Customer satisfaction is that one thing that keeps your customers loyal to your company, and that creates repeat business. Smart companies are integrating Social Media into the mix and finding a 20% increase in customer satisfaction. Here are 4 basic steps you can take to promote customer satisfaction in your own business.
- Be accessible on Social Media
Research had shown that nearly two-thirds (or more) of customers had used the company’s social media site for customer service. This highlights the importance of social media in customer service. Responding to customer inquiries on social media can greatly improve customer sentiment and enhance the appearance of quality service.
Social media allows customers to easily contact brands and engage with them. Customers will have a higher expectation of quality service if an event is perceived positively. Negative experiences, such as price increases, will lead to customers having higher expectations for quality care.
- Be ethical
Ethics spans a number of things within business – everything from pricing and quality, to the management of returns and even social responsibility.
Nowadays, the market is saturated, and customers have a plethora of companies to choose from when shopping around for goods or services. To make your business stand out, it is important to provide something beyond the norm.
Right now, sustainability is a trendy watchword, and can help to elevate your business and the way that your customers feel about their purchases. Whether you offer recyclable goods and packaging, pledge to help an aid organization, or use recycled materials during production, your customers will feel satisfied that their purchase is an investment in the future, and not merely another boost to the wastage of consumption culture.
Moreover, this ethical stand needs to be reflected in your financial dealings. Do not overcharge for your products, accept returns without causing hassles and red tape, and show your company to be honest and fair in all your dealings. Basically, follow the age-old golden rule: be the company that you yourself would like to shop from.
- Listen to your customers
The best way to truly cater to your customers is to listen to what they have to say, and the best way to gauge their opinions is through post-purchase feedback – even complaints – and customer surveys.
Every company will receive a complaint at some stage, but the customer who issued a complaint is not lost. The manner in which the company handles the complaint and deals with the customer will ultimately determine the customer’s final experience and satisfaction.
So listen closely to what the customer has to say, do your best to remedy the situation, and provide the best service you can in order to appease the customer. The way a complaining customer is treated will do much more for your reputation than a mistake ever will. Think of it this way: you order a pizza for delivery and the restaurant sends you the wrong order. You complain to the pizzeria. The restaurant apologizes, sends you the correct order, and gives you a coupon for a free pizza. Of course, you will use that coupon and, if they get that next order right and provide you with a delicious meal, why would you not order from them in the future? Small gestures and apologies can have far-reaching effects.
You can also use customer surveys to gather information about your company, covering everything from the purchasing process to customer service, accessibility, and shipping. However, make sure that you take onboard and implement the information that this feedback provides, so that the customers feel like you have truly heard what they have to say.
Haypp, a snus company that increased its sales by 250 percent within six months, maintains that its success is based on its close relationship with its customers, and that:
“the closer we become with our customers, the more we will understand their needs across different markets and customer segments. Only then can we be on the customers’ side and create proper change.”
- Be honest
Take a second and imagine you are surfing the web and find a product you absolutely love. You go through the checkout procedure and then wait with bated breath until your new item arrives. Now imagine that once it arrives, it is smaller than promised, lacks a feature you thought it would have, or it just makes you feel like you were misled into an unsatisfactory purchase. Whatever its shortcoming, your perception of the company that supplied it will be tarnished, and your likelihood of being a return customer will drastically decrease – unless that company is willing to open a dialogue about the issue (consider the ethics and customer communication points above).
Naturally, accidents happen, and a faulty, broken, or wrong product may be delivered to a customer. However, incidents like this need to be the exception rather than the rule, and your approach to fixing mistakes needs to be swift and honest. Take responsibility for misrepresentation or shipping errors, and make sure that the customer emerges from the event compensated – be it through replacement or reimbursement. This is the only way to maintain your integrity as a business. If your customers can trust you, they will be far more satisfied and loyal.
Forbes said it best (paraphrased): “a merely satisfied customer is still a free agent, exploring the marketplace [so you need to] design [your service] to be perfect – foreseeing all that is foreseeable.”
In short, the best way to build a loyal and satisfied customer base is to be honest, be open to communication, and truly listen to what your customers are saying. This builds a relationship that makes customers want to support your business.