We have become a culture driven by surveys. “Would you take a moment to rate us?” “At the end of this call, would you be willing to answer a few questions about your experience?” have become common phrases in our everyday lives, whether it’s rating an app, a call with a customer service representative or a service.
Customer satisfaction surveys allow companies to get direct feedback instantly, gauge satisfaction or displeasure and measure just about every aspect of the interaction. Companies can more effectively address issues, examine processes, predict outcomes and focus on how to build better relationships with their customers.
The other side of the coin is the customer’s perspective. Because surveys are now commonplace, companies now more than ever are held accountable to specific standards. In order to stay in line with expectations, organizations must hyper-tune in to what their audience is saying via these surveys in order to stay up to speed with what their customers want.
With the prevalence of customer surveys and the resulting higher expectations, here’s a look at a few key elements that companies must keep in mind and pay keen attention to in this modern consumer-driven landscape.
Superior Product or Service
When customers purchase a product or service, they expect it to be right and work seamlessly. It’s hardly even a conscious thought–the expectation has become automatic–how quickly we as a society have become used to this standard of excellence.
This, of course, means that the bar keeps getting raised higher and higher for the companies behind these products and services, making it harder, yet increasingly important, for them to consistently delight and satisfy their target audiences. In this survey culture, customers are in the position to give direct feedback, and companies must respond accordingly. If they don’t put the tools in place to address these needs, they risk losing customers to a competitor.
While waning consumer loyalty can’t always be avoided, this all the more emphasizes the need for companies to keep their finger on the pulse of customer desires in order to focus on and deliver a quality and superior product.
Continuing Service Beyond the Sale
A key point that companies must keep top of mind is that the customer experience doesn’t end when the sale of the aforementioned products or services is complete. Companies that wish to remain healthy and profitable must pay acute attention to customer retention and the nurturing of customer relationships. This has become increasingly essential as competition stiffens and margins narrow. A recent Forbes article states that the “focus has shifted from acquisition and even retention to turning customers to brand advocates.” This can mean any number of things, but above all highlights the need for getting to know the customers intimately. It also means responding to inquiries and issues swiftly and efficiently, engaging through social media platforms and other similar methods.
Often, customers probably aren’t aware that they need that extra level of support and the feeling of a “partnership.” Companies should make it part of their continued support strategies to continually check in on customers, find creative and helpful ways to engage them and find ways to gain their trust. This can go a long way, and highlights the importance of well-thought-out and relevant surveys.
Smart companies know that their customers are more sophisticated and empowered than ever. Having superior products or services is vital, as is the focus on nurturing customer relationships. Alone, these elements are only half the story. Since companies are judged on the entire customer experience, they are implementing features and tools that support that holistic approach.
Think in terms of call centers. They are the perfect example of both the product and the service. Since the existence of call centers is primarily centered around customer service, many companies are recognizing the need to beef up their offerings and tools in order for agents to provide the best support possible. For example, many companies have implemented a callback feature so that during busy call times, rather than be put on hold, customers can hang up, have their place saved “in line,” and are called back when there is an available agent. This allows the caller to get on with their busy day in the meantime.
This heightened attention at the source of most customer service interactions means better results company-wide. All of these elements combined feed directly into customer happiness and loyalty long-term.
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