August 4, 2015
How to increase customer satisfaction and keep them coming back
We’ve all heard of Amazon.com, one of the first, largest and most successful e-commerce sites to date, so successful in fact that many other e-commerce sites have followed its example and patterned themselves after the online giant. Having originated in founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos’ garage in 1994, Amazon first started out as a book retailer, eventually then branching out to electronics, clothing furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. It also diversified into producing electronics such as the Kindle. As of late, Amazon is the largest provider of cloud computing services and has retail websites worldwide. Bezos in the meantime ranks 15th in the Forbes list of Billionaires.
So how did Jeff Bezos achieve such success for Amazon? Bezos is known to have instilled the culture of innovation and customer service in the company and the combination of the two can be attributed for driving Amazon to such great heights. When discussing the topic of customer service, Bezos stated, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
Where am I going with this? Well, a lot can be learned from Amazon’s success and a key learning is how vital a role customer satisfaction plays in the growth and success of a business. Aside from the fact that a business can’t possibly exist without customers, customer satisfaction is always a key component in the formula for growing and maintaining the success of a business long term.
With this in mind, here are some essential steps to consider when determining the satisfaction level of your customers. Following these will help you to gain a clearer understanding of where you stand with your customers and how you will be able to better satisfy their needs.
You may think that you’re doing all that you can to give the best service to your customers. However, often what you consider to be best might not necessarily be perceived as best in their eyes. To gain better insight into their perceptions and feelings towards your business it is quite simply a case of asking them. The collection of information and data on your customers can be done using any or a combination of the following:
Customer surveys are used to get quantitative data on a number of topics such as demographics, attitudes, past behaviors and opinions. In order to produce the most accurate and unbiased results, it is imperative that the survey is structured appropriately in line with best practice as well as the research objectives. If you have a large sample size and you are looking to gauge a quantitative overview of your customer base, the survey method is worth considering as a fast and easy way to gather customer information.
Focus groups are used to gather qualitative data from a group of individuals (representative of the target audience) gathered together to share their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes regarding topics that are raised during discussions. Focus groups require a fair amount of planning and preparation, however, they can provide a far greater depth of insight into customer perceptions and attitudes towards your brand.
Listening to what customers have to say about your business on social media is a great way to gather unbiased opinions and reviews, and engaging with customers via these online platforms will allow you to respond quickly to any customer concerns that are raised. It is imperative that a well-planned response framework is established, particularly if your business has multiple representatives engaging on the social channels, to ensure consistency and those appropriate responses are given at all times.
One-on-one interviews with customers can result in a deeper understanding of their behaviour and attitude towards the business. This is particularly effective for discussing topics that customers may not feel comfortable discussing in a group environment, or where group influence may hinder on the participant’s response.
An effective way of tracking the behaviour of your customers without having direct contact with them is through online analytics. This method will allow you to gain insight on how your website or social networking accounts are being used, which can then highlight any strong points or areas that need to be addressed in terms of your customer service delivery.
All the information in the world is only helpful if it is analysed and interpreted in a way that can be understood and used to guide business decisions. Below are the top two important things to keep in mind during this stage.
Filter the results of the data collected based on the objectives that were set at the beginning and organize the important information taken from the research. Keep a lookout for any trends and if applicable, compare the results from previous data collected.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Find out how many of your customers are likely to be “promoters” of your business by simply getting them to answer the question, “How likely it is that you would recommend (name of your company) to someone else?” This will create a benchmark, with the goal of increasing your NPS over time.
Collecting and analysing customer data is only going to be a powerful asset for your business if it is actually put to use. An action plan should be developed to map out the actions that need to be taken to increase customer satisfaction and in effect, your net promoter score, based on the feedback collected. When this is done correctly, you will not only have loyal customers, you will also see an increase in your business’ revenue.
Knowing how satisfied your customers are is vital in growing and improving your business. Constant collection of feedback is necessary in order to know what aspects of the business and service delivery need to be improved to create a better customer experience. Ultimately, happy customers will lead to more sales through repeat business and referrals and recommendations.