How to Improve Customer Satisfaction by Double Digits in 100 Days
- Unlike sales or market share data which reflect historical results, customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a leading indicator of future purchases.
- CSAT directly correlates to customer referrals, repeat purchases, customer lifetime value, customer retention and brand advocacy.
- Research shows that Customer Experience Management (CXM) is the top customer strategy to increase CSAT and achieve company financial objectives.
Improve Customer Satisfaction with a 4 Step Framework
Achieving consistent customer satisfaction is best done in a four-step building block approach.
- Start with a customer strategy that defines and sequences the methods to deliver the most important customer and business results.
- Figure out what customers most want so you can deliver to known expectations.
- Deliver systemically by using clearly defined business processes and technology automation.
- Measure continuously and refine frequently.
Below are key insights for each of the CSAT building blocks.
Customer Service Strategy
Customer service execution without strategy is aimless. It's also grossly inefficient and costly.
A customer strategy is needed to define the prescriptive methods that produce the most important customer and business outcomes. While a good strategy will help reduce cost to serve, a better strategy will also define the opportunities to grow top-line revenue growth.
There are several proven customer strategies to consider, but the top one used by the Best-in-Class leaders to improve customer satisfaction goals and company profit objectives is Customer Experience Management (CXM). CXM defines and facilitates the methods to deliver customer experiences that go beyond basic satisfaction and achieve more emotional goals. When done correctly, the strategy shows how to make customers feel delighted, appreciated, valued, engaged or rewarded – and make those experiences memorable where possible.
A customer strategy best practice is to start with corporate culture and clear customer expectations. A customer service growth culture is the single greatest reinforcer of strategy. And defining clear customer expectations ensures you are creating strategy pursuant to a measurable target.
Know What Customers (Really) Want
The best way to know precisely what customers want is to ask them. And the best way to ask them is to use a Voice of the Customer (VOC) program.
VOC programs capture, categorize and prioritize customer expectations, preferences and dislikes.
These programs can automate customer requests, harvest the information for analysis and inject the information to each customer record in the CRM system. This information is essential to grow customer intelligence that can be used to deliver differentiated customer experiences. VOC data becomes some of your most valuable customer intelligence.
VOC data delivers a customer-centric, outside-in perspective of the customer experience. Only when the service organization implements methods that align with known customer goals can they deliver on-target service at the least cost.
Where customer service strategy is about doing the right things, service delivery is about doing things right. We've previously shared the methods to achieve customer service excellence so won't repeat that here.
However, it is worth repeating that the two essential facilitators for all customer service excellence methods are repeatable business processes and enabling technology.
Customer facing business processes should be agile, streamlined and clearly defined. If your business processes need help, consider using Agile Value Stream mapping to orchestrate and optimize.
Technology is required for business process automation, information reporting and scale.
The greatest challenge with the technology is navigating multiple, disintegrated business applications. It's all too common that agents crisscross their way through several point solutions or piecemeal applications to accommodate a single customer incident. That disjointed effort increases manual and duplicate entry, slows service delivery, causes customers to repeat themselves, and delivers less than consistent results.
The remedy to disparate applications is either integration of multiple systems or a single, holistic application. The later provides advantages in terms of ease of use, staff productivity and total cost of ownership (TCO). When evaluating customer support systems recognize that the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the customer system of record and should therefore be the central, holistic application.
Measure and Improve
CSAT is a leading indicator of future customer purchases, customer lifetime value (CLV), customer retention and all downstream company financial objectives.
CSAT is equal to the number or percentage of customers whose reported experience with the brand meets or exceeds their satisfaction goals. Brands can't define how CSAT is met or exceeded; only customers can (which is another reason you need a VOC program.)
Raising CSAT scores is seldom achieved with a single performance improvement. The best way to improve this essential metric is with a CSAT performance improvement plan that aligns a collection of improvements that create synergy and a cumulative effect.
For better clarity, CSAT should be performed by customer segment and measured in at least the three categories of brand satisfaction, product or service satisfaction, and customer service satisfaction.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is another frequently used customer measurement. It should be considered a compliment, not a replacement, for the CSAT measure.