Happy customers build successful businesses. You can grow, scale, and develop your business if you understand your customers’ feelings about you. Great products, the best marketing campaigns, and the costliest ads are all playing second fiddle to the power of customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers grow brand loyalty, boost word-of-mouth recommendations, and significantly boost a business’s growth.
But, keeping customers happy is becoming challenging in the constantly evolving competitive business landscape. This blog post aims to simplify making customers happy and equip businesses with proven ways to improve customer satisfaction.
Table of contents
- What is customer satisfaction?
- Why is customer satisfaction important?
- The 3 C’s of customer satisfaction
- 14 Ways to improve customer experience
- Take time to understand the customer journey
- Deliver omnichannel support
- Ask for feedback
- Respond to all reviews
- Lead with empathy, always
- Engage 24/7 with chatbots
- Share feedback with your teams
- Always establish next steps
- Encourage your team to delight customers
- Create a customer-centric culture
- Monitor passive customer feedback across channels
- How do you measure customer satisfaction?
- FAQs about improving customer satisfaction
- Improve your reputation and engage more customers with the right platform
What is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a measure of how content and happy customers are with a company’s product, services, and experience.
Businesses must focus on keeping their customers happy and satisfied. This way, they stick with the brand, increasing profitability and reputation. Most successful companies attribute their success to their focus on improving customer satisfaction.
While it feels like an abstract metric, it certainly is not. Businesses can measure customer satisfaction by conducting surveys, customer interviews, and analyzing customer feedback across various channels.
Why is customer satisfaction important?
Customer satisfaction directly impacts brand reputation, referral programs, conversion rates, and revenue. It has far-reaching implications for the growth of a business.
Let’s break down the top four reasons that make customer satisfaction vital for a business.
Reduces customer churn
Customer acquisition is an expensive and challenging process. Customer acquisition costs have gone up significantly over the past few years. In fact, it now costs 222% of what it cost eight years ago to acquire a new customer. So, a smarter business decision is to focus on and retain existing customers.
Investing in customer satisfaction improvement reduces the possibility of a customer leaving the business (customer churn).
Increases customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value is the revenue a business can generate over the lifetime of the customer relationship. It is a factor in how long the customer stays with the business. The higher the purchase frequency and time, the higher the advantage to the business.
A satisfied customer is more likely to keep purchasing and availing of the services of a business than someone who has had a less-than-pleasant experience.
Improves your branding
Branding a business is a measure of how existing customers, potential customers, and the general public perceive your stature. The stronger your reputation management is, the higher the brand awareness will be.
Businesses with great products but no satisfied customers run the risk of damaging their branding and reducing their value in the market.
On the other hand, businesses that focus on improving customer satisfaction can build a premium brand and charge higher prices for the same product/service.
Boosts customer loyalty
Happy customers become attached to the brand and may constantly choose your business over competitors. This builds customer loyalty and improves the possibility of referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations for your business.
The 3 C’s of customer satisfaction
Repetition makes perfect must be the mantra of every customer service office. And that is why the 3 C’s of customer satisfaction are just consistency, consistency, and consistency.
But it is not just alliteration; it shows it is essential to develop consistency across different aspects of customer interactions.
A strong correlation exists between customer journey consistency and the overall customer experience. According to McKinsey, banks performing lower on the customer satisfaction table typically had more variability in experience across their own branches (in other words, a lack of consistency).
To build a community of satisfied customers, businesses must invest in processes that provide a consistent customer experience to all customers, no matter the avenue of interaction.
Emotional consistency is essential for customer satisfaction as it is integral to growing the customer’s trust in your business. Ensuring you provide the same level of service and the same degree of satisfaction with each customer experience will typically result in a positive emotional experience for the customer.
A business that is consistent with its communication and continues to amplify its consistent track record will increase its reputation, brand awareness, and trust in the delivery of its products or services.
Customers getting consistent and on-brand messaging across all communication channels builds trust and customer satisfaction.
14 Ways to improve customer experience
Increased customer retention is easier said than done. The best place for your company to start is to examine your customer experience and ascertain the key improvements you can make.
Below are our top 15 ways to enhance customer experience and, as a result, improve customer satisfaction.
Take time to understand the customer journey
One of the most productive ways of understanding the customer journey is to experience your business’ customer experience yourself. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and consider every step of the customer experience. This includes how easy it is to find you, your response rate, and the overall user experience.
Understanding the customer journey allows you to understand customer pain points and take steps to improve the experience.
Deliver omnichannel support
Omnichannel support means providing consistent customer service across all channels your customer is likely to be. This way, you can make sure that you address all customer queries in real-time and meet customers where they are.
Some of the ways to implement omnichannel customer support are:
- Live chat support
Response time has proven to be an essential part of improved customer service. Live chat support tools can provide responses in real-time instead of an email query with a longer response time.
- Social media support
Most customers follow businesses on social channels and choose to address their queries via direct messages on social media platforms. Businesses must have a team in place to address these queries instantly. Such easy access to brands can significantly improve customer satisfaction.
If you are on multiple social media platforms, leverage AI-driven solutions like Birdeye to monitor and manage communications from a unified inbox.
- Email support
Email is a helpful customer service tool. Email response times are likely to be slower than, say, live chat or instant messaging. But, email support still provides a useful opportunity for your business to improve customer satisfaction, with regular communication on product updates, order information, and surveys.
- Phone support
Phone support also continues to be a trusted method of customer service. Even recent studies suggest that most consumers prefer a phone call to get hold of a customer support representative. Your business should also consider other messages to provide customer support directly through the consumer’s phone, including, for example, the use of mobile apps and text messaging.
Work with Birdeye to implement AI-driven omnichannel support at a cost-effective pricing model.
Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is crucial. Only 1 in 26 customers will tell a company directly about a negative experience. However, the rest will leave without raising the issue. If you proactively ask for feedback upfront, you reduce the risk of a customer leaving and can take steps to avoid losing future customers.
Regularly sending surveys helps gather customer feedback and analyze it to understand problem areas.
Respond to all reviews
Responding to reviews helps build trust and loyalty, which in turn helps you improve customer satisfaction and attain a higher retention rate. Not only do customers expect a business to respond to their reviews, but good customer service dictates that response promptly.
Lead with empathy, always
Harvard Business Review research found that the top 10 companies within the Global Empathy Index 2015 managed to “increase in value more than twice as much” as those brands in the bottom 10. They also generated “50% more earnings.” Leading with empathy requires your business to use empathetic words and phrases, listen to your customers, and consider their feelings, situations, and motives.
With AI-driven review management solutions like Birdeye, you can create custom templates that lead with empathy and help your agents provide a great customer experience.
Engage 24/7 with chatbots
You’d be surprised what can be learned from reviewing live chat and chatbot conversations. By engaging 24/7 with chatbots and giving the option to the customer to reach you the moment they need you, you will gain valuable insight into the queries, concerns, and frustrations a customer has. These are insights they might not ordinarily voice had the chatbot not been available.
You can also work with AI-powered chatbot solutions that analyze customer interactions and tailor responses to improve customer experience.
Share feedback with your teams
Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, plays a role in the growth of your business. If your customer is happy, you can take the opportunity to utilize this by, for example, obtaining a positive review that you can promote and advertise. Likewise, negative customer feedback is also useful, as it allows you to consider ways your business can improve.
However, obtaining feedback will be useless to your customer service teams if you don’t share this information. Sharing feedback with the critical team members enables them to take corrective action immediately.
With Birdeye’s ticketing feature, you can assign team members to work on negative reviews, survey responses, or inbox messages directly from the dashboard. You can also see how effective resolution rates are with our robust reporting models.
Always establish next steps
By establishing clear next steps, the customer knows what comes next in the customer experience and feels cared for. Without thinking, the customer will know who will contact them, who they are to liaise with, when to expect an update, and what happens even after a transaction is complete. This step could make the difference between customer success and helplessly watching customers leave due to confusion about what they should do next.
Encourage your team to delight customers
Your team should think about going out of its way to delight the customer (and should be given the freedom to do so.) Encourage your team to reward loyal customers, proactively engage with your customers to ensure they have the help and support they need, and identify opportunities in which the customer experience can be enhanced or improved upon.
Create a customer-centric culture
Having a customer-centric culture at your business means that everything you do focuses on the consumer. Build processes that factor in the needs and preferences of customers.
Ensure your processes are user-friendly, customers can locate you quickly, and connect with you without hassle, and your team has adequate resources to assist customers.
Monitor passive customer feedback across channels
There are many creative ways to monitor customer feedback even when you don’t ask for it. These include social listening (by monitoring what is said across your social media channels,) reviewing engagement with your website, allowing review and comment sections on your website, and reviewing chatbot and live chat conversations.
Without this data, you’ll be attempting to grow a loyal customer base without the necessary insight required to cultivate loyal customers successfully.
How do you measure customer satisfaction?
Successfully converting your customers into happy and loyal repeat customers will only work with systems in place to measure the outcomes. This is so you can monitor what works and what requires improvement.
Here are a few simple ways to measure customer satisfaction:
Define your goals
Define and set clear goals about customer satisfaction benchmarks and objectives for future improvement. Without a clear goal, the data you obtain may not report on critical metrics that help you improve customer satisfaction levels.
Outline a plan
Once goals are in place, you will need a plan outline that will enable you to measure those goals.
It could be a process to conduct regular surveys, send review requests, conduct customer interviews, etc.
Choose a customer satisfaction survey model
Customer satisfaction surveys are resourceful ways to measure customer satisfaction. The most common customer satisfaction metrics to consider are:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT,) which rates the customer’s satisfaction
- Net Promoter Score (NPS,) which rates the customer’s likelihood of promoting your business
- Customer Effort Score (CES,) which rates the ease of the customer experienced the customer journey
Learn more about ways to measure customer satisfaction score with our detailed blog post.
Customize the survey questions and layout
As is usually the case, we recommend personalizing any content intended for your customers, including surveys. In addition, you want the surveys to be engaging, relatively quick, and, most importantly, user-friendly.
Determine your survey’s trigger
For a survey to succeed, the moment in which it reaches your customer is crucial. Determine at which stage, or stages, of the customer journey the survey will be triggered to arrive in your customer’s email inbox and consider why that moment will be the most effective.
You can analyze survey open and response rates for the best results.
Select your survey medium
Selecting the suitable survey medium will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. For example, you might seek a customer’s feedback after completing a sale. You might be seeking their feedback after they have just watched a video or tutorial, and you want to know if that video or tutorial was helpful. Different mediums are better suited for different purposes.
Analyze your survey data
Start by reviewing the written feedback, the commentary, the complaints, and the reviews to get a feel of the critical areas of your business that need to address any issues. From there, you can analyze the survey data, using reporting tools to assist your understanding.
Make adjustments where needed
After completing all of the above, the most important step is to take the feedback and make adjustments. This will show the customer was heard and your business cared enough to address their concerns.
FAQs about improving customer satisfaction
The best methods for improving customer satisfaction are consistency, providing real-time responses to customer queries, engaging with the customer through their preferred channels, and proactively seeking feedback.
We improve customer satisfaction primarily to reduce customer churn, increase customer lifetime value, improve our branding and awareness of our brand, and boost customer loyalty.
According to McKinsey, the 3 C’s of customer satisfaction are customer-journey consistency, emotional consistency, and communication consistency. Consistency is key.
Improve your reputation and engage more customers with the right platform
Improved customer satisfaction is one way to improve the business’s profitability. Finding and securing the right customer feedback platform will help you communicate effectively with your customers across various channels.
Birdeye is an award-winning all-in-one customer experience platform that helps businesses improve customer satisfaction through its many products. You can use Birdeye for requesting reviews, updating business listings, chatbot implementation, survey automation, appointment scheduling, and more.