Let’s renew the joy! 5 tips on how to optimize customer satisfaction
Uber, Netflix, Airbnb... these on-demand champions, known for upsetting the established business models in their respective sectors, have also helped to redefine the rules of customer satisfaction.
Take the examples of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Frichti: what we believed was a good experience five years ago – to have a warm margherita delivered to our door in 45 minutes – is today viewed as a little disappointing. Through simplifying the ordering process, providing a wider menu, and having exceptional customer follow-up, these services have completed the satisfaction circle to such an extent that our overall expectation has permanently risen to a higher level.
Companies like these impose new standards of experience that create great satisfaction because their focus is squarely on customer needs. By studying and analyzing these standards, we can learn to optimize customer satisfaction and apply the principles to our own activities.
However, these projects can be complex because, often, the entire service paradigm needs to be redesigned. Satisfaction is resolutely business-critical because it helps to strengthen the brand image and assists in the acquisition of new customers and the retention of existing ones. Customer experience and satisfaction measurement should be a champion of corporate culture and no longer limited to a simple KPI.
1. Identify key drivers of satisfaction
What defines a satisfied customer in your business? What are the moments of the experience that generate satisfaction, and what are the themes that lead to dissatisfaction? These are the fundamental questions to explore and analyze in relation to indicators of satisfaction measurement coupled with user studies.
Next, take the time to clarify the perception of your customers’ experiences and their level of satisfaction, through asking the following questions: • Am I fulfilling the contract of my service promise? Am I asking too much of my user? • Have I considered all of her expectations? On which should I focus? Which ones have a significant impact on her overall satisfaction? • What added value can I offer my client? • What emotions do I want to trigger during her experience? • Does the experience I want to bring to my users reflect the values of my brand? • Are my satisfaction indicators aligned with my business convictions? The answers to these questions will make it possible to prioritise the aims and identify specific deliverables to work on.
For one of our customers, a leading telecom in France, we revaluated the home moving experience (something most people consider a very stressful event in life). We started by focusing on the key expectations of the customer:
• Speed of service transfer • No loss of use between the two dwellings • Personalized file tracking
By doing this we were able to more tightly define the concept of satisfaction around the support of the client during this transition, which resulted in the company being able to better target their service efforts.
2. Make satisfaction your guiding light
Recruit new customers or build loyalty? Focus on premiumization or make your brand accessible to everyone? Differentiate or adopt standards?
Your goals, in terms of satisfaction level, will define and prioritise actions to take. It is at this point that the satisfaction exceeds the notion of KPI: it becomes a guiding light that will illuminate and direct your service strategy.
Staying with our telecoms example, let's move on to an equally vital area – the battle for loyalty within the telecom sector, or customer retention. You need to go beyond offering a ‘satisfactory’ experience in this context. Ultimately, it should be about showing the ability of the company to support the customer during a potentially stressful moment of life. The satisfaction becomes an engine of trust which will transfer into loyalty.
3. Data’s great, but cross-check with customer feedback
So, how do you really know if your customer is satisfied? Here again, everything will depend on what fuels your guiding light. Several indicators can be used to measure your objectives:
- NPS (Net Promoter Score) – for the recommendation.
- CSAT (SATisfaction Customer Score) – for the overall experience.
- CES (Customer Effort Score) – for the level of effort required from the user.
These indicators can also be crossed and weighted to refine your analysis. The main thing is to choose indicators as soon as you define the scope of satisfaction, as well as its objectives, and then to measure the score of reference. This will allow you to take the temperature of the satisfaction regularly to see it evolve.
On the other hand, we can only stick to the score. These clues must be confronted with real feedback from your users, in order to make sense of your data, to enrich and continuously question your parameters. It is therefore necessary to combine quantitative studies and the analysis of satisfaction indicators with qualitative sources: client verbatim, listening to customer conversations, interviews etc.
4. Be flexible in your approach
Improving customer satisfaction requires expertise and time. It is indeed about meeting the best conditions: involve a multidisciplinary team (study manager, course manager, customer service expert) with a thorough knowledge of the business. Give priority to an agile work method, based on quick loops of tests and adjustment of the levers of improvement of the experience.
The implementation of agile frameworks is essential when it comes to working on a specific path, to deliver satisfaction on short cycles. This approach can be automated and deployed on a larger scale to increase the impact of overall satisfaction. This method was also tested and approved as part of our relocation project as it allowed us to reach our satisfaction goals quickly. The results encouraged our client to use the same structure on other user paths.
5. And finally... look at the bigger picture
The quest for customer satisfaction is a must for any company that wants to differentiate itself today. Something which can only be achieved with enough resources and time to understand your customers and to be constantly listening to them to offer an experience that’s always in line with expectations.
This goes through a fine interpretation of the points of satisfaction micros as well as the taking into account the experience in its entirety. We can zoom in and out, to concentrate on a particular moment, to quickly test and adjust the levers of satisfaction improvement. But we must never lose sight of the complete experience: the sum of tests conducted on these ‘moments’ to give a true reflection of the end-to-end experience.
After all, your customer lives the experience in its entirety, and that is how she will judge it.
Finally, keep in mind that customers are evolving – and their expectations will change over time. Consider keeping your perimeter elastic to take into account these new expectations.