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How to improve customer satisfaction

Last updated

21 March 2024


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

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Ready to know what makes your customers tick and tailor your strategies to meet their needs and preferences? Let's dive into what makes them smile and keep returning for more. 

What is customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is a term that describes the customer's overall experience with your brand and the products or services you offer. 

Customer satisfaction is more expansive than how customers feel about whether your product or service fits their needs or solves their problems. 

How they think about the purchasing process, the steps they are confronted with after they purchase a product, and the responsiveness of your customer service when issues arise all contribute to customer satisfaction.    

The importance of customer satisfaction

Cultivating a high satisfaction rate among your customers results in long-term business benefits and growth. Some measurable benefits of improving your customer satisfaction levels include:

Greater retention and revenue: One of TopTal’s finance experts, Josh Chapman, asserts that focusing on retaining customers can increase revenue by as much as 80%+.

Reduced acquisition costs: “It’s five to six times more expensive to find a new client than it is to reactivate an old client,” John Addessi, business advisor, recently told Amex’s Business Class. The conversion experts at Invesp also point out the cost-effectiveness of keeping satisfied customers—estimating that investing in new customers is between 5 to 25 times more costly than retaining existing ones.

Higher customer lifetime value (CLV): Lifetime value measures the total earnings you might predict from clients as they maintain a relationship with your company. HubSpot research indicates that 68% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand that offers good experiences.

Stronger brand reputation and referrals: Customers who rate your service as “good” (or better) heavily impact reputation and recommendations—they’re 38% more likely to recommend your brand, according to Qualtrics XM Institute research. 

How do you define customer satisfaction?

First, it's crucial to understand and align with customer expectations. You can achieve this by regularly collecting feedback from surveys and reviews and engaging in direct communication.

Analyzing customer preferences, needs, and pain points can help you tailor your products or services to meet their demands. 

You can quantify satisfaction levels through key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer retention rates

Staying current with market trends, technological advancements, and competitors is essential to anticipate evolving customer preferences. 

Fostering a customer-centric culture within the organization and continuously adapting strategies to ensure customer delight and loyalty is the key to a comprehensive understanding of customer satisfaction.

The key drivers of customer satisfaction

After identifying the customer satisfaction experiences that matter most to your target audience, you must prioritize to meet their expectations efficiently.

For instance, some critical drivers you need to meet are usability, safety, and compliance fundamentals. 

On the other hand, some customers might be more interested in performance drivers such as quality, price, reliability, convenience, or service, which can increase or decrease satisfaction levels based on how you deliver them. 

Moreover, there are delight drivers that satisfy, surprise, and amaze customers. These can include unexpected innovations, attention to personalization, and rewards.

What causes low customer satisfaction?

Examples of not meeting standards can include:

  • Product safety issues

  • Poor product quality

  • Service inefficiencies

  • Communication gaps

  • Extensive wait times

  • Pricing inconsistencies

  • Limited product availability

Customer satisfaction depends on all departments of a business working together efficiently and productively. 

A lack of communication between departments (or departments with inefficient processes) can cause failure to meet customer expectations.

What customer expectations research reveals:

According to survey findings from the customer service platform Gladly, the top three service frustrations include

1. Repeated issue explanation

2. Ticket or order number requirement

3. Lack of order history knowledge

12 ways to increase customer satisfaction:

1.  Conduct market research:

With the help of various sources and techniques, you can identify your target audience's specific requirements, desires, and expectations and work towards meeting them effectively.

These may include:

Surveys and interviews ask your target audience directly what they expect from your business regarding customer satisfaction. 

Your product reviews (or those of your competitors) are also excellent sources for learning how customers perceive their experiences with the product, purchasing unboxing, and how effectively issues, concerns, or questions get addressed.

In addition to researching competitor reviews, you can identify competitors' strengths and weaknesses regarding customer satisfaction through competitor analysis

Analyzing their sales, pricing, content, shipping, and discounts/promotions will help you learn whether these strategies contribute to a positive or negative customer experience. 

Customer behavior and analytic tools will help identify the common issues customers face when purchasing your product or service or interacting with your business. Learning this information allows you to resolve the factors causing the problems. 

2.  Create a customer-centric culture:

Once you've done the research that helps you understand your customers, you can design business operations that revolve around them. 

From the sales processes to how your customer service team performs, you should always manage these processes with the customer in mind:


  • Align hiring practices: One of the ways to achieve a customer-centric culture is to hire employees who are aligned with customer-centric thinking. They will be the ones that shape many of the experiences that the customers have with your business, brand, and products and services. 

Culture integration

  • Define core values: Establish and integrate core values emphasizing customer satisfaction into the company culture.

  • Communicate expectations: Ensure all employees understand the importance of prioritizing customer needs and expectations.

  • Implement training: Provide training programs that emphasize customer-centric behaviors and approaches.

Employee recognition and rewards

  • Acknowledge positive behaviors: Recognize and reward employees for positive customer-centric behaviors. 

Feedback and performance metrics

  • Use feedback loops: Establish mechanisms for collecting and acting on customer feedback, integrating it into employee performance assessments.

  • Customer stories: Share real customer stories to illustrate the impact of employee actions on customer satisfaction.

  • Performance metrics: Use performance metrics to quantify the influence of employee behaviors on customer outcomes.

Continuous Improvement

  • Encourage feedback culture: Foster an environment where employees feel empowered to provide feedback and suggestions for improving customer experiences.

  • Iterative improvement: Continuously refine processes and practices based on customer feedback to enhance the customer-centric culture.

3.  Clearly explain your role in helping customers succeed:

To stand out from the competition, you must provide a clear and compelling reason customers should choose your brand over others, highlighting your product or service's unique features and benefits while addressing any concerns or objections. You can build trust and loyalty that will keep them returning by demonstrating your commitment to helping customers achieve their goals and solve their problems.

Moreover, it's crucial to communicate how your brand can assist them in getting the maximum benefit and utility from their purchase—this may include providing exceptional service, personalized recommendations, advice, or helpful resources and tools to enhance the overall experience. 

4.  Address grievances quickly and respond to customer reviews: 

Whether reviews are good or bad, respond to them. Responding to bad reviews indicates that you care and take every issue seriously. If you receive unfavorable feedback, contact the customer to learn more about what happened. You might also explain how you intend to resolve the problem so that, in the future, no one else should encounter the same issue. 

Responding to good reviews continues an ongoing relationship with happy customers, even after a purchase, reminding them of who you are and how glad you are that they were pleased with your service.

5.  Practice active listening:

Active listening requires your full attention to what your customers are saying while you absorb and retain critical information that will help meet their needs. 

Active listening is necessary in all parts of the customer's journey, whether during sales or customer service. When your customers feel heard, this creates a genuine connection between the active listener and the customer, positively impacting the overall relationship with the business.

6.  Lead with empathy by putting yourself in the customer's shoes:

Empathy involves stepping into the customer's shoes. By empathizing with their experiences, you can enhance customer satisfaction. Considering how you prefer to be treated as a consumer helps refine the overall customer experience. Ultimately, prioritizing empathy ensures that customers receive service that meets their expectations, mirroring your desired satisfaction in their position.

7.  Offer omnichannel, proactive, and self-service options:

Providing multiple channels for customers to access advice, support, or resolutions along their journey is a way to provide seamless self-service that customers appreciate. 

Providing various customer service channels, such as social media, call centers, webchats, messaging, and email, can enable customers to answer their questions or resolve issues efficiently and quickly. This can lead to quicker purchasing decisions and effective customer service efforts, resulting in satisfied customers.

8.  Personalize your customer service

Elevate customer satisfaction by embracing a personalized service approach. Thoroughly understand individual preferences and purchasing behaviors by tracking customer habits

Leverage this insightful data to tailor each customer's experience, offering personalized perks, freebies, and a genuine connection. This customized touch resonates with customers, making them feel valued and understood—it goes beyond transactional interactions, fostering brand loyalty through a deepened customer-company relationship. 

Recognizing and catering to individual needs can create an environment where customers are more likely to return for specific rewards and a personalized, gratifying experience.

9.  Create customer loyalty programs:

One effective strategy to boost customer loyalty towards your brand is implementing a rewards program that incentivizes frequent purchases. 

Customers can earn rewards based on their accumulated points and rank within the program or by paying a one-time or recurring fee. Instead of offering rewards, some loyalty programs donate a percentage of the customer's sales profits to a charity they choose. 

10.  Give your support teams everything they need to succeed:

For a support team to succeed, they need the right technology and resources to serve customers at the highest level. 

For example, a help desk ticketing system can efficiently centralize, assign, and track customer inquiries for immediate attention. 

Knowledge-based software will provide customers with self-service capabilities by making available FAQs, videos, and tutorials. 

For further support team assistance, live chat software will offer real-time communication that improves customer engagement and satisfaction. 

11.  Measure customer satisfaction regularly:

Just as it's essential to understand your customers through research, it's equally important to keep up-to-date on how your company performs regarding customer satisfaction. 

You can achieve this by providing customer satisfaction surveys and reviewing the metrics they reveal. 

Depending on the answers you're looking for, the customer satisfaction measurements that you might leverage one or all of the following:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used customer satisfaction and loyalty metric. It revolves around a simple question: "How likely are you to recommend our product/service to others?" Respondents provide scores on a scale from 0 to 10. Those who give high scores (9-10) are considered promoters, indicating satisfaction and advocacy. Detractors (scores 0-6) signify dissatisfaction. Subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters yields the NPS. A higher NPS suggests a positive customer sentiment. It's a straightforward yet effective tool for businesses to measure and enhance customer loyalty.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) assesses customer satisfaction with a specific product, service, or interaction. Typically, it involves asking, "How satisfied are you with our product/service?" Respondents express their satisfaction on a numerical scale ranging from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. The aggregate score provides a snapshot of overall contentment. Higher CSAT scores indicate higher satisfaction, while lower scores may indicate areas requiring improvement. CSAT is a valuable tool for tracking customer satisfaction trends over time and making informed decisions to enhance the customer experience.

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that evaluates how readily customers can accomplish a specific task or goal when interacting with a company. It typically involves asking customers how easy or difficult it was to complete a particular action, such as resolving an issue or purchasing. Respondents usually provide feedback on a scale ranging from "very easy" to "very difficult." Lower scores indicate a higher level of effort required, while higher scores suggest a seamless and effortless experience. CES is instrumental in businesses identifying pain points in the customer journey and streamlining processes to minimize customer effort, ultimately fostering satisfaction and loyalty.

12.  Encourage and carefully consider customer feedback:

Surveys are an excellent way to gather quantitative data to measure customer satisfaction. However, it's crucial also to collect qualitative data through customer feedback. 

Quantitative data provides limited knowledge about customer behavior by only indicating how many, how much, or how often something happened. 

Qualitative data helps business owners understand the "why," "how," or "what" behind specific customer behaviors. 

Gathering customer feedback through social media, more detailed surveys and polls, interviews, or reviews can provide valuable information about your customers' needs, identify opportunities for improvement, and enhance customer satisfaction in the long term.

Prioritizing customer satisfaction

To achieve sustained business success, you must prioritize customer satisfaction, something you can accomplish by implementing various strategies such as conducting thorough market research, fostering a customer-centric culture, and providing personalized service. These measures can enhance the customer experience and lead to achieving broader business objectives like attracting and retaining customers, expanding your market share, and entering new markets.

It is crucial to address customer feedback actively, regularly measure satisfaction, and interact with empathy to create a positive cycle. Customers are more likely to be loyal when satisfied, which can contribute to ongoing revenue generation and business growth through repeat purchases and referrals.

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