When it comes to customer satisfaction, small business owners and managers need to stay on their toes: most customers agree that customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
There are several keys to keeping your customers happy, and if you can master them all, you're sure to have a satisfied customer base. We talked to several experts in the field to learn what those keys are and tips on how to apply them.
How Can Companies Boost Customer Loyalty?
The digital age has transformed the way companies do business. In order to stay competitive, businesses must find new ways to reach and engage their customers and retain their loyalty. Here are a few strategies that companies use to add new customers and retain their existing ones:
Use social media to reach new audiences. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide businesses with an opportunity to connect with potential customers from all over the world. In order to maximize your reach, it’s important to create quality content that is interesting and engaging.
Offer incentives to existing customers. Rewarding your current customers is a great way to encourage loyalty and repeat business. Consider offering discounts, loyalty programs or free shipping to keep your customers coming back for more.
Make it easy for customers to buy from you. In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key. Robert Warner, Head of Marketing at Virtual Valley, says, “The success, convenience and emotion of a customer's interaction with a company are the three most important aspects in determining the customer's level of satisfaction.” Make sure your website is easy to navigate and that your checkout process is quick and easy.
According to Matt Miller, founder and CEO of Embroker, “Advertising is flooded with guarantees and claims of which many are over-promised and under-delivered, making keeping your promises one of the most important keys to customer satisfaction.” There are a few key customer satisfaction strategies that always remain relevant, regardless of market and technology changes.
First, it's important to establish a clear and concise customer service vision, which will help guide your team members in providing excellent service and consistently delivering on that vision in order to build trust with your customers.
Secondly, you need to build strong relationships with your customers by developing a rapport and really understanding their needs. It's also essential to have a robust customer feedback loop in place so that you can continuously improve your service levels. Vaclav Vincalek, founder and virtual CTO of 555vCTO, notes that “for a company, listening to customer needs should be the number one priority. If you’re consistently flouting feedback, you will not build brand loyalty.”
Finally, remember to always keep your customer service proactive — address problems before they arise and keep your eyes open for ways to improve the customer experience.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Measuring customer satisfaction is essential for any business that wants to provide a high-quality product or service. There are a variety of ways to measure customer satisfaction, so the most important thing is to choose the method that best suits your needs.
One common way to measure customer satisfaction is through surveys. Surveys can be administered online, by mail or in person, and they allow you to collect detailed feedback from your customers.
Another popular method is to track customer complaints. This can be done by keeping track of the number of customer service calls you receive or by monitoring social media channels for negative comments. Whichever method you choose, measuring customer satisfaction is an essential part of running a successful business.
Additional Strategies That Can Help Improve Customer Satisfaction
Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest difference. By doing more than just the bare minimum for customers, businesses can create lasting relationships of trust and loyalty. Here are some ways to improve customer satisfaction:
Offer multiple channels for customer support. Customers should be able to reach out to businesses through a variety of channels, such as phone, email, live chat and social media. An important reminder from Chris Bechtel, VP of Marketing at Comm100, is that the on-demand support expected from customers in this day and age “can only be achieved by offering a variety of digital communication channels so the customer can use whatever channel is most convenient to them in that moment. Companies that embrace live chat can reach a head-turning 84 percent live chat customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate.”
Make it easy to find information. Customers shouldn't have to search high and low for answers to their questions. Businesses should provide clear and concise information on their website and other channels.
Respond quickly to customer inquiries. Customers appreciate prompt responses, so make sure that all inquiries are addressed in a timely manner. Eighty-three percent of customers state that they feel more loyal to brands that address and resolve their complaints.
Keeping Your Workplace and Customers Happy
In order to create a customer-centric organization, it’s important to focus on creating a workplace that is inclusive for employees in addition to prioritizing the needs of customers. This will improve customer satisfaction as well as employee productivity and motivation. With an open line of communication and always prioritizing customer satisfaction, businesses can see a big positive impact on the bottom line.
Jenna Scatena is a writer and content strategist with a love for stories that have never been told before. More than a decade of working with prominent magazines and brands informs her approach to impactful storytelling. Her stories have reached more than 30 million readers, won multiple awards and been anthologized in books. Jenna's work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Marie Claire, The San Francisco, BBC and The Atlantic. She's the founder of the editorial consultancy, Lede Studio.