25 surefire ways to improve customer satisfaction
Discover our curated list of strategies and examples for improving customer satisfaction and customer experience in your call center.
The Team at CallMiner
September 22, 2021
Keeping customers satisfied is more important to business success than ever before.
A great customer experience builds brand advocacy and fuels repeat purchases, but a bad experience can quickly accomplish the opposite. Armed with the amplifying effects of social media, dissatisfied customers can spread negative sentiment surprisingly quickly and more people are currently inclined to do so than ever.
Crafting positive customer experiences and improving customer satisfaction can help your organization navigate an increasingly interconnected market even as new trends emerge.
Conventional wisdom in business circles has long emphasized the importance of pricing in determining market outcomes. However, with the expanded reach and visibility businesses have gained access to over an evolving technological landscape, things have changed.
Today, 64% of customers consider their experience with a company to be more important than the prices of its products and services, especially when they are considering making a purchase. This effect has been magnified by the power of public perception – 86% of millennials report that negative product and service reviews would sway their purchasing decisions.
Clearly, improving customer satisfaction should rank high on any growing company's to-do list. However, this is easier said than done. To help you increase customer satisfaction more effectively, we have gathered up a few expert strategies below.
1. Leverage interaction analytics to analyze both structured and unstructured data. “Interaction analytics technology converts the content from customer interactions from – calls, chats, emails, surveys and social media – into a format that can be analyzed. Interaction analytics also captures and processes the metadata (such as the time of contact, length of call) from an interaction, and analyzes both structured and unstructured data. Content is converted instantly, which enables real-time monitoring. Supervisors don’t have to listen in on calls to monitor for non-standard activity, they can automatically receive alerts if certain words or phrases are used, or if other trigger conditions occur.” - Improve the Customer Experience with Speech Analytics, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner
2. Use surveys to learn more about your customers. "To better understand your customers’ needs, you need to listen to them. And know what your customers want. By using surveys, you can measure customer satisfaction and discover what improvements your customers request." - Nicholas Podgórski, 8 Quick Tips on How to Improve Customer Satisfaction in 2021, Survicate; Twitter: @Survicate
3. Be proactive by tracking social sentiment. "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." - How to Improve Customer Satisfaction, Salesforce; Twitter: @Salesforce
4. Speed up response times for better results. "Generally, customers leave your site if their questions or concerns are not addressed fast. The two most common customer service frustrations are: waiting for sales or support assistance and being put on hold for a long time." - Snigdha Patel, 12 Actionable Strategies to Improve Customer Satisfaction in 2021, REVE Chat; Twitter: @REVEChat
5. Build a better experience with comprehensive support documentation. "When you’re fielding support inquiries — or really, any customer touchpoint — make sure you’re writing down, categorizing, and quantifying common questions and complaints (and where they occur). This data will be your building ground for a solid help documentation plan." - Alex Birkett, Customer Satisfaction: The Ultimate Guide, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot
6. Try focus groups to get a clearer perspective on current customer satisfaction. "Focus groups offer a chance for honest responses. In writing, people tend to second-guess themselves and refine their answers, but in speech they blurt out whatever’s on their mind — and tell businesses how to ensure customer satisfaction." - Kirill Tšernov, 4 Simple Strategies to Improve Customer Satisfaction, Qminder; Twitter: @Qminder
7. Implement automation where your customers want it. "Many brands approach customer experience through the lens of what they would like their customers to do on the purchase journey, not the paths and decisions their customers are actually taking. Too often brands justify automating journey steps based on where costs can be reduced. In the end that doesn’t work. Instead, brands should apply automation like AI, chatbots and RPA at specific journey points where customers have expressed a desire for automation and/or self-service." - 5 Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction and Retention, CGS; Twitter: @cgsinc
8. Adopt a systematic, root-cause identifying approach to customer service to improve customer satisfaction. "Annual customer surveys for R. L. Polk & Co. identified opportunities for improvement in customer contact and issue resolution. By following the same steps for every issue and performing full root cause analysis for 100% of issues, Polk increased operational excellence and improved customer satisfaction." - What is Customer Satisfaction?, ASQ; Twitter: @asq
9. Optimize processes for a single, critical metric. "Choose a single metric to measure your team’s success. Then, ask yourself four questions:
- Alex McClafferty, How To Improve Customer Satisfaction And Avoid Metric Overwhelm, Forbes; Twitter: @forbes
10. Look beyond metrics to the actions that drive them. "Many businesses have metrics they rely upon to track their performance against the goals of the company and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). However, just keeping score isn't enough. You have to identify and manage the activities that drive (or contribute to) the numbers." - F. John Reh, How to Measure and Monitor Customer Satisfaction, The Balance Careers; Twitter: @thebalance
11. Pay competitors a visit for actionable intel. "Go to your customer’s physical location to see exactly how they put your products and services to use. See with your own eyes what works and what doesn’t, what gets used all the time and what gets left behind." - Ron Kaufman, 8 Ways To Improve Customer Satisfaction, Uplifting Service
12. Guide customers to the right channels so they don't feel ignored. "Much of customer satisfaction comes down to managing expectations. Businesses can do this by using clear messaging. If your Facebook page is unmonitored, add a pinned post that tells concerned customers how to reach you. You can use an automated response for your DMs as well.
“The point is to direct customers through the proper channels so that they don’t feel ignored or valued. The clearer and more concise your messaging, the less chance of miscommunication." - Renuka Shahane, How to Improve Customer Satisfaction? Amazing Tips for 2021, Scalefusion; Twitter: @scalefusion
13. Incentivize brand loyalty with perks and welcome surprises. "Who doesn’t like added benefits? Or, a special offer once in a while? Surprising your customers with a free goodie unexpectedly can go a long way in building concrete relationships.
“Sometimes, an unanticipated discount on the products your customers have been eying for some time can work. On other events, you can consider throwing in an additional accessory or a week’s worth post-purchase support for free." - Steven Scheck, 7 Effective Strategies to Increase Customer Satisfaction, Tweak Your Biz; Twitter: @TweakYourBiz
14. Base benchmarks on competitors' scores to better understand how your business stacks up. "Companies do not live in isolation and their customer satisfaction score must be related to those achieved by competitors. A company with an overall satisfaction score of 6.5 out of 10 is at face value in a very poor position but if competitors have scores of only 5.5 or 6 out of 10, its relative position may not be so bad. We need therefore to understand how the company sits in its marketplace against direct competitors and other companies that may be used as a benchmark." - Paul Hague, A Practical 4-Step Guide to Improving Customer Satisfaction, B2B International; Twitter: @B2B_Insight
15. Keep track of your business's improvement as a trend instead of just a metric. "When implementing customer feedback, many technology teams implement the one-and-done rule. That’s when they accumulate data for a specific purpose and then the information is worthless after one use. It’s a flawed method that misses the real power of any customer feedback project.
“Your aim is not only to measure customer satisfaction, but also to monitor the progress your business makes over a period of time. It’s important to focus on the trend rather than the absolute score of whichever customer satisfaction metric you use." - Simon Collin, Using technology to measure and improve customer satisfaction, Information Age; Twitter: @InformationAge
16. Leverage employee insights directly through open dialogue. "But don't just rely on customer feedback — talk to your employees as well. Your sales, marketing, and customer service teams are on the front lines, interacting with customers on a regular basis.
“They can tell you probably better than anyone — maybe even better than the customers themselves — what customers ask the most about, what they value the most, and what your company can do better." - DP Taylor, 6 Strategies to Improve the Customer Experience, Motley Fool - The Blueprint; Twitter: @themotleyfool
17. Truly involve your employees in the process of improving customer satisfaction. "First and foremost, they must understand what it is, what it means, why it’s happening, how they can be involved, and more. Involve them; train them; teach them what they need to know about your customers, the customer experience, customer expectations about the experience, and their impact on the experience." - Annette Franz, How to Improve Your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) Score, GetFeedback; Twitter: @getfeedback
18. Seize the opportunity to interact directly with dissatisfied customers. "Most unhappy customers silently stew, or worse yet, share their complaints with friends without contacting the offending company. Consumers that do express their dissatisfaction are creating an opportunity. Explained Jones, ‘customers are blown away that you actually took the time to read the survey and the fact that you followed up creates immediate promoters because it says that you care.’ Because of this, talking to dissatisfied customers has ‘become one of the most popular [CSR] jobs,’ reported Jones." - Drew Neisser, 7 Timeless Ways To Improve Customer Satisfaction, Fast Company; @FastCompany
19. Avoid telling customers "no." "Our golden rule: never say no to a customer. If a customer service rep can’t deliver a solution for the customer, they escalate this to their team lead, so strategically we can resolve the root cause.
“If we ever have to say no, it’s a ‘Disney No’; we turn a negative into a positive through freebies such as goodwill credit or free loyalty points." - 31 Quick-Fire Tips: How to Improve Customer Satisfaction, Call Centre Helper; Twitter: @callcentrehelp
20. Foster clarity and empathy among customer service reps. "When communicating with clients, employees should be aware of the key information transmitted and make sure everything is very clear. They should also observe customers’ behavior, in order to be able to identify their needs and recommend the best products and services." - Iulia Vișa, 12 ways for your company to improve customer satisfaction, Performance Magazine; Twitter: @smartKPIs
21. Manage motivation among your employees. "While striving to satisfy your customer, understand the need to keep your employees motivated. An unmotivated employee can kill your business faster than you started it. If they’re not scaring customers away with their bad attitude, they’re doing eye service, working only when you’re around." - Francis Nwokike, Best 10 Tips to Improve Customer Satisfaction, The Total Entrepreneurs; Twitter: @TTEblog
22. Share product-specific insights with the rest of your organization. "There will be times when customers are dissatisfied even when your agents did everything right. In cases where the product needs to be improved, the rest of your organization needs to know about these issues. Coincidentally, other departments in your organization crave these insights and this is a great way for customer service leaders to get a seat at the table for discussions about the customer experience." - Jeremy Watkin, 5 Practical Actions to Improve Customer Satisfaction, ICMI; Twitter: @CallCenterICMI
23. Create a team to focus on customer satisfaction issues directly. "Designate a team whose focus is on customer satisfaction. Have the team meet periodically and use real customer complaints and comments as a basis for discussion in those team meetings. This team should come up with a concrete understanding of specific problems and specific solutions that your entire business can use." - Rob Wormley, 23 Proven Ways To Boost Customer Satisfaction, When I Work; Twitter: @wheniwork
24. Address customers by name to personalize interactions. "One of the best ways to offer a more personal customer experience is using the customer’s name when talking with them – in person, over the phone, through email, or when coming up with customer surveys. A friendlier approach that doesn’t feel forced humanizes the consumer-business interaction." - Tim, 19 Great Customer Service Tips To Improve Your Customer Satisfaction, Retently; Twitter: @Retently
25. Create change from within by nurturing company culture. "When it comes to customer satisfaction, you need to start from the ground up: Your company culture and how it is lived on a day-to-day basis." - Alina, 11 Actionable Steps to Improve Customer Satisfaction, Userlike; Twitter: @userlike