
Mistakes happen, and despite the old adage, the customer isn't always right… but if you'd like to keep them as a customer, they must always be happy. You can ensure this by hearing them out when they are upset, showing concern for the situation, and letting them know that you'll do everything in your power to make it right.
Every industry and company has its own "shop terms" and lingo that they use to describe what they do and how they do it. Unfortunately, this insider language doesn't resonate with customers.
They want to know that you understand their problem and have a solution for it. In order to communicate that, you need to figure out what words they use when they talk about it.
4. Response Time
We live in a fast-moving world. Customers expect products to arrive on their doorstep hours after they order them, and questions to be answered within minutes (if not sooner!) of them asking.
While many companies can't afford round-the-clock staff, away messages that contain answers to FAQs and chatbots make it possible to interact with your customers on their time.
Very few customers will go out of their way to do business with you. If you make it difficult for them to browse, shop, schedule, or buy, they'll be looking for another company to provide the solutions they need.
It's important to review your buyer's journey on a regular basis and see if any areas could be tweaked to increase convenience.
Customers like to have options when it comes to purchasing. They want different colors, styles, levels of services, and different methods for delivery. These choices help them feel in control of their own buying experience.
While customers like having options, too many options can cause analysis paralysis and cause your potential customer to give up before they finalize a purchase. As you design your products and your processes, remember that a confused mind never buys.
Your customer service may be top-notch, but if your product is of poor quality, you won't have a returning buyer. Make sure that you create the best possible product that customers can't live without.
9. Reasonable Prices
There will always be low range, mid-range, and high range prices. If your products are of superb quality and your customer service consistently wows, it's okay to charge more.
However, if you charge more than the market will bear, and more than your ideal customer can afford, you'll price yourself right out of business.
Customers want to feel appreciated for doing business with you. You should have some sort of follow-up procedure in place to say thank you. This can range from a quick email to a thank you gift (depending on the value of the product or service), but will always let your customer know that they are important to you.
11. Loyalty Programs
It's wonderful to offer incentives to new customers coming in, but what about the loyal customers that have stuck with you from the beginning? Consider instituting some sort of loyalty program where existing customers receive discounts, freebies, or access to special content or products as a thank you for their continued support.
The business relationship doesn't have to stop just because the credit card has been swiped. As humans, we want to feel like we are a part of something bigger. Creating a community, whether virtual or in-person, around your product, will help keep your customers engaged with your brand.
Customer Satisfaction Factors in Service-Based Industries
Not every business has a tangible item that they sell to their customers. For some organizations, your "product" is a service that you provide to solve your customers' problems. These businesses fall under the category of "service industry," and include:
- professional services like lawyers or CPAs
- spas or other wellness-related services
While you won't be providing a traditional product for your customers, their satisfaction is still essential for your business to succeed.
All of the above factors including (but not limited to) customer service, the quality of your work, empathy when addressing a problem, and customer appreciation, still hold true for a service-based business.
Your "product" is your service, so make sure the quality is up to par. In addition, if you're stepping into customer's homes, there's a level of trust that you must build to make them feel comfortable welcoming you into their space. You'll also need to be respectful of their home and their time.
Customer satisfaction is essential to the future of your business. Not only do happy customers come back and become loyal, repeat buyers, but they also share their experiences with friends and family.
There is no better marketing than word-of-mouth from your fans. Schedule out some time to evaluate your current customer satisfaction reality, and then implement the changes necessary to keep your customers happy, engaged, and coming back for more.