The basics of customer satisfaction

The ultimate achievement in branding is when a particular brand becomes synonymous with the product itself. Two of the most successful brand labels in history are Coca Cola and McDonalds. Everyone knows that Coke refers to a particular type of soft drink and Maccas and their golden arches is the fast food chain. Every entrepreneur would like his or her business to reach such heights of recognition. But, that kind of success requires a great deal of social proof. That proof is built up over a long history of customer satisfaction. These brands, and others like them, were successful because they mastered the basics of customer satisfaction, at least for awhile.

While the basics of customer satisfaction seem simple, they aren’t always that easy to achieve. For a brand to become “universal”, customers must not only be satisfied, they must be elated, perhaps even enchanted.

The first step is to produce an outstanding product, that’s fundamental. However, it is the customer who ultimately passes judgement on the quality of your product or service. And so, the next basic is how your company regards the customer. It’s important to remember that customers aren’t commodities. They aren’t simply a metric, nor are they a disposable resource. Remember that the customer is your paycheck and the source of your company’s income.

History is full of times when companies thought they could skimp on customer service or save money by lowering the quality of their product, only to find that customers stayed away in droves.

The next step is to build customer loyalty. This requires consistency. Both product and service should be consistent and never drop below a certain level of quality. How do you know if you’ve dropped too far? This is where paying close attention to what happens at the help desk is important. Never set up a help desk and then walk away figuring, “They’ll take care of it.” Monitor the help desk regularly to ensure that customer issues are being resolved in a way that results in happy customers. Customer satisfaction surveys are also a good way to make sure customers are being serviced properly.

Consistency is the third pillar on which customer satisfaction is built. The old idea of the squeaky wheel getting the grease is not a good way to manage customer service. Customer complaints should be few and far between and handled quickly. Businesses operate under pressure, and so there is a tendency to only put attention on what is demanding attention at the moment. If customer satisfaction isn’t front and center, we don’t pay attention until it is. The problem is that it’s usually too late by then. Keeping the customer in mind at all times is the very foundation of customer satisfaction.