Customer-first, customer 360, customer satisfaction … this is the big hype today and in most probably the greatest challenge for the upcoming years.
Even though the customer focus has always been part of company strategies, the rise of the digital economy has shifted the power towards the consumers:
- Search engines allow consumers to search content and advice easily, forcing companies to publish quality content related to their brand.
- Social media allow consumers to share experience (good or bad) instantaneously, forcing companies to hire community managers to manage the customer emotional reactions in real-time.
- Mobile apps have used customers to delightful experiences and 24/7 use of service, forcing companies to provide a secured and controlled access to their core services in real-time (through MBaaS and API Management technical solutions for example).
- Consumer loyalty is decreasing and consumers tend to switch to a competitor offering in just a few clicks, forcing companies to put the customer at the center of their new strategy.
In order to clearly measure the impact of customer satisfaction on your business, let’s remind a few key facts:
- Happy customers who have their problem resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.
- A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it. And approximately 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about it.
- It costs five to six times as much to get a new (first-time) customer as it does to keep a current one.
We understand the importance of establishing a strategy that is based on customer loyalty. Every brand dreams of having loyal customers, such as the “Apple fans”, the “Amazon fans” or the “Star Wars fans”. Whatever you do, they have good chance to be excited and promote your new products.
Why is customer satisfaction so hard to attain?
Customer satisfaction is extremely complex to improve because it involves a lot of people and departments within your company: sales, support, branding, quality, product design …
It requires every employee in the company to focus on the customer value instead of looking at internal issues and politics. That’s why customer satisfaction is so hard.
I was last week in Berlin and was wondering why my airliner decided to only put one single employee at the check-in desk while there was more than 70 people queuing in the line. I was also surprised to see that the employee was remaining surprisingly calm and didn’t change his cadence to help customers who started to grow impatient. The following quote of Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, helped me figure out why:
If employees don’t feel cared by the management, why should they be the only one to care for the customer satisfaction ? This quote requires in my opinion a few seconds of silence …
So, how to improve customer satisfaction?
For many years, companies have developed many types surveys to understand their customers. The problem with surveys were following:
- Happy customers don’t bother filling a survey
- Unhappy customer have more chance to fill a survey but expects to be contacted in return, otherwise they will get even more dissatisfied.
- Survey questions can often be misinterpreted by customers
- Survey answers can be often be misinterpreted by marketing departments.
- Survey results don’t circulate properly within the organization and most people in corporate functions don’t understand how they can influence the customer relationship.
A few vendors have developed solutions to improve the customer experience aka customer feedback automation solutions. They provide dashboards that can easily circulate across Executives, Corporate Staff (Market researcher, product managers, website manager), Operational & Frontline Staff (regional manager, frontline managers and employees). Customer feedback is automatically collected across all channels, including locations, call centers, web sites, social media … and turned into actionable metrics. Dashboards can be accessed online or through email reports or via mobile devices. Goal is to save at-risk customers by contacting them directly with appropriate actions.