Maintaining customer satisfaction is crucial for the success of any business.
The stats show that retaining customers is much more cost-effective than finding new ones — and happy customers often become devoted advocates.
For this reason, improving CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores should be a top priority for every company. But how exactly can you drive customer satisfaction in the right direction?
In our work, we have seen how brands can turn around their CSAT scores with a few key adjustments.
To help you achieve the same kind of transformation, we used our insights to create a recipe for CSAT success. Keep reading to discover the secret ingredients.
What is CSAT?
Before we dive into the action plan, it’s a good idea to understand the challenge here.
CSAT is short for customer satisfaction score. This metric helps you track how your customers feel after interacting with your business — such as making a purchase or seeking customer support.
In most industries, the average CSAT score is somewhere in the 70–80% range.
Achieving a score above 80% is obviously better than falling below this benchmark. But even if you have a healthy CSAT score, it’s worth trying to push it higher.
Why is improving customer satisfaction important for your business?
While customer satisfaction might seem like a “fluffy” topic, the truth is that CSAT scores are often closely linked to the bottom line. In fact, this metric is an excellent health indicator for your business.
Here are some of the key benefits that usually come with improved customer satisfaction scores:
Better customer loyalty
According to multiple studies, the cost of acquiring new customers is five times higher than earning sales from your existing customers.
To unlock that repeat business, you need to satisfy your clients or users. Research shows a clear link between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Push your CSAT scores upwards, and you’re more likely to have buyers coming back for more.
Increased customer lifetime value
A positive side-effect of improving customer retention is usually an increase in customer lifetime value (CLV).
This metric measures the amount of revenue you generate from each customer, on average, over the course of your business relationship.
By keeping your customers happy, you’re likely to extend these connections over a longer period. And just as importantly, you have a better chance of selling upgrades to returning buyers.
Reduced customer churn
What’s the opposite of customer loyalty? Churn.
If you can consistently meet customer expectations, you’re going to lose fewer of those customers over time. This is particularly crucial for digital businesses, where user churn is a major problem.
The 7 steps in your CSAT improvement action plan
Customer satisfaction is influenced by a range of factors — including your product and your pricing. These are fundamental pillars of your business that are difficult to change.
However, you can still improve the overall customer experience you provide by making adjustments to your support and marketing strategies.
To guide you through this process, we have created a comprehensive action plan. Here’s how to unlock better customer satisfaction in seven easy steps:
1) Measure your current CSAT and set goals
Before embarking on any major project in business, it’s always a good idea to take stock.
Sending out detailed CSAT surveys will help you to gauge the mood among your customers right now, and evaluate the performance of your customer service teams. This data will provide a reference point for any future improvements.
As such, it’s worth collecting plenty of customer feedback. Be sure to ask about every step of the customer journey, from initial contact through to after-sales support.
Along with measuring your CSAT, this data can provide insights through other metrics. If you’re not already tracking NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CES (Customer Effort Score), we highly recommend that you start doing so.
Put together, these metrics are really your key performance indicators.
2) Deliver omnichannel support
Once you have baseline numbers to work with, it’s time to start making some changes. If you don’t already offer omnichannel customer support, this should be your first priority.
You see, how you provide support is a big factor in customer satisfaction. People want to be able to get help when they need it, and through the channels that are most convenient for them.
While pushing all support requests through a single channel might seem convenient from a business perspective, you’re unlikely to deliver a great customer service experience this way.
Instead, we would recommend offering a mix of contact channels. The blend could include:
If that sounds like a headache, bear in mind that your support team can handle requests from multiple channels in real-time using software like Sendbird Desk.
This platform even allows you to set up chatbots, enabling more self-service support and reducing your response times to zero.
3) Maintain your brand voice at every touch point
When customer interactions happen across multiple channels, the overall experience can end up feeling a bit disjointed. That’s why your next action point should be setting a consistent brand voice.
Your brand voice is essentially the character of your business. It could be fun and light-hearted, or very serious and professional. But what really matters most is that you’re consistent. You want your brand to come across as likable and trustworthy, not weird and unpredictable.
To make this happen, we recommend working on three key areas:
- Communication with customers — If your contact center and marketing department can maintain a consistent tone of voice, you’re more likely to deliver the kind of reliable service that customers crave
- Design and user experience — Maintaining a consistent look across all channels will give customers more confidence in your professionalism, and help them to navigate your support systems
- Continuity in support — When someone asks for help via live chat, they shouldn’t have to repeat the whole query when they later contact you via email or social media
Getting everything perfectly lined up may take some time, but you can speed up the process by building comprehensive guidelines for tone of voice and design within your company.
4) Adopt asynchronous in-app support
If your business has a presence on mobile platforms, it’s a good idea to adopt asynchronous in-app messaging as one of your primary support channels.
Unlike live chat, asynchronous support does not require a real-time connection between the customer and your support team. Conversations continue naturally when the user has time, and when you have the bandwidth to provide assistance. When you don’t, chatbots can reduce wait times.
Asynchronous messaging is also more familiar for most people. After all, it’s the same style of communication we use every day in apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram.
Of course, you could use these third-party platforms to provide support. However, keeping users in your app allows you to maintain full control over customer data and analytics provide that continuity of service we talked about earlier.
With Sendbird Chat, you can implement asynchronous messaging via our powerful API, and customize the support experience for your customers.
5) Listen and act on customer feedback
While it’s worth taking some proactive steps to boost customer satisfaction, it’s simply not possible to reach a high CSAT score without listening to your customers and acting on what you hear.
There are many different ways to collect customer feedback — from face-to-face interviews and focus groups to digital surveys and even online review sites.
Whichever method you choose, what matters most is that you focus on the negative feedback.
Sure, some of the worst survey responses may hurt your ego. But these reviews can give you valuable insights into the mind of your unhappiest customers. If you can fix their pain points, you will be well on the way to a record CSAT score.
6) Build a support relationship recovery program
Unless your CSAT is close to perfect, you probably have a few less-than-satisfied customers. Some might have had a single bad experience; others may have felt their frustrations growing over time.
Either way, you need to win back their approval if you’re going to ramp up your customer satisfaction levels.
In our experience, the best way of achieving this is through a service recovery program. This should provide a clear action plan for re-engaging with a client when something goes wrong.
The plan should define:
- Who gets in touch with unhappy customers — It’s often a good idea to escalate issues and get a support manager involved
- How they should approach the conversation — As a general rule, you should apologize, ask questions to understand why the customer is unhappy, create an action item to fix the problem, and then follow up
- What records you keep on these events — Making a note of incidents helps you learn valuable lessons, and tracking the number of events over time helps you figure out whether you’re making progress
7) Weave customers into your culture
In order to effect any major change in business, you really need to go beyond protocols and guidelines. These are merely signposts that guide your staff along your desired path. But the direction of travel comes from your culture — both in terms of the company, and your team of individuals.
As such, the businesses that really excel in customer satisfaction tend to be those with a customer-centric mindset.
Although it’s important to keep the bottom line in sharp focus, putting an emphasis on customer needs gives you a better chance of achieving your financial goals in the long term.
In fact, looking after loyal customers and first-time buyers alike is one of the best ways to drive new growth in your existing business.
Improve customer satisfaction with Sendbird Chat API
Whether you operate in the tech space or simply want to provide a better customer experience through your digital channels, Sendbird can help.
Our Chat API helps you to implement feature-rich asynchronous messaging and support in any app, with translation and moderation built in. Deliver a consistent brand experience that immerses customers in your brand.
It’s fast, flexible, and fully configurable to your needs.