Many organizations want to do something with customer satisfaction but don't know how or where to start. Customer satisfaction is often seen as a goal and the higher the customer satisfaction the better. But why and how can you improve your customer satisfaction?
It is generally believed that satisfied customers are more loyal and that satisfied customers purchase more or more often. Consequently, marketing research has shown that satisfied customers are willing to pay more for a product that meets their needs. In addition, satisfied customers can provide new customers through word-of-mouth advertising. More importantly, however, customer satisfaction is a good indicator of how well you as an organization are meeting your customer's expectations. Measuring that customer satisfaction is therefore not nonsensical as long as the goal is to measure what the customer expectations are, what factors are important to the customer and to what extent you as an organization meet them. Meeting your customer's expectations is essential for any organization. Therefore, the approach to customer satisfaction should be different: it should be an outside-in approach rather than an inside-out approach.
If you want to get started with customer satisfaction improvement you will have to start by taking stock of what is important to your customers. We often see in practice that we quickly think of a script and exactly what questions we want to ask customers. So we tend to take an inside-out approach in this regard, determining for ourselves the factors that should influence customer satisfaction. This approach leads to making assumptions about what the customer cares about, but how do you know if these assumptions match the perception of your customer? An outside-in approach turns this approach around: you ask the customer what he or she thinks is important. Once you know what your customers care about, you can map out how satisfied they actually are.
Don't count all your customers as one group. There are differences in your customers' needs: for example, some want the best service, others the lowest price. To satisfy these different desires, it is wise to divide your customers into segments. Each segment consists of a customer group that has similar desires. Such segmentation allows you to make a unique proposal for each target segment, tailored to the wishes of that segment. It also allows you to measure and ultimately improve customer satisfaction for each target group segment.
How does an annual measurement work? You measure in December and conclude that your customers are dissatisfied with certain aspects of your service. You then set about making improvements, but when will you know if these improvements are successful? Not until next year. In all those months, you will not have been working to improve your customer satisfaction and you will not know if your latest adjustments were successful. This approach does not show that you are constantly working to meet your customer's needs. What is important is that you immediately identify and address issues that could be improved. It is satisfying to then also see the effects of your adjustments as quickly as possible. An ongoing customer feedback loop can help you do this. For example, by measuring the satisfaction of a group of customers every month on a small scale, you can quickly make adjustments and thus meet the ever-changing expectations of the customer.
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