The adage ‘the customer is always right’ has never been truer. And with customers holding more power now than ever before, customer satisfaction can make or break your business. But many don’t understand the full impact of why they should care.
In such a saturated market, customer satisfaction should be of key importance for any company. Just to show you exactly how important, customer satisfaction data shows that businesses lose as much as $75 billion annually because of poor customer service.
You have to admit this is not short change, and is caused by neglecting customer needs and wants. So if you don't want your company to join the ranks of businesses throwing away money due to a lack of quality customer service, consider the following ways you can improve your customer satisfaction.
1. Quality customer service can speed up payments
Receiving regular payments from customers is what keeps your business afloat. But if you don't comply with their needs, you might end up waiting a long time in between payments, just because you haven’t opened a clear line of communication with your customers. The first step is to offer different payment methods so that they can choose which ones are more convenient for them. In addition, you can also prolong the payment deadline for some of the more loyal customers, and if you don’t want your business to suffer for that, you can choose invoice finance so that the cash flow continues, whilst still maintaining a quality relationship with your loyal customer base.
2. Your customers won’t have a problem with switching companies
With such a rich market there is no shortage of companies offering the same or similar products and services like yours. This means that if your customers are dissatisfied there are a lot of options for them to choose from. And customer satisfaction is a huge part of why they decide to leave. A recent survey showed that 65% of customers interviewed are willing to change brands if they dislike the way a company treats them. So, even if you provide the best possible service or a top quality product, mistreatment of customers can lead to serious repercussions for your company’s success.
3. Customer satisfaction influences your brand image
In the age of social media, people have no issue with voicing their opinion on just about any topic. To think that a small percentage of dissatisfied customers can't hurt your company is quite foolish. Most smart businesses actively monitor company mentions online, and are also prepared to respond quickly to any customer service complaint. This is because they know that if a customer complaint goes unnoticed, it immediately impacts their company’s reputation and trustworthiness. In fact, 72% of people who "complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour." And if this doesn't happen, you can expect a lot of negative responses flooding your social media channels. And it is much more cost effective to be responsive and adhere to your customer’s need than it is to do online reputation management afterwards.
4. Your customers don't have time to waste
If your response to a customer complaint or question takes a long time, or is insufficient, they are more likely to switch companies. In fact, 69% of customers listed failure of the company to handle a complaint properly as one of the main reasons for switching loyalty. And how you handle a complaint can actually have a positive effect on your customer satisfaction, as many will be happy that you have taken their issues into consideration. You can even offer different incentives and loyalty programs to help the process along more smoothly. In addition, make sure you respond to emails, and calls in the shortest possible time, as customers may consider a lack of response as a sign that your business doesn't care about them, and that can cost you customer loyalty.
So there you have it, sufficient reasons for understanding the importance of customer satisfaction. And if you want your business to thrive and succeed, it is imperative that you pay more attention to your customers, especially considering that one wrong Tweet or post can cost you and your company a lot of future business. So start improving on your customer service programs straight away, with just a bit of investment you can make a huge difference and boost your ROI.
Author: Keith is an Adelaide based business consultant with a degree in Media Management.