Customer satisfaction is the single most important element in the success or failure of any business — no exceptions. The immediate benefits of customer satisfaction are obvious. Happy customers purchase more products and services, recommend the business to colleagues and other interested parties, and are far more likely to come back for more than their unimpressed counterparts. Customer satisfaction at its highest level converts a certain amount of the consumer base of any business into loyal brand ambassadors. However, customer satisfaction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even the best products and services don’t guarantee that customers won’t continue to explore other pastures and possibly move on.
As a business owner or manager, your finger should always be firmly on the pulse of customer reaction, and you should be aware that it can be a moving target. Setting smart customer satisfaction goals can help to ensure customer satisfaction and build better client relationships.
Importance of Meeting Customer Satisfaction
In short, lack of unsatisfied customers affects the bottom line in ways no business wants or needs. If sales don’t happen, cash flow problems do, and even the most well-funded companies will eventually be forced to close their doors. One of the biggest mistakes many business owners and managers make it taking good customer satisfaction levels for granted instead of treating their established customer base as something that still needs to be cultivated. Keep in mind that all it takes is one negative or even lukewarm experience for a loyal, long term customer to decide to look elsewhere. Relationships with new customers also need to be nurtured.
As you’ve probably gathered, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how to improve customer satisfaction, and you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed at this point. Fortunately, there are tools and strategies available to break up the various components of optimizing customer happiness levels into manageable, bite-sized pieces. The first step in creating a customized solution is to identify and understand the customer satisfaction measurement process that best suits your business’s individual needs.
Methods of Measuring Customer Satisfaction
The most basic customer satisfaction measurement is the old-school suggestion box — many successful companies feature a digital version of this on their websites. Other strategies include surveys, social media monitoring, customer satisfaction scoring, customer effort scoring, and net promoter scoring (which measures how likely the person is to recommend your business to others).
The customer satisfaction measurement process involves an ongoing, multitiered approach that ideally involves your entire team on some level. Unless you have a small company, your support team should not share a single goal. For instance, those on your front lines, such as customer service representatives, should have different objectives than higher-ups in supervisory or management positions. Customer support reps typically work directly with customers, while management works on various significant picture objectives. Your goal structure should be symbiotic so that although different employees play different parts, they’re working toward the same end goal.
The basic rules of successful goal setting involve taking it one step at a time, keeping goals realistic, and implementing visible goals. Make these goals measurable to identify progress in real-time and tweak goals and strategies if desired results aren’t occurring. Examples of measurable customer satisfaction goals include the following:
- Increase customer satisfaction scores on feedback options such as surveys and ratings.
- Improve the job satisfaction of front-line customer service reps — happy employees are motivated to go the extra mile to please customers
- Increase scores on customer service training quizzes for employees
- Increase the overall net promoter scoring
- Improve the employee training process
- Fine-tune the recruiting process to appeal to better staff
Employees should also be made aware of the advantages of customer satisfaction. The easiest and possibly most effective way to achieve this is to use incentive programs such as bonuses and awards. Other customer satisfaction initiatives include making team building exercises a part of your company culture, creating a positive work environment, and offering competitive pay rates.
Sharing Your Customer Satisfaction Initiatives with Your Client
Sharing your initiatives and goals with clients underscores the importance of customer satisfaction and committing to optimizing purchasing experiences. Sharing success goals is one example that helps ensure that all players have the same understanding of the selected strategies.
Keep in mind that cultivating and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is a fluid process subject to major and minor tweaks and other customizations. Many business owners and managers experiment with different approaches and goals until they find the one that best suits their individual needs and preferences.