What Factors Influence Customer Satisfaction?
Any organization in any industry has one common goal: to satisfy their customers. Customer satisfaction is a metric that measures how happy customers are with a business’s products, services, and capabilities. It’s a reflection of how a customer feels when interacting with your brand: poor customer satisfaction leads to negative reviews, while satisfied customers will help you build your brand.
So what are the factors that influence customer satisfaction? The three major factors that affect modern customer satisfaction are customer understanding, service, and technology. By tapping into these factors, you can provide positive, consistent customer experiences and create real customer loyalty.
Delivering Customer Satisfaction: Three Factors to Focus On
Who is a satisfied customer? While the definition may vary across organizations, a satisfied customer is someone who thinks your business is effective in delivering its goods or services. When asked, they will likely say good things about your product, your employees, or your brand.
The goal of every company is to nurture satisfied customers, turning them into advocates of the business.
To keep customers truly satisfied, it’s not enough to avoid disappointing them. You have to work on factors such as your customer understanding, service, and technology in order to create a customer experience they would want to turn to consistently.
Your customers have to know that your company isn’t just profiting from them. Loyal customers want to be assured that they are buying from an organization that truly cares about their best interests.
Customers prefer companies that offer multiple choices, remember their preferences, and personalize the buying experience for them.
- Choices: Having a number of options for each product or service will go a long way. Items in different colors or flavor variants might not seem like much, but in one market study article they found that the more choices a customer has, the more they will feel they have control over the buying process. However, too many product choices may overwhelm customers and result in “choice overload”, which may result in no purchases being made at all. It’s important to hit the right balance between having too many choices and none at all.
- Preferences: According to an article published by Forbes in 2018, online retailer Zappos is one of the most “customer-obsessed” companies around. Zappos really understands the concept of customer preferences: if you prefer to talk to someone over the phone, they can quickly accommodate you. Businesses that recall and adapt to client preferences such as payment method, delivery service, or communication channels have an excellent understanding of the market they are catering to.
- Personalization: Personalized service means giving customers individual attention. Employees who address buyers by name and remember which product they enjoyed are some ways to incorporate personalization in the buying process. Based on an article published by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when a brand offers a personalized experience – so personalization efforts are a worthwhile investment.
Good service is often described as warm, friendly, and polite. It’s easy for businesses to meet these factors, but true customer satisfaction takes more than just attentive employees. Excellent customer service is also ensuring that the needs of consumers are met. Most consumers require convenient, intuitive customer service that delivers exactly what they want in a timely manner.
- Convenient: Convenience is an essential component to making a positive experience. Timely service and ease-of-use are factors that influence where consumers go, what they buy, and who they engage with. For example, when most people think of convenience, they think of Amazon’s wide selection of products and quick delivery service. Amazon makes it much easier to skip the visits to brick-and-mortar stores and rely on their service entirely.
- Intuitive: When problems occur, consumers rarely see product quality. Instead, they think about the poor experience surrounding it. This is why customers value companies that understand them, solve their problems, and anticipate their needs before they even think about it. Take for instance Southwest Airlines, who has a team of Proactive Customer Service employees working with 14 other airline departments to ensure safe and highly-satisfactory experiences for every customer.
- Delivery: Part of building a customer’s trust is always meeting what they need according to their expectations. Your business should only promise what it can deliver. Facebook’s “It’s always free and will be” slogan was a promise that stuck for years. And while the social media giant has changed this slogan, users never worry that Facebook will cost money.
Technology has become a necessary aspect of operating a business in an ever-developing modern world. Social media, websites, blogs, and apps are factors that give tech-savvy businesses an edge over their competition. A blog article from Access Development mentioned that research firm Apptentive found 66% of companies that did not have a mobile app saw a decrease in customers. In order to satisfy consumers with technology, your company channels should be widely accessible, easy to navigate, and load pages quickly.
- Accessible: Your products and services should be readily available to your customers on their preferred channel, without any barriers or difficulties. It should also be clear to your consumers that they can reach out to you on these platforms whenever they have questions or need assistance. Roughly 20% of Americans have a physical, vision, cognitive, or auditory disability, according to an article published by Perrill. Your business’s platform should not only accommodate disabled members of society, but actively engage with them through these channels.
- Easy to navigate: Navigating your site or app should be straightforward and simple enough that all kinds of users can easily browse your store. Difficult platforms cause frustration and loss of potential clients. You can include efficient keyword search filters and other solutions that can guide buyers to identify the product they need.
- Loads pages quickly: No one is ever happy with wait times, especially with slow websites. According to an article by Neil Patel, 47% of consumers expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less. If your pages don’t load quickly, potential clients will end up looking for a different store. Time is money, so you should make your customer’s time worthwhile. Chatbots and other innovations can help you with maintaining real-time interactions with website and app visitors.
Why Customer Satisfaction Matters
Customer satisfaction is always a win-win situation. When your clients are happy with your products and offerings, you will be able to reap the benefits of client retention, word-of-mouth promotion, and robust brand building. Here are the reasons why customer satisfaction should be your organization’s number one priority:
1. Retention rates go up.
Customer retention refers to the strategy a business implements to retain its existing customers over a certain period of time. High retention rates indicate that your organization consistently and competently addresses the needs of your clients. The value of having loyal clients is that they are more likely to spend as much as five times more on your products and services than first-time buyers, says a blog article from campaigncreators.com. The more satisfied your clients are with your service quality, the more they are likely to stay and do business with you.
2. Your business gets free word-of-mouth promotion.
Sometimes, advertisements might not be enough to get your brand’s message across. Customer satisfaction matters because clients who loved their experiences will want others to enjoy the same, so 72% of happy customers will share positive experiences with 6 or more people. Whether they post online reviews or give client testimonials, you would have advocates for your brand.
3. You build up your brand.
In a competitive environment, factors such as strong client loyalty and customer satisfaction will make your brand stand out. With excellent product offerings and a good handle on what your clients need, you can differentiate your brand from the rest. You also create future value by forming communities around your brand. Communities of business advocates co-create your brand – think Yelp or Trip Advisor, where a dedicated customer base propels the brand forward with their reviews and ratings.
If you’re still unconvinced about the role customer satisfaction plays in business, here are some statistics to consider:
- According to an article from PwC, 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after one negative experience.
- Customer experience advisor Esteban Kolsky found that 13% of unhappy customers will share their experience with at least 15 others.
- In another article, Kolsky also found that only 1 in 26 unhappy clients will complain. The others will just leave and not let you know why.
How CRM Can Promote a Consistent Customer Experience
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems focus on improving customer satisfaction. A CRM software automates processes for businesses to ensure smooth transactions, and collects customer data to improve their services. Here are six ways CRM can promote a consistent customer experience and customer satisfaction.
1. Personalized service and communication
Instead of forgetting clients’ names or mixing them up, CRM systems can assist you in sending personalized messages and emails to customers for a more personal interaction. CRM also takes note of customer preferences and behaviors, which allows companies to tailor their services for specific individuals.
2. Centralized customer service database
A CRM system has a central database that can be accessed by every member of your staff. This would contain all the information you have available on customer contact details, purchases, service requests, contracts, and more. Not only will this build employee satisfaction, since your service reps will have a faster time addressing concerns, but your customers will also have a smooth experience overall.
3. Improved customer understanding
Another feature of CRM systems is storing information on what your clients have bought previously, checked on your website, or inquired through social media. This helps boost satisfaction because you become more attuned to what they like and are interested in. From an improved customer understanding, you can tailor offers and services that suit their preferences.
4. Streamlined communication
Since CRM organizes and stores both qualitative and quantitative data about your clients, your service reps will know about past issues or concerns a client may have even without the client repeating it. This is especially helpful for delivering a seamless experience. Your reps can consistently communicate the message that each individual client matters greatly to your business.
5. Strengthened customer relations
Good CRM systems help businesses keep in touch with current and future customers. With regular emails that let clients know about new products, special offers, or promotional discounts, you can make sure to maintain a great client experience even after they’re out of your sales funnel. CRM software will also remind you of special occasions like client birthdays, so you can celebrate them in a meaningful way.
6. Regular feedback collection and implementation
One of the factors that ensures customer satisfaction is hearing them out on complaints, comments, or suggestions. Each client would love to know that their opinion matters to a company, and CRM systems will serve as your roadmap to address customer needs. Through CRM, you can request for feedback and relay it to the relevant departments so they can work on improving customer experiences.
Retain More Satisfied Customers With Commence CRM
If your current CRM system isn’t strengthening your relationships with customers or improving your service quality, it’s time to try Commence Cloud CRM.
As the leading CRM solution for small to midsize businesses, our award-winning software enables our clients to capture important data, automate processes, and identify the gaps in your services – leading to enhanced customer satisfaction. Book a demo with Commence CRM today.