Customer satisfaction consists of numerous factors that are important to stay on top of. Customer satisfaction is important because it determines many factors that impact your business. The first impact is whether someone will be a repeat customer. In addition, customer satisfaction has increased importance in the digital age with concern to what customers post online. Another factor, that is commonly overlooked, is how much they may spend with your business in the future. The first step in improving your customer satisfaction is by understanding the factors that impact it, which is followed by learning how to act on those factors.
The three major factors that affect modern customer satisfaction can be categorized as customer perceived quality, value, and service. By harnessing these factors, you are able to provide positive, consistent customer experiences and create true customer loyalty. Let’s dive into the most common factors that contribute to customer satisfaction across industries.
If a customer gets a burger once per week and expects the same quality each time, they will notice when it is off. When their favorite burger isn’t cooked the same, has a soggy bun, or contains wilting lettuce, the perceived quality won’t be the same. When this incident occurs, customer satisfaction goes down. By being aware of instances of product/service inconsistencies, you can be proactive about reaching out to those customers and letting them know the steps you are taking to remedy the inconsistency they experienced.
If someone gets a burger from a steakhouse vs. at McDonald’s, the perceived value is different. The McDonald’s $2 burger is good, because it’s only $2. But, if they got the same burger from the steakhouse, that perceived value won’t be great. By understanding when a product or service has not met a customer’s expectations, you can proactively provide a remedy. For this example, if someone wrote a poor review/completed a feedback survey writing that they expected a $20 burger but felt it lacked the value, offer them a voucher towards their next meal to make up for their poor experience.
The service a customer receives can be a big contention point for people. Were they greeted with a friendly smile? Did they receive receive their order quickly? Were they thanked for their business? Or did they sense a bad attitude? Did they have to wait 10 minutes before anyone helped them? While it may seem like one unsatisfactory action – like not understanding someone clearly at a drive-thru should be masked by getting their food quickly and thanking them for their order, that’s not always the case.
Understanding that one step of your business process being less than satisfactory is crucial to improving customer satisfaction. A good practice to understand where your business process may be falling short. The way to understand this is through a customer satisfaction survey. Reading through the responses of those with poor experiences can help you learn how to either improve your process, train employees better to create a consistent image, and/or learn you need to let go of certain employees who may be costing you business.
Take Proactive Customer Satisfaction Steps
Once you understand how the factors that contribute to customer satisfaction in your business, it’s important to be proactive. Being proactive can include having a “playbook” for scenarios for which customers are not satisfied with value, quality, or service. Below are a few of our suggestions to be proactive in the case of customer satisfaction.
Offer Customer Feedback Surveys
Unhappy customers love to complain. Whether it’s in-person to their friends on Google Reviews, social media, or in customer feedback surveys. By offering customer feedback surveys (with an incentive to take them – like enter to win free product/services), you can redirect an unhappy customer’s negative feedback while gaining insight into improving your business.
Train Managers to Handle Dissatisfied Customers
If you know that a customer is unsatisfied on the spot, it’s important to allow them to speak with a manager regarding their frustrations. People like to be heard.
Incentivize Your Employees
In an ideal world, employees would give 100% to each person that they speak to. However, that isn’t typically the case. By incentivizing your employees to give great customer service, you increase the likelihood that they give great service to everyone. Popular incentives include cash bonuses based on a set number of positive customer feedback surveys for the business and individual level.
Arm Your Employees with Resources
When you are dealing with a dissatisfied customer, whether on the spot or online, it’s important to arm your employees with the resources they need to resolve the problem. Resources may include coupons, gift cards, email templates to respond to customers with.
Learning the basics of customer satisfaction factors and the strategies to improve it is important for all businesses. By being aware of where your business falls short in your customer’s eyes you can better utilize strategies to improve customer satisfaction. Using the strategies outlined above can assist you in improving your customer satisfaction rating and ultimately, your customer lifetime value.