Several weeks ago, I posted an article on a complaint I experienced first hand with Space Coast Credit Union (SCCU). The complaint in actuality was the result of several problems this bank pushed onto its customers. In total, they led to a very bad customer experience and the poor measuring customer satisfaction. In my mind, it was obvious that SCCU didn’t care.
Customer satisfaction is a marketing term that measures how products or services supplied by a company meet or surpass a customer’s expectation.
This post is part of a series. Here are the first and third posts:
Customer satisfaction is important because it provides marketers and business owners with a metric that they can use to manage and improve their businesses.
In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 71 percent responded that they found a customer satisfaction metric very useful in managing and monitoring their businesses.
Check out our thoughts on customer focus.
Here are six reasons why we believe customer satisfaction is so important:
- It’s a leading indicator of consumer repurchase intentions and loyalty
- It’s a point of differentiation
- It reduces customer churn
- It increases customer lifetime value
- It reduces negative word of mouth
- It’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones
Keep learning … Customer Service Tips … How to Take Charge of Basics
In this article, I will recommend some actions that SCCU should take to make amends for their prior actions, to pay more attention to their customers, and to improve their customer satisfaction.
Does your business focus on customer complaints and the problems behind them? Customer complaints are an incredibly important part of customer insights and therefore the overall service experience you deliver.
Here we will discuss ways to take full advantage of the information in customer complaints. But first, an important question for you.
Have you ever turned a customer complaint into a future opportunity, or better yet, a customer advocate? It can be really rewarding, yes? Often, a negative experience that a customer has with your business can be salvaged and turned into an opportunity to win them over for life.
But handled poorly, and you could lose customers for life. This is such an important element of customer service that we use it a critical element of our customer service workshops. We use it to show the power we all have to give our customers a memorable experience.
Here are some simple recommendations I suggest SCCU employ for ways to gather more feedback and customer complaints like mine.
Measuring customer satisfaction … listen completely
Give customers your complete attention. Don’t multi-task. Don’t half- listen. Write down what they are telling you and get specifics from them. Then confirm that you understand. Focus only on them. These actions go for all customer-facing employees.
They also need a process for collecting all customer insight inputs, establishing action priorities, and finally taking action.
Never overlook details
Don’t overlook details … as ‘unimportant.’ Until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it is difficult to know the importance of details.
Connect… and then move closer. You learn most when you build close relationships with your customers.
Keep pressing … ‘just one more question.’ Each new fact that you discover often generates new information needs.
Use your personal experience
Put your personal experience to work, but don’t be biased by it. Don’t let your values and views take charge of getting the true picture.
Look for connections
Spot connections between seemingly unrelated observations. Keep iterating and building the puzzle of facts and their relationships.
Deal directly and don’t hand customers off
Please hold while we transfer you. Your call is very important to us.
Don’t you hate this response? While you’ll experience less of this problem when handling support via email, it’s still important to get people to the right employee quickly.
Never miss an opportunity to briefly explain to a customer why this transfer will be to their benefit. It’s hard to get any customer happy or excited about being transferred, but consider the two choices you have:
You are getting transferred. “Well, this stinks!”
You will be transferred to our ____ specialist who can better answer your question. “Well … okay, then!”
Without this relevant insertion, customers won’t know that you are trying to do the right thing.
Don’t be too formal
Research suggests that personalization is powerful when interacting with anyone, but especially with your customers.
Remember to speak as if you were talking with an acquaintance. A little familiarity can go a long way toward getting customers on your side.
Apologize and mean it
This is often hard, especially if you did not cause the problem. When you apologize in this situation, you are not necessarily taking the blame for causing the problem. You are apologizing for the customer having a bad experience. Put yourself in their shoes. Be sincere.
Assure them you’ll fix the problem
Because you listened and you confirmed their complaint, you know why they are upset. Take the next step and assure them you will take action to make sure it does not happen again. Otherwise, why would they come back? (You need to fix the problem too.)
Measuring customer satisfaction … thank them
Without direct customer feedback, we have no idea if we are delivering the experience our customers want. When they tell us we have failed, they are offering priceless information on how we can improve our business. They are telling us what we need to do to keep customers coming back. So thank them for their help. It’s a rare customer who will take the time and effort to offer feedback. Thanking them will go a long way toward winning them back.
Know more about … Handling Customer Complaints … 8 Mistakes to Avoid
Focus on customer convenience … how could we make things easier for you?
Remove the constraints your customers have. Consider ways they can help you help them. We often assume certain things can’t change; then we sit frozen like deer in the headlights overcome with frustration.
If we lift those restrictions on our thinking, we can better visualize how things COULD be, which is liberating and empowering.
The bottom line
Lee Resource Inc. found that for every customer complaint 26 other unhappy customers have remained silent.
That is an amazing statistic to us. Most companies think they are the best and they have no unhappy customers. The reality is, 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain. In fact, we have found that most simply just leave and never come back.
What are you doing to measure customer satisfaction and identify unhappy customers?
Customer satisfaction plays an important role within your business. Not only is it the leading indicator to measure customer loyalty, identify unhappy customers, reduce churn and increase revenue; it is also a key point of differentiation that helps you to attract new customers in competitive business environments.
I hope this blog post has shed light on why customer satisfaction is so important to the success of your business.
Remember, customers, don’t care what you do. They only care what they’re left with after you have done it.
Need some help in building better customer service for your customers? Have you noticed the growing importance of customer service you provide, especially for your marketing? Creative ideas to help enhance your word of mouth marketing?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your customer service improvement and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas for your service to customers.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on customer service from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library: