Countless interactions play out between companies and customers daily, and many fly below the radar. From personal interactions with your employees to automated touchpionts, each has the power to influence how a customer feels about your brand—and whether or not they’ll buy again.
Many companies use customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys to measure these experiences, spot customer pain points, and learn how to improve the customer experience overall. But beyond collecting customer feedback, what can you do to increase customer satisfaction rates and drive more business?
Below, we’ll look at the top factors that influence customer happiness and share some ideas on how to increase customer satisfaction sustainably.
What decreases customer satisfaction?
1. Bad customer service
Lackluster customer service will lower a CSAT rating before you can say Hold, please. Part of the problem is that 80% of business owners believe their employees offer top-notch service, while just 8% of customers agree. Discrepancy is an understatement.
2. Poor social skills
Like it or not, your customers turn to social media to learn about your business. If your company ignores or irritates customers on Facebook or Twitter, it takes a toll on customer satisfaction. In fact, 15% of customers will turn to a competitor if a business fails to respond via social media.
3. Automated support
Automated operators that field phone calls and typically say things like Listen carefully to these menu options are a surefire way to aggravate customers. 40% of consumers ranked human support as the key improvement a business could make to boost customer satisfaction.
4. High prices
Research shows a direct connection between price and customer satisfaction. In the digital world, customers can comparison shop easily, so if your product is priced higher than competitors, you should explain why. Without a good demonstration of value, people won’t pay more.
5. No appreciation
A business that takes its customers for granted will get poor satisfaction ratings. Customers want to feel valued and appreciated for spending money with your business. When a company fails to support customers properly or ignores consistent, negative feedback, loyalty will dwindle and customers will leave.
5 Factors That Increase Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction isn’t a one-and-done goal. Ultimately, you want to turn satisfied customers into loyal customers, and customer loyalty requires constant TLC. Here are some tips on sustaining customer satisfaction year after year to build a committed customer base.
1. Personalized customer service
Customers want more than service with a smile; they want a personalized experience. In fact, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with a brand that uses their personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. Build relationships with customers by taking the time to get to know them. Customer surveys are a great way to collect preference data and begin tailoring messaging and offerings to the people you serve.
2. High employee morale
You can’t shield your customers from negative employee attitudes, but you can work on increasing employee morale. Start by sending regular employee surveys to measure internal happiness and get feedback. Then make it clear that employee input is valued by taking action on common complaints. Happy employees who feel heard are more likely to buy in to the success of your business.
3. Perks and offers
Consider offering small perks that customers will remember. For instance, offer free gift-wrapping around the holidays, in-store refreshments, same-day installations, or free trials and samples. These gestures go a long way.
4. Loyalty programs
81% percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a brand that offers a loyalty program. As the name suggests, loyalty incentives keep customers coming back. They also tell customers that you value their commitment to your product or service.
5. Customer appreciation
A “thank you” is always in season. Host customer appreciation events throughout the year, like VIP shopping events and exclusive get-togethers. A special discount for your loyal customers doesn’t hurt either. Acts of gratitude like these humanize your business, build community ties, and just make people feel pretty good.
6. Efficient customer support
No one likes to wait. Make efforts to reduce response times, speed up web performance, and expedite urgent customer requests. You can add quality checks—like customer support surveys and web surveys—to catch hiccups and streamline customer experience.
Satisfaction often rests on how quickly you can solve a customer’s problem. 70% of customers will buy from your business again if their problem is resolved quickly and in their favor. Make sure your employees are trained to handle problems efficiently and effectively as they arise.
Customer interactions don’t end when you offer a solution. Experienced support agents know how common customer fall-off is. When they’re unhappy with the answer, customers often go silent, never to be heard from again. Following up after an issue appears to be resolved is critical to sustaining satisfaction. Customer support satisfaction surveys can catch lingering issues the customer wouldn’t have voiced otherwise.
Every customer is different, but they all share one desire: to be treated like people. Businesses don’t achieve high customer loyalty by hammering on sales at the expense of their customer base. But customer retention often plays second fiddle to customer acquisition, and current customers pay the price.
Customer-centric businesses get to know the people that keep them afloat. And they start by measuring customer satisfaction. The feedback collected through customer surveys helps companies build stronger customer relationships that drive profits.
Bottom line? Focus on the customer first—the rest will follow.