Let’s face it, we have all had a bad customer service experience. The big question is, were you able to – or willing to – let the business know of the experience you had? Did you feel comfortable communicating your issue to someone that could help? Did you try to provide feedback and it simply fell on deaf ears? Or were you left in a situation where there was no avenue to provide feedback at all? Improving customer satisfaction stems from not only providing excellent customer service, but also an excellent product/service experience – price, quality, value, etc.
Australia’s Department of Industry website couldn’t be more right in their summary:
No matter the size of your business, good customer service needs be at the heart of your business model if you wish to be successful. It is important to provide good customer service; to all types of customers, including potential, new and existing customers. – business.gov.au
Previously we have delved into the world of customer service and customer experience, and how your business can excel in both areas. But in today’s article we are going to focus in on the impact of improving your customer satisfaction. Melinda Emerson of Success as your own Boss, emphasizes that “surveys that measure customer satisfaction should be a regular part of your business practice…[and] can fuel growth”. Customer satisfaction surveys need to incorporate questions that are specific enough to indicate not only how your overall business is functioning, but also which areas must be addressed to improve your business and generate more repeat business.
Increase Customer Retention
The cost of acquiring a new customer is considerably higher than the cost of retaining an existing one – even an unhappy one. By utilising customer satisfaction surveys, not only do you make your customers feel valued because you are asking their opinion, but they are also given the opportunity to provide feedback. So, even if the feedback you receive is not directly actionable, you are still nurturing your relationship with your existing customer.
Research indicates that the cost of acquiring a new customer costs a business between four and 10 times more than it does to retain a customer. Ensuring a positive customer experience is more important than ever with 65% of consumers cutting ties with a brand over just a single poor encounter.
Not only that, the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.
Bain & Co estimate that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%.
Need we say more?
Exploit your strengths
Whilst many focus on the actionable items identified from customer satisfaction surveys, few focus on the strengths identified. Your customers are providing you a clear avenue to exploit your strengths, and leverage them within your promotional efforts. If feedback indicates that you have the best value for money, or an excellent customer service team, use that as a selling point in the future.
Measure & Optimise
Customer satisfaction is not a one-time measurement, but rather should be measured and monitored on a regular basis. By utilising questions such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Ezisay Relationship Score (ERS) questions, you can easily benchmark and track satisfaction over time and between surveys. Obviously, you want to see an improvement over time, and if no then you know you are inadequately acting upon the feedback you are receiving. By regularly surveying your customers, you also have the opportunity to delve further into specific issues or concerns that are raised by customers. Rather than falling into the trap of submitting your customers to “survey fatigue”, adjusting and optimising your surveys on a strategic basis can help provide the information you need to fuel your business growth.
Generate Sales Leads
Word of mouth and customer referrals are one of the most powerful tools for your business. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. By improving your customer satisfaction, so too does the opportunity for referrals and the ability to grow sales without the ad spend. Indeed, a customer feedback survey can ask for customers to provide a referral, and offering a reward to do so (eg. A discount off their next order, bonus gift, etc) will bolster the response rates.
Conversely, according to research from the SDL The Global CX Wakeup Call Report, the ramifications of an unhappy customer are significant –
The opportunity to fuel your business growth is inextricably linked with your ability to delight, retain and grow your customer base. Offering best in class customer service, and continuously evolving and striving to exceed customer expectations is the ultimate game changer for any business. By regularly monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, your business will be equipped with the information and actionable insights needed to succeed.