Groundbreaking news: Making your customers happy is important.
Yes, it’s probably the most obvious statement you’ll hear all year – but if you want to deliver a truly standout customer experience, it’s crucial to understand the ins and outs of why customer satisfaction is so important.
Customer satisfaction impacts your business in a ton of ways – and some aren’t so obvious. By paying attention to these, you put your organization in a better position to rise up and out of the crowded market, and directly into the hearts of your customers.
So, here are 5 ways customer satisfaction impacts your business:
1. Customer satisfaction builds brand loyalty
At the heart of customer satisfaction is relationship-building. After all, brands aren’t just logos and billboards – they’re made up of people.
When your customer engagements feel like people helping people instead of “Customers” interacting with a faceless “Brand” – those are the moments that build relationships and make for more satisfied customers.
And satisfied customers are loyal customers. Customers who have deep personal relationships with your company are more likely to come back to you for repeat business. That’s especially true when your company gets things right, of course – but they’re also more forgiving when you don’t.
In their “Future of CX” report, PwC reported that 1 in 3 (32%) consumers will leave a brand after just one bad experience – and 59% of U.S. consumers will walk away after several bad experiences.
That leaves brands in a tricky position. But by building closer relationships with your customers, you can help them give you the benefit of the doubt when they have a bad experience, instead of running into the waiting arms of your competition.
Also, when customers are happier, they’re more likely to participate with your brand. Maybe you want a specific survey filled out, or maybe you want detailed feedback to share with your sales team, or a product testimonial – satisfied customers are often all too happy to return the favor. What could have been a purely transactional relationship becomes one that’s truly reciprocal.
It all starts with those bond-building moments when customers get to see that there are real, passionate (but vulnerable) people behind your brand.
One is to be open, honest and self-deprecatingly humorous about your mistakes. This could mean writing a funny 404 error page; it could be about making sincere but funny mea culpa statements through your social accounts or emails, blaming a minor error on an imaginary intern. (We’ve seen these sorts of posts go viral for companies before.)
While you certainly need to be careful about seeming flippant about your mistakes, getting this self-deprecating stuff right can be a powerful way of building human connection with your customers. Sometimes nothing says “we’re only human” like an apology.
Tip: Lean into building those human-to-human connections with guided customer experience solutions (like these).
2. Customer satisfaction drives positive online reviews and organic, customer-driven word-of-mouth referrals
Having happy customers generates the rarest kind of feedback: unprompted positive feedback. They’ve just had an experience so satisfying that they want to get chatty about it – there’s no surer sign that you’re doing something right.
Oftentimes, that happiness will manifest as real, organic word-of-mouth referrals as they tell their friends. And as we all know, those are way more compelling than incentivized referrals to the tune of “Hey, sign up with these guys and we’ll both get 10% off.”
And what if that was your business’s real goal? To have your customers tell their friends, unprompted, about a great experience they had with you? What changes would your business have to make if that was the most important outcome?
When you focus your business around customer satisfaction, you’re creating those moments they want to talk about. And especially now, when companies are competing on experiences, those moments can have a massive impact.
A recent example of what above-and-beyond customer service looks like – and can do for your brand: pet food supplier Chewy recently made headlines with an amazing response to a customer’s inquiry about returning an unopened bag of dog food after her beloved pet passed away.
They refunded her, recommended she donate the food to a local shelter, and delivered her flowers and a note signed by the customer service rep she spoke to.
The customer’s (unprompted) tweet describing Chewy’s response has so far been retweeted 45 thousand times, and picked up 739 thousand likes. That’s the sort of trustworthy viral advertising that money alone can’t buy – only thoughtfulness.
Tip: Pose the question to your team – what would you do differently if creating empathetic, unforgettable, and story-telling-worthy moments for your customers was your top priority?
3. Happy customers increase employee satisfaction and motivation
It’s a well-known fact that happy employees lead to happier customers. Employees who work for companies with satisfied customers are more energized, make more of an effort, and can better represent a business that cares.
But the inverse is equally important – happier customers can make for happier employees!
It can be easy for any member of your team to fall into a monotonous routine and lose touch with the impact they’re having on real people. Hearing from satisfied customers can be hugely motivating, knowing they’ve left a positive impact in their lives – even small ones.
After all, your customer-facing team is likely made up of people who are all about helping other people; they didn’t get into customer service because they don’t like human interaction!
Helping others means something – probably a lot – to them. And they might not know just how much they’re helping people unless they’re able to connect with them person-to-person.
Think back to that Chewy story from earlier: just imagine how that employee felt seeing their personal service put in the spotlight and praised by so many people!
Using social media to open up channels of communication between your company and its customers (and even between individual employees and customers) can be risky, but can also result in a big boost in satisfaction for both your customers and your “I’m a people person” employees.
Just make sure you have guidelines for your social media managers (and, if applicable, other employees) to avoid any inappropriate interactions.
Then there are support calls, of course. On that subject …
Tip: Creating personalized interactions, like face-to-face video chats, can leave both parties feeling satisfied. Plus, customers calling with issues tend to become more pleasant and patient when they can actually see the person they’re appealing to for help – which can alleviate the stress of agents and, in turn, enable them to better help customers.
4. Satisfied customers help your business identify areas for improvement
Satisfied customers can help you understand what it’s really like to experience your website or product.
Not only are they likely to be more willing to participate in feedback sessions, they’re more likely to give you deeper, richer feedback on your customer experience. So while they’re telling you about the parts of their customer journey that they love, they’re also more likely to elaborate on why they love it.
What’s more – and somewhat counterintuitively – satisfied customers can be a great source of insight into where your customer experience is going wrong. They’ll call out areas of your customer journey that could be improved, but aren’t obstructive enough to appear on your company’s radar in the form of complaints from dissatisfied customers.
Drawing on your most satisfied customers’ insights to shape your customer journeys is a win-win situation: your company gets a deeper understanding of how customers experience interacting with you, and they get a customer experience that’s more tailored to their desires.
Tip: Talk with your customers! A real conversation – not just the usual time-short economy of feedback (“Can you quickly fill out this form? It’ll only take two seconds.”). Having a proper dialogue with your happiest customers may not be the quickest option, but it can give you deep insight into what it’s like to be on their side of your business.
5. Customer happiness is the real growth fuel
There’s a prevailing sentiment (that’s often justified) that businesses don’t *really* care about customers. They’ll care only so far as it’ll make them more money.
But isn’t it possible for a company to genuinely care about both leaving people better off and their bottom line?
Today, many companies show how much they care about other people by making charitable donations to causes valued by their customers. Take Subaru: last year, for every new Subaru purchased or leased at more than 600 participating retailers, they donated $250 to the customer’s choice of charity.
You don’t have to run a huge advertising campaign like Subaru, of course. Putting a link on your website that will ensure a charitable organization benefits every time a customer shops with you is a powerful way of signaling that your company shares its customers’ values – a micro-moment in the customer journey that can have a big impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.
However, while this sort of thing shows customers that your company cares about people, proving to your customers that you’re truly invested in them and earning their trust comes back to building relationships.
It might be easier for someone to presume a company is just out for profits when they’re interacting with a faceless, monolithic brand. But when a customer is connected to a human that clearly cares and is invested in their success – that interaction doesn’t feel exploitative, it feels genuine. Ironically, companies that are able to convey that they prioritize customers over profits are positioned to have the biggest financial return in the long-term. They know the bottom line increase will come, but they’re all-in for creating meaningful relationships now.
Tip: Focus on building micro-moments into your customer journeys that humanize your company and show off its values. Encourage those at the top of your organization to get loud about prioritizing the customer instead of short-term wins.
Satisfaction starts here: the power of Guided CX
Customer satisfaction is about a lot more than how smoothly a single interaction, or series of transactions, between a customer and your company has gone.
When you satisfy customers, you’re achieving a lot more than avoiding having to deal with a complaint or pay them a refund. (Although you’re achieving that too!)
No: You’re also building customer loyalty. You’re driving positive word of mouth (and could be organically generating viral advertising). You’re making customers feel better about giving feedback and providing insights into how to improve your customer experience. You’re creating an environment in which your employees feel happier.
And, ultimately, you’re fueling your company’s growth by positively influencing how people feel about it.
Just as there are many and multiform benefits that come with satisfying customers, there are many (often seemingly quite small) and multiform ways to satisfy them.
We’ve covered some of those ways in this blog – for more, check out our 5 step action plan for lifting customer satisfaction.
Not the least of these is creating as many warm, memorable, human-to-human moments in your customer experience as possible. And that isn’t as hard as it may seem.
Our Guided CX solutions are built to make those happen. They make it easy to bridge the gap between your agents and your customers – and create the most CSAT-generating CX interactions imaginable.
Want to see what we mean? Book a quick demo here.