In 2021, customer satisfaction is the competitive battlefront. Businesses today face unprecedented amounts of competition as they try to differentiate themselves on the customer service experience. This is true even of niche businesses. Everyone is competing for customers, and you need to have more than just great products if you hope to survive and thrive in today’s world. One of the top three goals at the forefront of any business should be customer satisfaction (CSAT). In the contact center, CSAT is the number one metric to watch as part of a complete performance measurement program.
Customer satisfaction is achieved when you communicate with the customers effectively and at the right time. Did you get the customer’s order when they placed it? Let them know with an email, so they can be sure that their order went through. Provide them with a tracking number if the product will be delivered to them. When the order is delivered, check in with the customer to ensure it was delivered, it was in good condition, and see whether they liked the product.
If the product was damaged or broken on arrival, what are you doing to help the customer? Were you able to send out a replacement or have it repaired for them? If you provide an installation service, were the professionals there on time for the installation, and did they do it correctly?
What about when the customer called with questions? Whether it was before or after the purchase, your team needs to answer the questions to the customers’ satisfaction. They need to resolve problems professionally.
Good communication is important because it will help you to achieve more trust with the customer. As you likely know, trust is an essential ingredient when it comes to satisfaction, as well as the customer lifetime value.
Unfortunately, business often overestimate how well they are doing with customers. In the 2020 NICE CXone CX Benchmark study, we compared business estimates with consumers response about their actual experiences with many types of interactions. For interactions via digital channels, consumers reported CSAT 12 points lower than what businesses estimate.
Why is customer satisfaction so important?
The majority of customers do not complain. However, out of those unhappy customers, many of them will be looking for better options and will likely leave for one of your competitors and will not come back to you. This means that even when you aren’t getting many complaints from customers, you might find that you are losing sales.
Not only that, but when a customer is unhappy, even when they don’t directly complain to your company about the problem with the product or service, they will complain to others. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that when a customer is unhappy, they will tell between nine and 15 people about the negative experience. However, happy customers will only tell between four and six people about the positive experience they had with your company.
Negative experiences can outweigh the impact of positive experiences. When your customers are not happy, even if they aren’t loudly complaining to you and connecting with your contact center, they can still do damage to your company by taking their business elsewhere and even causing damage to your reputation with their friends and family or even going public with negative social posts or negative ratings on review sites. You early warning system is CSAT. Let’s look at some of the details that make customer satisfaction such an important measure.
CSAT indicates customer intent for future interactions
When you have a high customer satisfaction rate, it will help you to better gauge the intentions of customers in the future. Happy customers are more likely to return to you and keep doing business. Finding out how satisfied customers are, even with something as simple as a survey that allows them to rate your company on a scale from 1-10, can give you more insight. If you are scoring 7 and above from a customer, it generally indicates that they are satisfied with their experience. The CXone benchmark study indicates that the majority of businesses and consumers report average CSAT of under 5. These lower score indicate that customers may not be happy and are considering leaving. This knowledge will allow you to make some changes to improve their satisfaction.
Increases customer lifetime value
High customer satisfaction typically means that the customers will end up spending more with your company than someone who is dissatisfied or only partially satisfied. This makes sense, of course. Someone who is pleased with what you are offering will provide more value to your business. You need to think about what you are doing to make the customers happy and to have them keep returning to your business. If you don’t address their pain points when it comes to their satisfaction level with your company, you will lose them.
Build trust with the customers to drive loyalty and satisfaction if you want to have the customers spend more with your company. Read more about the customer lifetime value in our latest blog by Laura Bassett, Sr. Director of Product Marketing.
Reduces negative word of mouth
Contact centers work hard to solve customer problems every day, but inevitably there will be some problems that cannot ever be fixed. This can lead to unhappy customers that will later have a bigger impact on your business than you might initially realize. It’s important to train your agents to provide great customer service and respond to issues quickly to help prevent online or offline negativity about your company. Customers feel more valued when they are listened to and shown empathy by the frontline agents. In fact, 59% of customers say the pandemic raised their standard for customer service because there are more digital channels available when trying to reach a contact center.
Retaining happy customers is more cost-effective than getting new customers
How much does it cost your company to find and bring aboard new customers? How long does it take customers to move through the sales funnel to the point where they are actually buying from your business? It takes time, effort, and money to acquire new customers than it does to retain the existing customers you have. Naturally, it makes a lot more sense to keep your current customers happy. When they are happy, they continue to buy and continue to say good things about their experiences with you.
Beyond just the contact center
Achieving high customer satisfaction and loyalty requires focus from many areas across your company, however the contact center is on the frontline and contributes across the full customer relationship. Let’s take a look at the customer lifecycle and think about things from the customer perspective.
When you understand what customers are looking for, what they need, and their pain points, it becomes easier to discover ways that you can improve your overall customer satisfaction.
Understanding the customer and their experience
What happens in a typical customer lifecycle? In today’s world, each customer has their unique customer journey but in general the phases in the purchase journey are similar—even for renewals and repeat purchases. Today’s savvy consumers don’t always buy automatically from you again. We all know that we can quickly find alternatives, lower prices, better value in seconds with search on our phones. When researching a new product or service or looking for a solution to a current problem, there are three main phases that customers go through when they are looking for a product or service.
This is the phase when the customers realize that they need or want to buy a product or to attain a service. They have an idea of what they need, but they need to do further research to find the solution that’s right for their needs. During this stage, they are visiting websites, learning more about the products and services, and are comparing companies. This is where a lot of their work is done. They might even try to reach out to companies to ask questions about their offerings to get more information.
After they have narrowed their selection, they will then make a purchase. Customers tend not to make purchases lightly, especially those for costly products or services. When they buy, they want to process to be simple and straightforward. They don’t want to jump through a lot of hoops or be hassled to purchase from your site. If they have trouble with the purchasing process, it’s not too late for them to back out and find a better solution.
Even after the customer has bought their product or service from your company, they are still on their customer journey. If they have questions or problems, they are going to reach out to your company, and they will expect you to have a way to help them. If the support is not high-quality and if they run into problems, there is a chance they will not buy from you again. They might even try to get their money back. This is why robust customer support software is essential for the contact center is important.
At each of the steps discussed above, you have to stop and ask yourself what your customers are looking for. Not just the product or service, but deeper. What do they expect from the companies they are researching, buying from, and trying to get support from? Think about what it is that will make or break the customer’s satisfaction level.
Customer satisfaction is essential in the early stages
Even though these are the early stages of the relationship you have with the customer, they are highly important. Only when you make sure the customers are satisfied during these first stages can you then start to worry about things like customer loyalty, net promoters, and their overall lifetime value. If you don’t take care of the little things first, the others won’t matter.
Think about the ways that you can achieve better satisfaction from the very start. Remember to think about the customer journey. Put yourself in their position and think about the things that would be most important to you when you are researching and making a buying decision.
Early Contact with Your Website & Team Influence Satisfaction and Purchase Decision
Let’s take your website as an example. How easy is it to use and navigate your website? Are customers coming to the site and then leaving without making a purchase? What is it about your site that is causing this to happen? Maybe your website is difficult to navigate, and it’s hard to find the right products or services. The site might not have as much information about the products as your customer might like or need, so they can make an informed buying decision.
It might be difficult for them to add products to the cart, make changes, or make a purchase. If you don’t have a secure site, they will not feel as comfortable buying from you. Companies that have not invested in a mobile-friendly site might also find that many customers have trouble buying from them. After all, many people today are searching the web through their phones and tablets. You need to be sure that your website is attractive and functional, regardless of the device the customer uses to access it.
You will also find that during these early stages, customers might have questions. They could have questions about the product, the service, warranties, size questions, queries about how to use the product, etc. Even though they have not made a purchase yet, they expect these types of questions to be answered.
So, what can you do about this? Satisfaction or dissatisfaction will usually start the moment that a customer has knowledge about your company. This could be from a visit to your website or one of your social media pages. Therefore, you want to present them with the best picture possible. Make sure your site is user-friendly and that you present plenty of information about the products and services you are offering. Everything should be nice and clear for them, so they have an easier time deciding on the purchase and your company.
The contact that you have with customers throughout should be proactive rather than reactive. Make sure the customers are happy, don’t just wait for them to contact you with negative feedback. Remember, 96% of unhappy customers will not get in touch with you to complain. However, if you reach out to them, you can head off any negativity that might be brewing. This will increase their satisfaction and make them more likely to continue being your customer.
How contact centers play a backbone role in customer satisfaction
Your contact center will play a pivotal role in customer satisfaction. Let’s look at some of the major benefits that will come from having a quality contact center.
One of the biggest benefits is that it will help your customers to be more satisfied with their interactions with your company. This is especially true when it comes to having multiple channels with a single view of the customer. This means that the customers can connect with your company using their preferred methods of contact, but the team members who help the team will have a single record of the customer. This will help to ensure better satisfaction and faster results.
A good contact center can also help to improve the company’s brand image by quickly responding to customer questions and concerns across all channels that the customers use, whether it is social media, email, through chat, voice, or on your site. Good customer service will also help to boost customer engagement. When you engage with customers in meaningful ways you build trust and loyalty as a result.
Delivering an excellent omnichannel customer experience isn’t just about the tools. It’s also about training agents to deliver personalized, positive experiences. For contact centers this means providing coaching, support, and the technology such as interaction recording, live monitoring, quality management, analytics, workforce management, or a combination of these activities.
By understanding the customer needs, empowering the workforce, and investing in cloud platform technology, contact centers will put themselves in a great position to deliver excellent customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.
What makes NICE CXone the best choice?
What are you doing right now to improve your customer satisfaction rate? Creating and running a contact center can be challenging, and there is a chance that you might not be doing it correctly. You might have some gaps in the contact center’s capabilities, and you could be leaving some customers out in the cold. Therefore, you want to avoid attempting to handle it all on your own. Instead, make it a point to choose NICE CXone for your contact center needs.
The platform offers a range of benefits. One of the biggest of these benefits is omnichannel routing. When your customers have questions that need to be answered, omnichannel routing can connect journeys across any channel. Your customers can use the communication options that they prefer. This can greatly increase their levels of satisfaction.
The platform provides automation, as well as AI. This can help to make it easier for customers to get the help they need while freeing up your employees, so they do not have to keep answering the same repetitive questions. Customers will be pleased that they are getting the answers they need faster than they would if they had to wait for human contact. It will make things more efficient for your customers and your team.
Make customer satisfaction and engagement a priority for your business. Get in touch and learn more about the features and benefits that NICE CXone offers.