Measuring the satisfaction of your customers is tricky business because, for the most part, they are not going to come right out and tell you. However, there are several ways that you can employ to gauge their satisfaction, and address any problems that may have arisen. One of the most valuable resource a business can have is conducting surveys and is, in fact, one of the very few ways to effectively collect customer satisfaction. While you most likely already knew that, are you using all of the metrics available to you?
More often than not, businesses continue to measure customer satisfaction using wrong or insufficient metrics. Measuring the right customer satisfaction metrics, on the other hand, can help you promptly know how you’re doing, about your customers’ satisfaction, expectations and needs. This is your cheat sheet for the right metrics you can, and perhaps should, apply.
Rate of Return
The customer rate of return is one of the easiest seen metrics a business can use. In small startups and large companies, the more a customer returns, the strong the loyalty is considered to be. From a business standpoint, you need to treat each new customers like a first date – if you impress them, they will build a relationship with you. As the customer builds that bond, they will tell their friends and your business will grow through word of mouth, which indeed is one of the best forms of advertising and one that can aid any business greatly. However, that same aspect can work against you if they had a negative experience; for this reason other metrics will help you learn more about your customers.
NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, which focuses on a single question “How Likely Are You to Recommend This Product/Service to Friends or Family?” This question is crucial as it helps businesses to gauge what customers are likely to come back. Questions that typically follow will help hone in on what specific ally made the experience so great or horrible. While the NPS is great for gauging who will become a return customer, you need to be able to measure what influenced them to come back!
Meeting your customers’ expectations is the main goal of a business. What is crucial to meeting these expectations, is simply asking “Did you find everything okay,” sounds like a line you hear just about everywhere. There are statistics on that line, that is why it is so popular. Making a customer feel as though you care about their experience strengthens their brand loyalty, but also helps the business realize where a niche may be missed. In large companies, there are many services that are covered, but not everyone needs them. If you can offer “niche products” a customer is more likely to find what they need. Offering a balance of products, having a clean facility, maintained equipment, and an outstanding team is all a part of meeting customer expectations.
The final metric that is important you look at is the overall customer satisfaction your company holds. While places of business would like nothing more than to keep customers satisfied 100% of the time, all the time, it is not a realistic right off the bat. While keeping your customers happy with your brand or product is crucial to staying above water, progress is more important. If you have a poor score when you first start out, but after some changes, your score rises, then you are making good progress.
What Works For You?
Understanding customer feedback, or how it is gained has no specific formula. What works for one person may not be totally applicable to another. However, everyone can learn a few tips and tricks, no matter how long you have been established. It is ideal to build your surveys and feedback forms to help you capture the metrics we described above. They are sure to give you an insight into your customers’ satisfaction levels, their loyalty and recognize issues. After all, customers’ satisfaction is paramount and measuring it right is half the job done, and done well.
One of the most prevalent misconceptions in today’s business environment is the idea that a repeat customer implies customer loyalty. Business owners and managers like to believe that a customer who brings business again and again is a loyal patron of the establishment. While this may not be far from the truth, there is a subtle difference between a ‘loyal customer‘ and a ‘repeat customer‘.
What makes customers loyal?
Let us see the various reasons why a customer may be choosing to do business with you repeatedly:
- It takes a lot of effort to go elsewhere
- You have achieved cost leadership in your segment
- Old habits die hard
- They may have developed bonds with your employees (rather than your business)
- They are keeping you as a ‘safety back-up’ while actively searching for alternatives
In each of these cases, a competitor can swoop in and win away your customer by attractive discounts, aggressive campaigning or simply upgrading their service offering. It turns out that loyalty is above repeat customers.
Customer loyalty may be loosely defined as a strong belief in your customers that your organization’s product or service is their best available option, maximizing their value appeal. Loyalty is expressed by customers when they stand by your business through thick and thin, when they are not seeking out competitors, and if approached by them, ignore them. They will spend extra time and effort to approach your establishment.
How can you build more customer loyalty?
To sum up, customer loyalty is much more than repeat customers, and it goes a long way in building your brand. Here is how you can build loyalty among your customers:
- Reward your customers for choosing you over competitors.
- Treating your employees well – it is said that employees are the first customers of any company. The surest way for you to induce a sense of customer service in your employees would be to treat your staff just as you would like your staff to treat your customers.
- Maintaining accounts of your repeat customers and keeping track of repeat customers preferences and dislikes.
- Keeping in touch with your customer base over the Internet – advertising all major events on social media, and a personal email on birthdays and anniversaries.
Easier said than done! Any business operating in the service industry would probably already be doing, or have a plan in place to start doing each of these tasks to strengthen their customer base. The important question that remains then is – how to measure what impact has it created?
Measure Customer Loyalty
Quantifying customer loyalty however, can get tricky. There is hardly anything to be gleaned by asking your customers directly if they are loyal to you, as customers may easily report being loyal to several businesses simultaneously! To measure customer loyalty, we need answers to questions that address the behaviors and attitudes of truly loyal customers:
- Likelihood of recommending your company to other people.
- Likelihood of continuing purchase of products and services from your company, equal to or more than the current quantity.
- Believing that your products or services are the best in the market at the current price level.
- Opinion formed of staff members who directly interact with and deliver service to them.
- Ease of giving honest feedback to your company to help overcome any shortcomings in service quality.
These are few of the questions that can help a business determine which of their customers are strongly attached to the brand, while which are most vulnerable to leaving for a competitor at the first notice.
Measuring loyalty is just a piece of the puzzle. The other part is to figure out why few customers are loyal, few are vulnerable and several lie between the two extremes – let’s call them neutral. And since the best information is always the one that is obtained from the source itself, businesses should invest in developing systems that enable them to collect feedback from their customers about their service level, areas of improvement and any gap between their expectation and actual delivery.
So, are you doing your bit to figure out your customer loyalty?