Customer satisfaction is the key to a loyal customer base and a successful business. They are loyal, great advocates of your brand, give you repeat business, and genuinely want you to succeed in the market. Without satisfied customers, you will not have loyal customers. Without customer loyalty, you may not have customers that stay long. They will switch to your competitors or the next best option as and when they get the chance. Customer satisfaction and loyalty saves you money; it is 7x costlier to acquire new customers than retain old ones.
A recent customer study suggested about 65% of an organization’s business revenue comes from its existing customers.
20 proven ways to increase customer satisfaction
To ensure you have happy and loyal customers and grow that number, you have to work towards elevating customer satisfaction.
The likelihood of selling to existing customers is 60-70%, as opposed to new customers at 5-20%.
Here’s how you can improve your customer satisfaction in 20 simple steps.
1. Understand customer expectations
You cannot hope to serve and satisfy your customers if you fail to understand and deliver on their expectations.
A recent study in the US suggested about 50% of customers believe brands do not meet customer expectations.
If you fail, there is a disconnect between customer expectations and your product or service, take the necessary steps to bridge it. Speak to them, send out customer surveys, and seek their feedback. Act on the customer feedback received; this will boost customer loyalty and encourage them to provide feedback in the future. This does not mean you can set expectations, and if you do, you best stick to it. Is their feedback relayed to the right departments? When can they expect their issues will be resolved? These are just a few examples that you can use to define and refine your customer processes.
2. Experience the journey yourself
There are several touchpoints at which your customers will interact before, during, or after purchase. Why don’t you go through the experience yourself? Sign up for a demo; see how it goes. Register a complaint, record the turnaround time. Once you know all of this first-hand, you will know which areas need improvement. This will make your processes and operations efficient boosting customer experience and customer satisfaction.
3. Connect with your agents
Often overlooked, but you need to interact with your agents regularly and on-a-need basis. They are the ones facing customers directly; they know what the issues are. Use that data to fix any shortcomings you have in the customer journey.
It is also important that you trust and empower your agents. Let them be involved in the process and passionately resolve customer issues. If at all, that does not work, they can always escalate it. This will ensure they are engaged and will reduce employee attrition.
Recent studies indicate support agents quit their work due to their work environments as opposed to their compensation.
4. Treat your customers right
Goes without saying but is very important. Tend to your customers the way you’d expect and then raise that bar. Treat them with respect, your utmost attention, and commitment. This has to reflect across all your teams and functions. Empathize with their issues when they post a concern, understand their reasons behind any concerns navigating your website or connecting with support, etc. If a customer feels the website is not helpful or hard to navigate, have a live chat for capturing that feedback. All customer-centric organizations put in efforts to make their websites user-friendly, visually appealing to make customers happy.
5. Train your teams
Teams that are trained well are better at handling and resolving customer issues. Trained customer service has better records and significantly boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.
A recent survey of US-based customers said 69% of them feel customer service is highly essential for their loyalty towards a brand.
6. Reduce wait times
Higher wait times significantly take customer satisfaction score down. It is the brand’s responsibility to plan for and hire support staff. You cannot provide excuses to customers such as high call volume, understaffed, holiday season, etc. You need to foresee such situations and plan measures accordingly.
7. Offer multi-channel help
There could always be some small issues that your customers may have due to oversight or some other reason. Provide videos, documents, and all sorts of support collateral to resolve small issues on their own. Have them reach out to support only for complex issues. Not only will your customers appreciate that, but it will also help them get solutions faster.
8. Listen to your customers
Listen to your customers, both satisfied and unsatisfied. Figure out what’s working for you and what’s standing in the way of excellent customer experience. Conduct customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys using a CX management platform and go through them. See which areas need improvement and how you can improve them. If you conduct customer surveys but not act on their feedback, you will not make them happy. Do not lose your customers this way to your competition. Get all your teams involved and work towards the common goal of elevating customer satisfaction.
9. Build communities
Setting up communities is a great way to handle customer service, promotional and marketing activities, and address any customer concerns. Having a community manager enhances your social media presence and responsiveness. The community manager can monitor all conversations and keep the conversations moving in the right direction. They can keep an eye out for any product or service concerns and flag them to the team for timely resolution. Communities are a great way to collect new product ideas, feedback on existing and upcoming products.
10. Ensure employee satisfaction
Employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) are inextricably linked. Engaged employees are known to go above and beyond to deliver a great CX. Appreciate your employees, reward their efforts, give them a great working environment, and enrich your customer experience. We discuss this in great detail in our customers and employees matter blog.
11. Improve your NPS
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty and your customers’ willingness to recommend your products and services to their loved ones and peers. Conduct NPS surveys to measure your Net Promoter Score. A good NPS score is essential to understand where you stand concerning your competitors. See what your competitors are doing differently or better from you and improve your NPS. This will help boost your customer satisfaction.
12. NPS detractor recovery
CSAT and CX play a crucial role in managing brand perception and image. Successful companies that care about and deliver on great CX follow up immediately with dissatisfied customers. This helps address customer queries and concerns, contain customer churn, and avoid the spread of bad or negative word of mouth. Social media channels such Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., provide the option to post comments, reviews, and feedback at the click of a button. Avoiding that by following up with customers and resolving concerns should be a key focus. We call that ‘Detractor Recovery‘, and our CX management platform allows brands to automatically track negative feedback and take timely action.
13. Do not ignore your passives
When brands conduct NPS surveys, the respondents get categorized into three types based on their answers. Promoters are the customers that rate 9 or 10 to their willingness to recommend a brand’s products or services to their loved ones and colleagues. Detractors are the ones that rate either 6 or below and are a churn risk. They will switch to a brand’s competitors at the next available opportunity. Passives fall in between; they rate you either 7 or 8. Many brands are guilty of ignoring their passives mostly because they neither promote nor bad mouth your brand. However, focussing on passives should be a priority for all brands. With a few improvements to your customer operations and processes, they can become your promoters. Read this blog about NPS passives for more information.
14. Make CSAT part of your company culture
Make customer satisfaction a part of your DNA, your company culture. Let all your initiatives and processes be driven by this common organizational goal. When employees start aligning their individual goals with company goals, your customer experience, and the customer will automatically increase.
15. Leverage social media
Having company accounts on all leading social media platforms is not enough. You have to monitor them frequently for any customer queries and concerns and resolve them asap. Use these platforms to monitor trends and patterns and take measures to address concerns proactively. Gather important information and share it with your teams so that a smooth CX is ensured across all customer touchpoints.
16. Read customer reviews
Apart from leading social media channels, there are many websites and portals out there where customers can post their reviews. Monitor these or sign up on these portals to see what your customers are saying about your products and services. Good or bad, try and understand the reasons behind these reviews. If they are good, see if you can replicate them elsewhere and improve CSAT. If negative, what are the reasons, and what measures can be taken to improve their experience? Once you start analyzing these, you can use that data to increase customer satisfaction significantly.
17. Do daily stand-ups
Customer issues or product bugs do not follow any patterns. You can have none in a week and plentiful the next. Are you releasing any significant product updates next week? Are any product enhancements scheduled for next week? Plan for major events such as these to avoid overwhelming your staff with customer complaints or queries. Poor customer service affects customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Foresee major holidays, infrastructural overhauls and plan accordingly to ensure great customer service.
18. Conduct CSAT surveys
Customer satisfaction surveys help in measuring customer satisfaction. These surveys help you understand the reason behind your customers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Use them to gather data, share it with your teams, and bridge any gaps that may be hampering a smooth customer experience. We speak about the importance of CSAT surveys in great detail in this blog.
19. Convert customer survey data into action
Conducting customer surveys is just one step in ensuring smooth and rich customer experience. Customer satisfaction may go up or down depending on customer interactions at various touchpoints in the customer journey. Use these surveys to uncover reasons, discover patterns, identify trends, and use that information to define and refine your CX and CSAT initiatives. Conducting surveys and not using the data derived from those surveys can be a major disservice to your customers and brand.
20. Personalize for your customers
When customers buy from you, they give you their data willingly. Are you using it wisely? When was the last time you used it to personalize your marketing efforts or send personalized birthday wishes? Do not just gather data and sit on it. Personalize your customer interactions to engage customers, boost customer loyalty, and satisfaction.
These ways will work wonders in increasing your brand’s customer satisfaction and enriching customer experience. To effectively manage your CX initiatives, you can check our CX management platform and its benefits.