We keep hearing the words customer experience and customer satisfaction. But what do they mean? Simply put, good customer experience leads to customer satisfaction and is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. It is essential to understand what customers want and need from your business and then to provide a high level of service. It is equally essential to be aware that customer needs may change, and companies must learn to adapt to the ever-evolving customer needs. So let’s understand what customer satisfaction is.
What is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is when a customer is happy with a product or service. It is how you measure customers’ experience with your products and services. A single bad experience will have the customer turn to your competitor. Therefore, an organization must focus on satisfying its customers, regardless of industry. It includes providing quality products and services and meeting customer expectations. The two vital questions organizations must ask are:
- Who are our customers?
- What do we need to keep satisfied?
Your customers are those you supply with products or services. They can be individuals, or other businesses, such as dealers or distributors.
The second question needs more thought on how to keep your customers satisfied with your business.
It is impossible to assume you know what customers want all the time. They could change their mind or have some unexpressed needs. Therefore, the only way to know what is in their minds is through tools to gather information, such as questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, etc. Companies must get real insights into what their customers want and customize their products and services to meet their customers’ expectations.
Customers pay their money in good faith, expecting specific standards and quality of delivery. It starts with placing the order and does not necessarily end with the delivery, as aftercare or support is just as crucial to the customer. New customers seek more than transactional relationships. They look at past reviews and make their choice based on the feedback given by previous customers. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that these reviews are favorable and their satisfaction scores are consistently high.
When customers are happy with what they receive, they are more likely to continue doing business with you and recommend your company to others. Underscoring your customer satisfaction are four key elements:
- Provide a quality product or service. The product or service must meet the customer’s needs and expectations.
- Provide good customer service. This means that customers should be treated courteously and promptly, and their inquiries and concerns should be addressed promptly and efficiently.
- Keep your promises. If you tell customers that you will do something, be sure to follow through. It will build trust and confidence in your business.
- Listen to your customers. You must pay attention to what they say and take their suggestions and feedback seriously. It will help you better understand their needs and wants and make changes to the products or services, if necessary.
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Why is customer satisfaction important?
Customer satisfaction is more than necessary; it is imperative if you want to see your customer base grow and business improve. Understanding customer satisfaction also gives you an idea of their likes and dislikes allowing you to improve your products and services where necessary. Companies rely on customers and experience to build their brand and ensure repeat customers. Knowing when your customer satisfaction rating drops can also be a valuable tool as you will gain insights into the problems they face, thereby taking the opportunity to deliver better quality products. High customer satisfaction scores have several benefits to offer, such as:
A satisfied customer is a repeat customer. Customers will likely stay with you if they receive a consistently good customer experience. However, even one negative experience can turn them towards your competitor. Therefore, you must keep track of your customer service and see if it is good enough to secure their loyalty. You can either survey and gauge their opinion about your company and products or use data analytics to observe customer behavior and trends. You can also view their history and their reviews of your company. It is easy to see when new customers are directed to your site through recommendations from existing customers. It is a clear example of how you can increase your target audience and expand your customer reach.
Customer loyalty is often based on customer satisfaction. If a customer is happy with a product or service, they are likely to continue using it and talk about their positive experience. Businesses can earn customer loyalty by ensuring that their products or services meet or exceed customer expectations and providing excellent customer service. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If your customer has a negative experience, they are just as likely to broadcast it, thanks to social media. Irrespective of the incident, it pays to listen to feedback and work to meet customer expectations.
Customer lifetime value:
How can a business ensure that their customers stay with them even if the product price is higher? You can create a superior customer experience. Businesses can ensure customer lifetime value through customer satisfaction by creating an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint, delivering on promises, and constantly seeking feedback to improve the customer experience. You can’t beat a personalized customer experience to bring lifetime value.
Increased customer base:
There are a few ways businesses can increase their customer base through customer satisfaction. Obviously, providing excellent customer service is the most direct way that word will spread to friends and acquaintances to bring them over to your company. Such service goes hand in hand with the quality products you offer. However, customer satisfaction can also be high if you become proactive and communicate with them even after receiving your product. Prompt response to their inquiries and addressing their concerns is only one part of the process. Understanding the trends through analytics and being proactive also plays a significant role in getting recommendations, thereby bringing new customers.
Improved team performance:
Customer satisfaction directly impacts the customer support team. In the case of positive feedback, the team may feel inspired to reach greater heights. In the case of negative feedback, the support team learns of areas that need improvement. The three main areas of feedback include response time, resolution time, and how many times a call is transferred to other support team members. A long wait time and incomplete resolution can be frustrating to the customers. Repeating their complaints to one agent after another can be equally disappointing. These metrics indicate the quality of your support team and where your Service Desk’s in-built analytics should help.
The importance of good customer service cannot be underestimated as it is key to building a solid reputation, keeping your customers happy, gaining more customers, and improving your bottom line. Therefore, metrics to measure how your customer support is doing can be of significant help.
How to measure customer satisfaction?
As stated before, businesses must keep track of their customer satisfaction scores to maintain a good performance record consistently. There are several ways to measure how your customers feel and what they think of your company. For instance,
Customer satisfaction surveys:
These are the short one or two questions you can ask after each interaction, like “Are you satisfied with the product” or “can you rate the product on a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest?”
Net Promoter Score surveys:
You could take a survey to understand if your customers are promoters of your product or service. By asking them how likely it is that they will recommend you to others, you can determine if they are promoters or detractors.
If you’re seeing an increase in tickets around a particular task or feature, something needs improvement. You can infer customer satisfaction from call resolution rates and the average issue-handling time. You can use customer data to get insights into their satisfaction levels.
Using metrics and analytics to understand customer satisfaction is key to offering the best customer support you can. However, it would help to understand the factors that influence customer satisfaction.
What factors influence customer satisfaction?
Factors such as initial response time, the convenience of omnichannel support, simplicity of resolution, and quality of service can influence customer satisfaction. Other factors include the quality of the product or service, the price, the level of customer service, and the convenience and availability of the product or service. Based on these factors, you are bound to have different types/ levels of customer satisfaction.
What are the types/levels of customer satisfaction?
There are three types of customer satisfaction:
- Transactional satisfaction is when customers’ expectations are met during a transaction.
- Emotional satisfaction is when they feel good about their purchase.
- Relational satisfaction is when they have a positive relationship with a company.
Each of these types can be further categorized by levels of satisfaction.
- Level 1: Meeting expectations
- Level 2: Exceeding expectations
- Level 3: Delighting the customers
However, there are levels to creating a negative experience, which would fall well below customer expectations.
Every business must make customer satisfaction a top priority. There is no getting away from the crucial role customers play in business growth. Therefore, you must use all the tools in your arsenal to ensure customer satisfaction, including customer data, in-built analytics, metrics, etc., to get your business to the point where you are known for the consistent quality of products and services.