Customer satisfaction is very important - you shouldn't need us to tell you that!
Research has shown that higher levels of customer satisfaction yield better performance and higher market share.
Furthermore, the companies with the highest levels of customer satisfaction have better loyalty and trust, and receive better recommendations.
We can all improve our customer satisfaction levels, but designing our customer service processes to best suit the market can be difficult.
For this article, we've scoured the Institute of Customer Service's UK Customer Satisfaction Index to find three important facts that might help you in creating a better customer service experience.
1. Customer priorities have changed
As markets change and technologies develop, the things that customers look for from a service are also changing.
One of the biggest priorities for customers in the UK is now employee attitude and behaviour.
Customer don't like to see employees being rude or unhelpful. Retail customers like seeing employees looking busy and productive - not standing on the shop floor staring at a phone.
This applies to remote service too: live chat conversations convey a certain attitude, as do phone calls. Make sure your staff are positive and pro-active.
It's not only the support staff who need to be on the ball. The people who actually design, manufacture, and maintain your product are responsible for customer satisfaction.
Another of the three highest priorities is product reliability. Customers are unsatisfied by poorly supported products or services, or products and services which frequently break or stop working properly.
Another high priority is complaint handling. Customers need to know that if they do have a problem, they can have it sorted professionally, and with as little stress on themselves as possible.
Customers who have to put in a lot of work to get a problem solved are more likely to be dissatisfied.
2. Multi-channel communication is being increasingly expected
Communicating effectively with your customers is incredibly important, particularly for businesses who provide support remotely.
The three most popular customer communication methods in the UK are in-person interaction, websites, and phone calls. However, it was also found that customers are increasingly looking for multiple ways to communicate with companies.
There is a caveat here: customers who use three or more methods of interaction with a company are the most likely to be dissatisfied.
The reasons for this are unclear, but it could be related to the problem not being solved quickly enough, therefore warranting badgering from the customer across multiple platforms in the hope that the company will respond.
The lesson here is to ensure you provide multiple ways for your customers to reach you, but (crucially) make sure you are equipped to engage with them via whichever method they choose.
Customers don't want to have to chase you to get your attention.
3. The retail sectors are seeing the highest customer satisfaction
As a SaaS company, we deliver 99.9% of our customer support via live chat or over the phone. This is the best we can realistically do, given our customers are scattered across the globe.
Conversely, retail stores have the bonus of physical locations where customers can go to get help. It's much easier to be in a room with somebody when you need a problem solved, but we don't usually have that luxury.
This means that you should endeavour to make your remote interactions as close to an in-person interaction as possible.
You can do this with approaches such as screen-sharing and being instantly available using live chat. In fact, I've previously written about three great tools which we use to try and deliver the best customer service from a remote location, if you'd like some pointers.
As I've said, the market is constantly changing. Keep an eye on industry trends and research to try and inform your decisions when designing your customer service experience. You should find that having better-satisfied customers will reward your company in more ways than one...