Customer satisfaction, for years has been less of a concept and more of an event — you gave a customer a product or service, they paid you money, and everyone was satisfied with the result. And yet, for the past few decades it has morphed into something broader, more fluid, and much more elusive. Today, marketers and business owners generally define customer satisfaction as a measurement of how well a product or service meets up to — or surpasses — the customer’s expectations.; This modern concept of customer satisfaction first emerged as a core consideration of marketing in the 1950’s, but over the decades it has steadily grown in importance, before reaching its current peak. Arguably the sharpest incline in the importance of customer satisfaction occurred when social media became mainstream. Nowadays, customers will post, share, or tweet their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) regarding any given product or service, and it has the potential to directly affect the business.

Why is customer satisfaction important?

With this in mind, it is no wonder that customer satisfaction is a primary focus for marketing teams of businesses both large and small. However, customer satisfaction goes beyond good PR. The impact that it has on a company’s brand is crucial in a time when strong corporate branding is paramount, and a culture of brand loyalty is thriving — but there are also plenty of measurable benefits to a satisfied customer.

Customers these days are incredibly savvy. You can use targeted marketing tactics and reach out to them in unique ways, but if you cannot deliver, they will not stick around. That is why 76 percent of consumers view customer services as the true test of how much a company values them.

76 percent of consumers view customer services as the true test of how much a company values them.

Good customer service leads to repeat sales and loyal customers, but it also saves on the costs associated with trying to draw in new customers — in the social media age, word of mouth is king. So why is customer satisfaction important? Aside from establishing a brand that you can be proud of, it gives a huge boost to that all important bottom line.

How to improve customer satisfaction.

So there is no question that it is important, but the challenge that so many business owners are still trying to tackle is how to improve customer service, and subsequently customer satisfaction. There is no perfect answer to this, and every business has a different customer base, with different expectations. However, there are a few practices that, when followed, can improve customer satisfaction regardless of industry.

Listen to customers.

In order to give customers what they want, you have to know what they want. Customers are more vocal than ever — 65 percent of customers are likely to speak negatively about their customer service experience. This is something that affects both a business and a brand. Luckily, keeping tuned in to what people are saying is easier than ever. Using modern customer service tools, companies are able to track social conversations and address concerns immediately.

Be proactive.

That tracking becomes important when it comes to avoiding crises, or even simply reaching out to customers in a positive way. Using the right tools you can create a customer service culture that is proactive, rather than reactive.

Practice honesty and manage expectations in marketing.

One of the biggest sources of customer dissatisfaction is when a service or product does not match up to the customer’s expectations. Marketing efforts should be carefully crafted so that nothing is promised that cannot be met.

Understand your customers.

People are unique, and understanding them on a personal level is the key to unlocking customer satisfaction. Of course, it is impossible for your marketing team and customer service reps to understand each individual with whom they interact, but through collecting and utilizing data, they can better understand their needs and wants, and address them accordingly.

A lot of this comes down to using the right tools. Indeed, perhaps the most important step forward in recent years regarding how to improve customer satisfaction, has been the emergence of cloud-based customer support platforms.

How Salesforce can help improve customer service.

One of the best customer service solutions is Salesforce Desk. Desk.com is an out-of-the-box customer service app that works together with other Salesforce solutions to provide a 360 degree view of each customer. Here are a few ways in which it helps to improve customer satisfaction.

  1. Customer journey — as mentioned, the modern customer is looking for a personalized, unified 1-to-1 journey. They want a perfect blend of the digital and physical. For example, when someone buys something in a brick and mortar store, they can go home and use their app to answer any questions that they have about the product, receiving the same answers as they would in person. This works in the other direction as well, with services such as “click and collect.”

  2. Self service — over 90 percent of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service customer support portal. This kind of app benefits both businesses and customers, by empowering them to help themselves.

  3. 90 percent of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service customer support portal
  4. Analyze customer information — through collecting and analyzing customer data, companies are able to make customer service proactive, rather than reactive. This prevents most common customer service issues.

  5. Cohesive communication across departments — by working with other Salesforce apps, such as marketing and sales, Desk can provide a full view of each customer and make sure that nothing — and no one — is lost in transition.

  6. Manage productivity — it also includes agent productivity tools to help with organization and time management.

Customer satisfaction is about more than just retaining customers. It is about taking pride in your brand. When your business cares about how to improve customer satisfaction, the results will soon follow. Salesforce can offer the most comprehensive customer service experience, creating a business with better results, and a more satisfied customer. See how Salesforce can help improve your customer service today by scheduling a free trial.

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