Guide to Customer Satisfaction

Guide to Customer Satisfaction

What Is Customer Satisfaction?

When you order a product or service that lives up to your expectations, you can be described as being highly satisfied.

Customer satisfaction is the overall feeling of happiness you have about either a product or service.

The term can be applied to a range of areas, from having a good experience at a restaurant to being satisfied with your car insurance provider.

Customer satisfaction is a key indicator of a company’s performance. If a company has low customer satisfaction scores, it is unlikely to be profitable in the long term.

High customer satisfaction is usually achieved through:

  • The quality of product or service
  • The time it takes to be delivered
  • Price
  • How closely the product or service matches the description

In this article, we will outline why customer satisfaction is important. We will also highlight the best ways of implementing measures to achieve a good level of customer satisfaction.

If you run a business or sell products for a company, these tips are great for improving your performance and sales.

The more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to return or make a purchase from you again.

Why Customer Satisfaction Matters

Retaining a good volume of customers relies upon customer satisfaction. If you treat your customers poorly, it will hardly be surprising if they don't return.

Good customer satisfaction equates to better and more sustainable profit margins.

Imagine you are running a small coffee shop. If you overcharge your customers in comparison to the local competition, your customers will be aware of this.

On top of this, if the product you sell is poorly packaged and tastes bad, customers will be very disappointed.

It is likely that they will complain, and if your response is dismissive and careless, you will likely never see them again.

This does not stop at one customer. The poorly treated customer is likely to leave a bad review online and tell others in the same community about their disappointing experience.

In the long term, this damages your custom and the image of your business.

However, if you aim at providing good products at reasonable prices to your customers, you can expect better results.

However, the reality is that, no matter how well you run your business, you will receive complaints.

Responding to these positively and showing compassion is good customer service.

More positive customer experiences lead to better reviews and a positive image in the local community. This will mean more customers and better profit margins.

No matter the size of your company, the customer should always be the main priority.

How to Implement Customer Satisfaction Measures

If you are new to business or are starting in a company with no customer satisfaction values, it can be hard to understand what you can do to improve customer satisfaction.

Here are the best measures to implement strong customer satisfaction.

Data Collection

Knowing what customers are saying about your business is the easiest way to gauge your customer satisfaction rating.

To understand this, you can use your own data collection methods. For example, you can hand out surveys and questionnaires to customers.

Don't make these too long or complicated. A few questions on what the customers think about the products and the environment will be enough to gauge customer satisfaction.

If you are doing questionnaires, ask the customers if this is their first visit/purchase or if they are returning. This will help you to know where most of your custom is coming from.

If you are in a popular tourist area, you will likely have more customers who are coming into your business for the first time.

In this case, they will be more receptive to good prices and friendliness. Returning customers will be more concerned about the consistency of the product or service.

Leave an area on the questionnaires for the customers to leave feedback. This will allow them to engage with your business and file complaints.

Dealing with these complaints in a respectful way is the best method of ensuring your customers feel heard. They will be more likely to return and leave a positive review if you deal with their concerns well.

Reviews

Today most perceptions about how a business is run and how popular it is are taken from online reviews.

Having a good TripAdvisor or Google Review rating is an assured way of getting people to check out your business.

When we are looking for a restaurant or repairs on a vehicle, we use these online databases to judge how other customers have been dealt with.

The online review is a space where a customer can talk about their experience through a first-person lens.

Paying attention to these as a business gives you an understanding from your customers' perspective.

Education

Responding to feedback attentively is a good way of educating yourself about what the customer desires. You can also observe what other businesses are doing.

Outside of the workplace, there are some great resources that can give you an insight into customer satisfaction.

How to Measure Customer Satisfaction by John Brierley and Nigel Hill is a great place to start.

Educating the customer will help you engage with them better. Having good customer service skills is key in retaining customers.

Having company values present will help with educating staff in the workplace. If they are clear and channeled towards customer satisfaction, then more of your staff can come on board with them.

Guide to Customer Satisfaction: Definition, Importance and Implementation
Guide to Customer Satisfaction: Definition, Importance and Implementation

Ease of Use

If you have an app or service that is hard to use, people will be put off either buying it or subscribing to it.

Your product must be easy to use, and you should ensure that customers can order or access it easily.

The product’s instructions should be easy to follow, and the packaging should be user friendly. On top of this, the service or product should mirror its description.

Accessibility

Following on from ease of use, your product needs to be accessible. If you own a small business, it should be easy to find and easy to enter.

Catering for different audiences and age ranges will help make your product or service more accessible.

Having disability ramps, electronic aids and clear instructions are just some of the ways to improve customer accessibility.

Avoid ambiguous instructions. Staff can also help assure accessibility. Training courses and education materials can improve customer service skills in the workplace.

Awareness of Competitors

You need to pay attention to how your competitors retain customers and keep their satisfaction high.

The best way of doing this is to put yourself in the shoes of a customer. Go through the process of buying or subscribing one of your products, then those of your competitors and try to gauge how easy the process is.

Ask yourself how the following aspects compare:

  • The product or service itself
  • The communication of the staff
  • The accessibility to the website or the product
  • The cost of the product or service

You can also read reviews and online comments of a competitor’s service. By doing so, you will see how they deal with any complaints or negative customer experiences.

Try and talk to your competitors about customer value and satisfaction.

Healthy competition is an essential way of growing business collectively as it forces everyone to improve their game.

If there was no competition, there would be no reason to improve customer satisfaction as there would only be one provider. Strong competition is the backbone of improvement.

Product and Packaging

The product needs to be up to the standard you have set. It needs to match its description and needs to deliver.

If you have a poor product, this is the first way of losing custom.

You might have great customer service protocols and the best trained staff in the world, but if your product is not up to scratch, people will not buy it.

It needs to also be produced in the right way. For instance, if you own a restaurant and you microwave all the food on the menu, it is very unlikely that the product will be good.

Sourcing the correct parts and taking time during the development of the product will ensure you get the results you want.

The packaging is also a key part of the product. If the product is good but is presented poorly, it will be hard to sell to your customers.

The packaging and presentation are the first things the customers will engage with. If you are selling an electronic device, it should be clear from the packaging what the product is and what it does.

Any ingredients, instructions and advice should be made clear on the packaging. Risks like allergies or safety should also be clear.

Cost

The price of your product will be one of the first things to draw in customers. If you can equal or better the price of your competitors, people are likely to buy yours.

Having an expensive product may not entice customers, particularly if the product does not have good reviews or is poorly packaged.

The price of your product or service should mirror the time and effort it has taken to produce.

Customers will note the price as one of the major factors in customer satisfaction reviews.

In contrast, if your product is too cheap, customers may be skeptical of its quality. You may not get good profit returns either from a product that is too low in price.

Do not forget to utilize discounts and membership reductions if it is a subscription service. These will help keep customers around and help with your customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

The result of a poor customer satisfaction outlook is a reduction in profit. If you neglect your customer, you ultimately ignore where your profit is being produced.

A bad product and a negligent attitude towards the customer will only lead to them going to your competitors for the same product or service.

If you avoid looking at the reviews, you will not know where you can improve your business. Customers can give the best insights for developing a better product or experience.

If you are using surveys or questionnaires, you can use a scale to measure customer satisfaction.

Asking your customers to rate the business, the product and the staff interactions on a scale of 1–10 will give you a clear measurement.

If you do not want to do this, you can use a five-star system. Databases like TripAdvisor implement this tool well.

To get into specifics about how satisfied your customers are, you will have to read the customer reviews. These give a better insight into the personal experiences of your customers.

Social media allows people to talk about your business, share your products, and get the word out if something is positive.

However, it is a tool to be used with caution. If you have poor service, this will be exacerbated through social media use.

Ensure that you have other solid foundations in place before setting up a social media account.

This is entirely your choice. If you are running a company that heavily relies upon customer interactions, publishing this data will help with this model.

Likewise, if you want to interact with your local community, publishing customer satisfaction data can help people recognize what your business does in the local area.

If you do publish your data, you must be transparent. Publish all the reviews, not only the good ones, to show a representation of fairness.

If (when...) you get negative or challenging reviews, publish evidence of how you dealt with these problems alongside the reviews.

Publishing data about your company is a great way of showing how proactive you are about improvement and how much you care about the voice of your customers.

Final Thoughts

Customer satisfaction is a key measurement for your business. You should be putting extra measures in place to gauge how your customers interact with your services.

Both the positive and negative reviews give you great insight into how you can improve your company.

Don't ignore customer satisfaction and do your best to improve the experience of your customers. They will know better than you what they expect from a service or a product. Listen to them and it will stand you in good stead.


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