Build Your Action Plan for Improved Customer Satisfaction

min read
Build Your Action Plan for Improved Customer Satisfaction

In our hyperconnected world, you can't count on brand loyalty to make up for poor customer experiences. Every one of your customers is a click away from switching to your competition, and they're more willing than ever to jump ship if you do them wrong. In fact, 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor customer service.

Think about what you did the last time you had a bad experience with a company. It might have been a confusing website where you could find everything but what you needed. Maybe you had to sit on hold for 30 minutes because of “unexpectedly high call volumes,” which they had to expect because they had a freaking message about it. Whatever it was, it’s impossible not to wonder why they were making it so hard for you to give them money. And if you didn’t end up spending your money somewhere else, you probably handed it over begrudgingly — and won’t likely return.

If you don’t provide great experiences to your customers, they’ll find someone else who will. This will cost you big-time in the long run — it’s anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Read on to learn the main benefits of improving customer satisfaction and how you can create an action plan to get started today.

What Are the Main Benefits of Improving Customer Satisfaction?

1. Customer Loyalty: Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers, meaning they're more likely to repeat business with your company and recommend your products or services to others. This can lead to significant revenue growth over time, increase repeat business, boost word-of-mouth marketing, reduce customer churn, and even increase customer lifetime value 

2. Higher Sales Revenue: As mentioned above, satisfied customers are more likely to repeat business with your company and spend more money overall. This is because they have a positive experience with your brand and trust you to deliver on your promises.  

3. Reduced Customer Churn: Customer churn is the rate at which customers stop doing business with your company. It's an expensive problem for businesses of all sizes, as it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Improving customer satisfaction can help reduce customer churn by building customer loyalty and trust. When customers are satisfied with your products or services, they're less likely to switch to a competitor.  

4. Better Brand Reputation When customers are satisfied with your business, they're more likely to leave positive reviews and recommendations. This can help to improve your brand reputation and attract new customers which increases brand awareness, improves brand trust, and boosts your competitive advantage.

5. Increased Employee Productivity & Morale: When employees know that they're working to satisfy customers, they're more likely to be motivated and productive. This is because they feel like their work is meaningful and that they're making a difference. Improving employee morale also means reducing absenteeism and creating a more positive work environment.

6. Stronger Customer Advocacy: Customer advocates are customers who go above and beyond to promote your brand to their friends, family, and colleagues. They're the ones who write positive reviews, share your content on social media, and refer new customers to your business. Satisfied customers are more likely to become customer advocates and this is because they're happy with their experience, and want to share it with others. What’s the payoff? Free word-of-mouth marketing, new customers, increased brand awareness, and hopefully a boost in sales!

7. Competitive Advantage: In today's saturated marketplace, customer satisfaction is more important than ever before. By improving customer satisfaction, you can gain a competitive advantage. This allows your company to stand out from the competition, attract and retain customers, increase market share, and boost your profitability. 

Your Step-by-Step Action Plan for Improving Customer Satisfaction

Step 1: Nurture a Positive Company Culture

Customer satisfaction starts with employee satisfaction — if you’re creating a culture where employees can thrive, they’re more likely to go the extra mile for the customers they serve. If you’re not investing in your employees, they’ll be less inspired to go above and beyond and provide a personal touch for customers.

Boost employee satisfaction

What motivates employees? I’m sure you’ve heard how tech companies have tried to boost morale: juice bars, complimentary massages, beer on tap, nap rooms, and even surf breaks. Some employees respond well to these gimmicky perks — but others may only care about fundamental benefits like 401k matching, quality healthcare coverage, and career development opportunities. It’s important to get continuous feedback from your team to learn what kinds of perks and benefits appeal to them. You should also survey the market to ensure their compensation is competitive. If their needs are taken care of, they’ll be eager to serve your customers.

Empower your contact center agents

Beyond perks and benefits, your action plan to improve customer satisfaction should include an audit of your technology stack. You need to ensure that your support team has all the tools and automation it needs to create great customer experiences

For many businesses, contact center agents are the frontline and primary point of contact for consumers. With solutions like Invoca for Sales, your contact center team can take a data-driven approach to this critical touchpoint. With artificial intelligence, you can quantify how well your agents are performing on each call — for instance, you can see if they’re greeting callers properly, mentioning your latest promotions, asking to set an appointment, closing the deal, and much more. 

Sample Invoca sales agent performance scorecard
Sample Invoca sales agent performance scorecard

You can use these insights to coach your agents so they can improve their performance. More importantly, the agents themselves can access their own transcripts and call scores, so they can independently work on improving their performance. This will empower your team to better meet your customers’ needs and improve satisfaction.

Step 2: Proactively Anticipate Customer Needs

It’s not enough to react to your customers’ needs — you must predict them and cater to them proactively. With all the customer data that companies are collecting, people have come to expect some level of personalization or convenience in return. 

There are a lot of examples of this you’re probably familiar with, like Netflix providing personalized recommendations based on shows you’ve watched or car insurance companies using your driving data to give you a customized rate. In addition, companies like Sprint use personalization to reduce customer churn. With artificial intelligence, they can analyze customer interactions and identify those at risk of canceling their service. They then reach out with discount codes to entice those customers to renew their contracts. 

Offer high-quality self-help options

Don’t overlook the needs of customers who prefer to use self-help options online, rather than engaging with a contact center agent or shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. You should remove all barriers to purchase from the website experience so that these customers have all the information they need to make a purchase online. This will not only improve their satisfaction, but it will also stop them from tying up your sales contact center with service calls.

Just as you should take a data-driven approach to the contact center experience, you should also use data to continually optimize the self-service experience on your website. By pairing conversation intelligence with website journey mapping solutions like FullStory, you can identify web pages that are driving service calls and make updates to address those questions proactively. 

For example, if you’re a car dealership and you notice your “Book a Test Drive” page is driving a lot of calls asking about your COVID-19 safeguards, you should provide that information on the page to reduce those unnecessary calls.

Step 3: Measure Customer Satisfaction Regularly

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. If you want happy customers, you need to have metrics in place to quantify and improve customer satisfaction. Today’s customer journey is omnichannel and your metrics should be too. Part of your action plan should include measuring every customer touchpoint, from website interactions to phone calls to offline interactions.

Reduce customer service response times 

If your customers feel like you don’t value their time, they’ll take their business elsewhere. That’s why one of the most important customer experience metrics to measure and improve is response time.

To improve customer response time, you don’t always need to hire more staff. Sometimes, you just need to be more efficient with the staff you have — automation is your friend here. 

With conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca, contact centers can route calls in real time based on the first-party intent data captured during a consumer’s digital journey — things like Google search keywords, website clickstream data, and unique digital identifiers. This reduces transfers and ensures callers are immediately routed to the best agent to serve their needs. Watch this video to see how it works.

Centralize your customer experience data

According to a recent survey, nearly a third of customer experience experts face challenges with siloed customer data. This makes it difficult for them to understand full journeys as their customers move across channels, and to create cohesive experiences. Your action plan to improve customer satisfaction should include some type of data centralization so you can measure and improve the end-to-end customer experience.

Conversation intelligence tools like Invoca solve this challenge. They capture rich customer data from an often-overlooked channel — phone conversations. These insights include: who the caller was, their product or service interests, the questions they asked, any customer experience issues they faced, and if they made a purchase. You can then activate this data in whatever platform you use to measure and optimize the customer experience, whether it’s Google Analytics, Salesforce, Adobe Experience Cloud, or virtually any platform you can think of.

Choose the right metrics to measure customer satisfaction

To select the best metric for assessing customer satisfaction in your contact center, it's essential to align with your business goals. In general, prioritizing metrics that directly gauge the customer experience, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), yields a more accurate reflection of customer contentment since they rely on direct feedback. NPS gauges customer loyalty and their likelihood to recommend your company, while CSAT measures satisfaction with specific interactions. Customer Effort Score (CES) evaluates the ease of doing business with your company.

Keep in mind that efficiency-focused metrics like call handle time or average speed of answer can be misleading, as overemphasis on efficiency may lead to rushed customer interactions and negative experiences. By focusing on metrics like NPS and CSAT, contact centers gain insights into customer satisfaction and can make necessary improvements, as they directly measure the quality of interactions. Quantity does not equal quality, and efficiency metrics may improve call handling speed but fail to guarantee a white-glove experience for customers.

Step 4: Listen to and Understand Your Customers

The brands with the best service are constantly gathering customer feedback. This feedback can come in the form of data, including previous purchases, website interactions, customer reviews, support communities, and conversation intelligence insights from phone calls. If you’d like to get more granular, you can also use surveys and net promoter scores to gather additional insights and specifics. The more data you have at your fingertips, the better you can understand your customers and exceed their expectations.

Identify your customers’ favorite contact channels

Different products and services can merit wildly different customer journeys. For example, think about the way you buy a Milky Way bar. There is no research phase, there is only a split-second buying decision at the supermarket cash register. Your thought process goes something like, “umm, caramel.” Life insurance, on the other hand, is a carefully researched purchase that you may mull over for weeks, as you read articles, request quotes, compare coverage, and call agents to get your questions answered. And, after you buy, you may even have post-purchase questions that need answers.  

Your job is to understand how your customers want to engage with you at each stage of the buying and post-purchase journey. Invoca can help you determine this by analyzing the calls customers are placing from your website. You can see which of your pages are generating quality sales calls, versus which are generating customer experience issue calls. You can then make changes to those pages so that customers are calling you at the right time — when they want to, versus when they’re forced to. 

Going back to the life insurance example, if a lot of customers are calling you from your “Request a Quote” page with questions about bundle pricing, you should add a bundling option to your quote calculator, so that they can get this information online if they choose.

Build strong communities

When customers experience an issue with your product or service, their first instinct may not be to call a customer service representative. Some may Google their problem and look for answers there. Companies with high customer satisfaction scores understand this and they take the time to create support communities online with answers to FAQs, troubleshooting, and walkthroughs. This is a win-win — it allows customers to quickly find help online if they choose and it frees up your phone lines.

Act on negative reviews and customer complaints

When customers have a negative experience with your brand, it’s often only a matter of time before that turns into a negative review. This can be devastating to your brand, since 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.

To reduce resident turnover and mitigate negative reviews during the COVID-19 crisis, Spectrum Retirement Communities used Invoca’s conversation intelligence solution. They set up phrase spotting that detected inbound calls mentioning “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” and similar terms. They then went through these calls to understand family members’ concerns, and address them with updated messaging and policies. As a result, they saw 20% lower resident turnover during the last six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

However, no solution can protect 100% against negative reviews — in the event a negative review is posted or a complaint is lodged on social media, you should respond to it honestly and transparently. You should then fix the complaint for that customer and ensure it doesn’t happen to future customers.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you improve customer satisfaction? Check out these resources:

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