The secrets to growing customer satisfaction

Happy clients are the key to a successful business. Read on to learn the best customer satisfaction secrets to building brand loyalty.

By Chow Li Ying

Published February 19, 2016
Last updated September 23, 2020

In the Instacart and video-streaming world, customers have higher expectations than ever when it comes to the speed of business services. The difference between two-day and two-week shipping, or between instant chat options and a phone number for dispute resolutions, can be the difference between winning a customer for life and losing them for good.

It doesn’t matter if your business is small or large. Modern consumers are likely to compare your business's support and customer experience to the biggest and best competitors. To compete with mass retailers, you have to deliver like Amazon, but with all the charm of Etsy.

A deeper understanding of consumer expectations is invaluable to the long-term success of your business. In this guide, we'll show you how to increase customer satisfaction and grow brand loyalty.

Customer satisfaction definition

Customer satisfaction, also called CSAT, is a measure of how a company's products and services meet buyers' expectations. It can be either directly measured with surveys and ratings or indirectly measured by observing brand loyalty and customer retention. Both types of measurements are valuable in gauging your customers' overall experiences with your business.

Why is customer satisfaction important?

Prioritizing customer satisfaction is likely to do more than give you more happy customers. It will also positively improve your company’s reputation, ensure that your support team is performing at their best, and increase buyer retention.

1. It drives positive word-of-mouth marketing

You've probably heard that an unhappy customer tells many more people about their negative experiences than a happy customer does.

Social media makes this more true than ever before, with over 70% of adults in the United States using social media to connect and share their experiences. Today, a customer can easily share feedback with millions of people with a single click, making your interaction with them even more critical.

You’re more likely to receive positive word-of-mouth feedback if you prioritize customer satisfaction with top-of-the-line service. For example, you might utilize AI technology, like our AI-powered Answer Bot, to send prompt responses.

Our 2020 Zendesk Customer Service Trends Report found that 89% of participants said that quick responses to initial inquiries are important when deciding which company to buy from.

Our trends report also found that AI conversational agents will handle 20% of all customer service interactions by 2022.

2. It's a key indicator of your support team's performance

More than one metric makes up a comprehensive and accurate CSAT score. You have to collect information from different aspects of the business to have an accurate idea of how satisfied your customers are. Based on multiple factors, customer satisfaction rates are often a good indicator of overall company performance.

Customer satisfaction data can be collected from different areas, such as:

  • The speed of service from the support team
  • The level of efficiency when solving problems
  • The ease of use regarding the customer service platform

This information reflects how satisfied customers are with your service and which areas they are dissatisfied with.

Our built-in analytics function is a great way to observe how well your support team serves customers and to view information such as chat duration and the number of missed chats. We also offer a Chat Rating feature, which allows customers to rate each individual chat and enables businesses to find out just how happy their clients are when speaking online to a chat agent.

3. It increases customer loyalty

Satisfied customers are often on their way to becoming (or already are) loyal customers. In fact, the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report found that 57% of consumers agree that excellent customer service is a factor in their brand loyalty. Loyal customers are a business's greatest asset because it is far more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one.

How do you know if your customer service is driving brand loyalty? There are two different ways to answer this question. The first is to ask customers questions such as, "Would you speak to your friend about our brand?" and "How often do you speak to your friends about our brand?" These questions can help shed some light on their likelihood to be your brand ambassadors.

The second method is to observe customer behavior. For example, you can track repeat purchases with loyalty programs and referral posts for your business on social media. These behavioral statistics are somewhat more reliable than the first method because they can be objectively tracked. Businesses also use NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys to distinguish their customers as promoters, detractors, or passives.

How to boost customer satisfaction

The benefits of focusing on customer satisfaction are clear, but what's the best way to ensure that you're making them happy?

Here are a few ideas.

Become a student of your customers

One of the most important ways to increase customer satisfaction is to commit to learning about your audience's pain points and then alleviating them in ways that set you apart from your competitors.

A great way to do this is to use Zendesk's feedback feature to study your customers' complaints and compliments regarding your services.

How Would You Rate Support

Zendesk offers many customized feedback forms and surveys.

If you manage to win over a customer's heart in a manner that's irreplaceable elsewhere (like throwing in a free pickup for car servicing), it's more likely they'll return, even if they're offered a lower cost at a competitor's business.

It requires an initial investment, but lowering your churn rate will likely pay off in the long run.

Create a sense of familiarity

People like seeing familiar faces. In a physical store, having employees who know the customer's name and preferences differentiates that business from competitors. And when it comes to online interactions, our Customer Experience Report shows that 76% of polled customers expect a personalized experience when they visit a company site.

Being front and center in a customer's Google searches and social media feeds and being easily accessible for customer questions via your website create a feeling of familiarity. Live chat, in particular, allows businesses to create personalized experiences because different agents can read past conversations and follow up on previously unresolved issues.

Our Customer Experience report found that chat is one of the fastest-growing channels—24/7 availability is important for more than a third of respondents, and 49% highly valued being able to resolve an issue quickly, with nearly a third of consumers expecting live chat to be available when they come into contact with a brand.

Make customer satisfaction a company-wide focus

The best way to succeed in keeping loyal customers is to put time and effort into a strategy that has employees putting customers first. Using a tool like the balanced scorecard is a great first step.

Balanced Scorecard

An example of the Harvard Business Review’s balanced scorecard.

The balanced scorecard guides companies in thinking about their operations from four different perspectives:

  • Financial
  • Internal business
  • Customer
  • Innovation and learning

It helps companies consider how all of their activities are working toward the goal of customer satisfaction.

The scorecard also helps individual employees see their value and impact on the company. For example, a customer service agent’s scorecard would show how to focus on customer satisfaction while also showing how this focus affects the company’s financial goals.

When employees can see the impact of their work, and all stakeholders feel committed to a goal, customer satisfaction can be attained.

An investment in customer satisfaction is an investment in your company’s future

Today's customers have very high expectations for the companies they choose to do business with. With so much competition, your best shot at growth is committing to delivering exceptional customer experience.

Your investment in your buyers' happiness will lead to higher retention rates, stronger brand loyalty, and more opportunities for your company to flourish.