Make 'Em Smile: What Drives Successful Customer Satisfaction?

Business.com / Customers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

In a world full of bad customer service, what is it that consumers are really looking for in their experience with companies?

A happy customer is a satisfied customer. Satisfied customers become return customers. If return customers continue to feel satisfied with their experience, they will become loyal customers.

Loyal customers are the cornerstone of a successful business as they continue to support your company and serve as valuable referral sources.

The biggest reason companies lose their customers is not because they are unhappy with the product or because they want to shop elsewhere; the majority of customers leave because they are dissatisfied with the service they receive.

In a world full of bad customer service, what is it that consumers are really looking for in their experience with companies?

The concept of making customers happy is simple enough, but putting the concept into practice requires attention to specific strategies. The following tips can help drive more successful customer satisfaction when integrated into day-to-day business.

Related Article: 10 Customer Service Books Every Business Owner Should Read

Communication is Key

As in most aspects of life, healthy communication keeps relationships in good shape. The same can be said for customer relations. Clear communication from the start will support a successful customer experience.

The following are some suggested strategies for engaging customers in a positive exchange.

 

Ask Questions

It is important to ask customers questions to understand their needs better. If your product or service is customizable, asking questions and clarifying their request is the best way to ensure their need is met. Inquire if their needs have been met or if they have any other questions. Asking questions and learning about your customer is the first step in building a relationship with them, one that involves trust.

Listen

When talking to a customer, be sure to listen and even repeat back key points or requests. This tactic helps customers feel secure in knowing they are being heard and helps staff understand the customer’s needs. Listening is an effective strategy to help customers feel valued and important.

 

Set Expectations

Once the customer has expressed their needs, it is important to clearly communicate what can be expected from the service or product being offered. By being clear about what the customer can expect, it eliminates the possibility for confusion about what will be delivered. In some situations it can improve customer satisfaction if a company “under promises and over delivers.”

 

Communicate Company or Service Policies

It is not uncommon that customer dissatisfaction is a result of poor communication and misunderstanding. Being clear about company policies is not just good communication, it is good business practice. If a customer is not aware of a return or cancellation policy and is unable to return a product or receive a refund for a service, they will likely become frustrated and less inclined to do further business with your company.

 

Follow-Up and Get Feedback

Once a sale is complete or a service is delivered, the interaction with the customer isn’t necessarily over. Following up with a customer after the fact is vital to determine if the product or service met their needs and if they are satisfied. Gestures like this are important ways to nurture the customer relationship and encourage return business. Capturing this feedback is also central to improving on customer service for future customers.

Related Article: The Secret Weapon 10 Marketing Experts Use to Improve Their Conversion Rate

Delivering Quality Customer Service

Quality customer service is the foundation to ensuring a successful customer experience.

Customer service is a catch-all for a variety of tactics that, when implemented in day-to-day operations, creates an environment where customers feel welcomed, prioritized and cared for.

Here are some tips to incorporate into your customer interactions that improve overall customer service.

 

Golden Rule

It should go without saying that staff should follow The Golden Rule when working with customers. Specifically, treat customers the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Are your customers greeted promptly and in a welcoming manner? Are staff courteous and friendly? Are customers’ questions addressed quickly and accurately?

 

Be Proactive

Anticipating customer needs before they become a problem is a way to prevent or minimize customer dissatisfaction. An example of this type of tactic is how some airlines will utilize a text message alert system when a customer’s flight has been delayed or cancelled. Relaying information such as this shows the consumer that a company understands their time is valuable and is commitment to preventing any inconvenience.

 

Meet Expectations

Once you have set an expectation with a customer, it is critical that the expectation is met. A primary reason for customer dissatisfaction is not being delivered what was promised to them. (Or, going back to the need for clear communication, what the customer thought was promised.)

 

Be Consistent

Customers will feel more secure in a service or company if messaging and service delivery is consistent. This means keeping information and the quality of service delivery the same whether in-store, online, in the media, etc.

Related Article: The Evolution of Online Customer Service: Where We Are Now?

Through utilizing effective communication and customer service strategies, companies can offer customers a more satisfying experience. These tips can help improve customer retention and revenue generation.

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