Game Changing Ways to Customer Satisfaction

“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction…you must improve.” – Horst Schulz

We are certain that there is no one, no company or business out there who would risk having their customers walk out on them because they were unable to provide the service and offerings that kept the customer satisfaction. It is a self-defeating move to irritate customers such that they move to competition and your company is left with no choice but to go through the route of acquiring new customers. With the passage of time, emergence of new companies and rise of updated technology, customers are becoming more demanding, which is expected since they have more choices, upgraded information and are getting what they want at ridiculously competitive prices. The only way left for companies is to have a strategy in place that ensures consistent customer satisfaction and increasing levels of the same.

Anyone running a business will tell you that customer satisfaction is supremely important. In smaller companies with fewer customers, customer dissatisfaction is very easily discernible – they complain directly to the owner of the company. However, the problem of not having customer satisfaction in larger companies is more complicated. A large company has several customers and a large number of employees interact with these customers. These companies have multiple contact points and the handling at any of these points could potentially lead to customer dissatisfaction and tracking these can be extremely onerous and time-consuming for companies. If companies are not actively tracking these minor lapses, it would be only a matter of time before these minor problems become full-fledged complaints and customers begin to leave. There should be some standardized methods to ensure that customer satisfaction levels remain high and rise consistently.

– The truth is that if there are no customers there is no business and if there is no business you don’t have anyone who will pay your salary. The approach towards customers must be to treat them like the person in charge. Now put yourself in the place of the person in charge and see how happy it would make you to see that everyone was being treated well and with respect. That’s what and who your customer is. It is hugely effective to follow simple practices like saying thank you to customers for their time and business, going the extra mile to help them resolve issues, adopting new and innovative methods to impress them such that you receive a ‘pay rise’ (repeat business would mean profitability for the company and hence better salary increases), remembering at all times that without the customer your company and you would be unemployed and hence no money and lastly remember to always deliver on promises, be honest in your dealings and display integrity in your offerings, words and customer service.

– Putting in place simple and more complex processes to ensure customer satisfaction is great, but how will you know whether these methods are working. Companies must simultaneously focus on consistently measuring customer satisfaction since dissatisfied customers could well be on their way to your competitor. The possibility of having many ‘borderline’ customers is very high in large companies with a huge customer base and even one instant is normally enough to push them away. There could be other customers who may be unhappy but are still with you for some reason. The moment those reasons disappear your customer will be walking out the door. Without measuring customer satisfaction, it would be tough to identify why your profits are sagging – research reveals that 91% of unhappy customers don’t buy again. So while you have them as your customers, your company is not making money off them. Fortunately, measuring customer satisfaction is not that difficult now – there are feedback surveys, online surveys, a large number of customer satisfaction yardsticks and benchmarks and other customer service tools and systems and other such metrics to arrest the fall of customer satisfaction levels and bring them back up to a profitable level.

– It is well-known that consistently satisfied customers also become loyal over time. When businesses focus their efforts on making this happen, customers remain with the company and also become ‘competition proof’. Putting together systems and strategies to please customers beyond the realm of business go a long way to ensure that customer satisfaction rises to the optimum level. Remembering and using a customer’s name, remembering personal details and special occasions, providing additional information to customers that would be useful to them but is beyond the scope of your business relationship, investing in self-service portals and sites and constantly finding ways to communicate with and engage your customers – are some of the ways to keep customers happy and delighted.

– Despite mentioning all the above, the fact is that no company can ever have all happy customers. There are bound to be times when customers become unhappy for a variety of reasons and studies show that companies lose at least 9% of their customers to competition. Customer satisfaction is also about focusing on things that will make customers leave and making efforts to remove them. Customers are expected to provide feedback, especially if you have asked for it. The error lies in ignoring this feedback or taking the criticism too personally such that it affects your attitude negatively towards the customers. Another common mistake that can make customer satisfaction nosedive is too frequent and arduous feedback surveys and promotion updates. Use professional help if required, but ensure that you are surveying your customers in the right way. The idea is to keep customers engaged but don’t skulk them out!

– Customer satisfaction or not, comes from unrealistic expectations. Setting very high expectations (like sales personnel tend to do in a bid to close the deal and get new business for better commissions) which can unlikely be fulfilled is a very common yet purposefully done action. It is a common norm in customer service to under-promise and over-deliver but when it is the opposite, customer satisfaction turns quickly to customer ire. When you set realistic expectations, it is much simpler to exceed those expectations and such consistent behaviour leads to huge profits over time with customer loyalty and customer testimonials.

– Use email to its maximum potential – it is still one of the most effective ways to increase and maintain customer satisfaction. Periodic updates, offers and promotions via email lets your customers know that you are thinking about them and are committed to putting their interests at the fore.

– With the surge in the use of social media, it would be a major faux pas to ignore this powerful medium. Customers make a number of buying decisions based on other customer feedback and comments and it would cost a company heavily to not monitor these comments to gauge the level of customer satisfaction. Customers are also now using social media heavily to make their displeasure known via complaints posted on company sites. They are also accessing this platform via their smart devices and hence are connected throughout the day and sometimes night. To ensure customer satisfaction, companies must consistently track both negative and positive feedback, acknowledge them and then put the feedback in to action. It is a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of your customers and prospective ones.

– Keeping a close watch on industry customer satisfaction statistics will serve as a guide to improving these levels for your customers. Studies have revealed that a mere 5% increase in customer satisfaction levels can increase profitability by as much as 75%.

Customers are the reason that people set up businesses and can remain in business. Customer satisfaction is what will keep them coming back with more business and even bring their friends and associates to do business with you. Gaining a new customer is a lot harder than retaining one and one bad move could have customers leaving. Customer satisfaction is all about providing exemplary and stellar customer service with products that are unique and value-added.

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