Tips to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Everyone is talking about customer satisfaction. It is not only a hot topic in the marketing department, but also in management, sales, and human resources. After all, customer satisfaction is not a term that can be approached with blinkers or only viewed from one perspective. On the contrary: since it influences the whole business it should be viewed across all departments.

Tips to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Just imagine – you’ve fallen in love, the butterflies are still fluttering in your stomach and finally, you’re sitting down with the apple of your eye over a cup of coffee and are happily chatting about anything and everything under the sun. The date is going great and in the evening when you say goodbye you turn around without a word and leave – stop, whoa! It shouldn’t be like that. After all, one wants to maintain and care for such contact long after the evening is over.

What no one would dream of doing with their partner is almost the norm for customers and companies. Consumers are courted and left alone after the first satisfactory contact. Anyone committed to customer satisfaction should take steps to avoid this horrific scenario, instead of making the customer and their wishes and expectations the focus; i.e. they are chaperoned by the company throughout their customer journey. At important touchpoints, contact should be intensified to make the customer experience even more positive. The goal, of course, is to encourage consumers to make further purchases and thereby increase sales.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction – What You Should Know in Advance

To see if you really comprehend customer satisfaction, just look at two points: customers and company employees. Although the term seems to be clearly aimed at customers, one should not exclude employees nor underestimate the effect they exert on customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is influenced not only by the different areas of employee responsibility but also by the internal requirements or opportunities provided to employees to help satisfy customers as much as possible.

With regard to the next important point, the clientele, individualism in this area is usually seen as highly desirable. For example, content and subject matter on social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, should, if possible, be tailored to the personal needs of your customers. However, in terms of customer satisfaction, it is more advisable to look at the ‘average’ customer and not focus on extreme examples. After all, you can’t please everyone. Therefore, it is important to know your target audience and to focus on their general wishes.

Why are these two points so important? Quite simply, this knowledge provides the basic information you need to deal with and increase customer satisfaction. If you still have some catching up to do here, you should find out about customer satisfaction in detail by taking a look at the meaning of important keywords such as customer loyalty and customer centricity.

The Impact of Employees on Customer Satisfaction

Businesses focus on customer satisfaction. This means that in the company’s internal guidelines, customer expectations and wishes, and the fulfillment thereof, take top priority. Sounds good, but who would have thought that customer satisfaction needs support not only by management level and marketing but also by every single employee? To implement this, employees must know, understand, and internalize customer satisfaction from the company’s point of view.

This is vitally important because customer contact can come from all staff, not just (but especially) in service and sales. For example, in marketing and complaint management, employees communicate day in and day out directly with customers. They must be trained to ensure that the contact which takes place is in the interests of the company and the interests of the customer. This is the only way to achieve the goal of increasing customer satisfaction.

To illustrate this, the following table shows how tasks in customer service are directly related to and depend on the companies personnel and internal requirements:

 

Employee TasksRequirements of the employeesCompany requirements:
Offering customer advice via different channelsKnow about the productsOffer training
Responding to individual customer needsShow professional competenceShow professional competence
Act in a solution-oriented mannerDon’t overwhelm staff with tasks
Provide short response timesProvide guidelines for negative customer contact and motivate employees
Maintain a friendly appearanceCollect, update, and link data, then make it available to all employees

 

In order to further optimize customer satisfaction, it is essential to train, support, and motivate staff accordingly. But beware – even when the customer comes into the center of your focus, no employee should be allowed to suffer. Nowadays, there are plenty of customers who are out for conflict and show verbally aggressive behavior.

It is therefore important to motivate employees, but also draw a clear line. It is important to communicate internally when the customer is no longer king but instead removed from the customer database due to negative behavior such as verbal attacks, insults, threats, and the like. This ensures the loyalty of your employees, who rely on their company to protect them and who continue to be in contact with customers and offer them optimal service.

Measure & Analyze Customer Satisfaction

Before you start to take measures to increase customer satisfaction, you should first determine the current status, i.e. measure customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction surveys are particularly suitable for this. Based on selected key figures, a survey can provide a good picture of the current customer satisfaction with the company, product, or service. The survey should then be followed by a customer satisfaction analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to better understand customers and thus initiate effective measures to approach the respective customers.

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    Measures to Increase Customer Satisfaction

    Once the survey and analysis have been completed, companies can now start increasing customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction relies on several factors being provided by the company to ensure that customer expectations are met or even exceeded. These are divided into the basic characteristics of a company and product that a customer simply expects as standard, and measures that ensure that their expectations are exceeded. These basic characteristics include the following six factors:

    Authenticity

    Is the business credible? Does it follow internal guidelines, and does it display these values both internally and externally? Are there any dissonances between words and deeds? These questions can be used to test one’s own credibility and, hopefully, to determine whether one does not only appear authentic but actually is. Consumers expect authenticity in companies, brands, and products as well as services. This is simply one of the most important features associated with a high-quality company.

    Authenticity
    Friendliness

    The be-all and end-all of any relationship is kindness, empathy, and humanity. Buyers want to feel listened-to, collect positive experiences and be treated kindly. This only works if the company reacts consistently friendly and empathetically. You must never forget that buyers are people and want their emotions addressed. Customers don’t forge a relationship with someone they don’t find sympathetic or friendly.

    Friendliness
    Speed

    A prospect asks a question and gets an answer after two days. Anyone who thinks that the customer has waited so long will be disappointed – customers nowadays expect immediate feedback. In everyday work, the rule of thumb is to reply to emails within 24 hours, and this should also be observed in customer contact. If you cannot answer the question directly, you should write an answer that conveys that you have received the request and that you will deal with it immediately. Ideally, you should specify a time window for processing. Then the customer knows that you are making an effort. So two numbers are important – the duration until a company answers a request (first response time) and the time until the problem is solved (resolution time).

    Speed
    Technology

    On the way on the train you quickly want to check something in the online shop, but despite a perfect internet connection, the site loads very slowly because of the many pictures. In frustration, the customer clicks on the competition’s page and orders there instead. On the web, speed is fundamental to corporate success and revenue. The website must load quickly, images should be displayed and the platform should be clearly laid out on every device. To do this, you have to use the current technical standard and update it regularly. An appealing design, legible texts, a clear structure, and simple menus are also part of it.

    Technology
    Data

    Almost all companies collect important customer data and information in order to increase customer comfort, in accordance with the current legal situation and only with customer consent. In order to make good use of such data, it must be regularly updated, sensibly networked and stored in a central location. All employees must have access to this data in order to have the important information about all customers at hand. Every new piece of information must be stored immediately so that the customer can always be perfectly looked after.

    Data

    Four Tips to Exceed Customer Expectations

    The foundation stone has been laid, expectations have been fulfilled. Very good! But there is no reason to let the champagne corks fly yet. Fulfilled expectations do not necessarily improve customer satisfaction. This can only be achieved if you exceed expectations and create a „wow“ effect for the buyer. But you don’t have to conjure a rabbit out of a hat to exceed customer expectations. Nevertheless, companies should give serious thought as to how they wish to satisfy demanding customers in 2020. The bad news: there is no universal recipe, only individual approaches. Those who manage to listen to their customers will get some decent clues.

    • Where is there potential for improvement?
    • Where are the unfulfilled wishes?
    • What is required to impress the customer long-term?

    Does that sound too complicated? Then let’s summarize it with the following tips. To exceed consumers and their expectations, you should do the following:

    Get feedback

    Customers like to tell you what they like and what they don’t. Therefore, every company should value feedback and actively seek it out. Micro-surveys, which make it easy and quick to query the most important points, is also available. In addition, the reviews generated can be used to win customers, because customers rely on credible recommendations in their purchasing decisions.

    Get feedback
    Leveraging feedback for optimization

    The customer’s feedback arrives, an employee reads it and puts it aside. That would indeed be a huge mistake because getting the feedback is only the first step. The next necessary step is to actively use the feedback for optimization. Many customers give valuable tips on where to optimize the product, the service, or the brand and the company. Therefore, it is important to analyze and evaluate any feedback. If you do so, the results can be actively integrated into the optimization process.

    Leveraging feedback for optimization
    Repeat this process regularly

    It is not enough to ask customers once and then assume that they will have no new wishes. Expectations change very quickly and with them the demands that consumers place on their business. Therefore, you have to collect the feedback at regular intervals and make sure that these surveys are always up-to-date, easy, and fast to process. They also have an impact on customer satisfaction. When customers realize that their desires are actively improving, they feel taken seriously. This in turn strengthens customer satisfaction and loyalty to the company.

    Repeat this process regularly
    Say thank you

    The customer responds regularly to feedback emails and the company uses them for internal improvement processes. This is great and more than a reason to thank the customer. After all, he has actively cooperated and invested his precious time and nerves for your company. You should therefore integrate a thank you directly with the feedback, for example, a voucher, discount code, or an invitation to a great event. Creativity and knowledge of what exactly the customer might like is required here.

    Say thank you

    NPS® as a Means of Increasing Customer Satisfaction

    In order to increase customer satisfaction, you need customer feedback. This sounds quite simple at first, after all, you could send a personalized email with questions and then of course add a thank you.

    So far, so simple. But the problems begin when the first answers arrive. They must be collected, sorted, and manually evaluated. In addition, their continued use must be coordinated and much more. At this point, it is clear that feedback must also be handled professionally in order to fully exploit its potential. But even in advance, some mistakes can creep in. If, for example, the questions are not formulated precisely enough, you may not get the answers you had hoped for.

    But help is on hand: There are suitable programs and key figures for this, with which data can be collected effectively and then evaluated. zenloop makes it possible to facilitate this process with the help of the Net Promoter Score (NPS). All you need is a question about the customer’s likelihood of recommending you and a field for comments. All this is then fed through software evaluation. The feedback can be further used, for example, in online portals, in order to publicly use good and authentic feedback for customer acquisition and marketing. Software is therefore ideal for collecting, analyzing, evaluating, and using feedback in the company’s further interest. Bringing feedback into the organization brings customer satisfaction and loyalty sharply into focus, ensuring the long-term success of the company.

    Increasing Customer Satisfaction – These Are the Next Steps

    In order to continuously improve customer satisfaction, a well-thought-out foundation is needed on which individual strategies and competencies can be built. This entire construct must be understood and implemented holistically in the company by every employee, from management level to marketing, sales, human resources department, and the intern. Keeping an eye on customers with their expectations and wishes is not a temporary trend, but a decisive factor in winning consumers from the competition in the long term.

    Closing the feedback loop is also of crucial importance here. This is all about using the given feedback to learn more about the customer and their actions and to derive proactive strategies and improvements, for example, to turn a negative perception around, for promoters to recommend you more actively, and to turn detractors into promoters. Generally speaking, these four principles should be followed to successfully close the feedback loop and increase customer satisfaction:

    • Measure the influence/impact of your actions
    • Act quickly and elegantly
    • Take care of the majority of the clientele
    • Solve strategic problems

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