Customer satisfaction has been a key focus for many companies over the last few years. It is one of the most widely used marketing metrics and usually involves asking a customer for a satisfaction rating after they have completed a transaction or had a conversation with a brand. This kind of feedback is important, but it is vital to remember that it isn’t a complete overview of how consumers feel about your business. Customer satisfaction is just a snapshot in time, revealing how an individual feels towards your company at that given moment.
There are certain situations where customer satisfaction is simply not enough. Brands need to be asking in-depth customer feedback questions and looking closely at a range of metrics to gauge how consumers are feeling. Just because a customer is satisfied at one moment, does not guarantee that they are going to be loyal to your brand in the future, or return to your business time and time again. There are plenty of times when organisations need to go above and beyond in order to not only satisfy but also retain their customers.
Customer satisfaction doesn’t equate to customer loyalty
It seems obvious to assume that satisfied customers will return to a business time and time again. Unfortunately for many brands, this simply isn’t the case. Satisfied customers do not equal loyal customers, and it is critical to understand why and what you can do about it. Satisfaction surveys only measure how a consumer feels about a business based on their latest interaction. That could be a phone call with a customer service representative, a transaction on your website, or a visit to your store. The hard truth is that customer satisfaction, or CSAT, is a transactional metric, and is certainly not a representation of a consumer’s permanent view of your brand.
Customer satisfaction is more of a short-term win for a business. The long-term goal for most companies is customer loyalty and, while CSAT can help with this, it isn’t enough to have satisfaction alone. Research has revealed that increasing loyalty and retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by a huge 25%, so it is clear to see why loyalty should be your top priority. Looking at other metrics alongside customer satisfaction can help you to gain a solid understanding of how loyal your customers are, and why you might be experiencing customer churn. Some common metrics to use for loyalty are retention rates, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Building brand advocates requires more than customer satisfaction
As well as loyal customers, you also want to prioritise the customers who are going to be strong advocates of your brand. Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool, and the key to success is having an audience that truly loves your business, products, and service. These are the people who will bring new customers and promote your brand to their friends and family, simply because they love what you do. Obviously, customers need to be satisfied in order to become a brand advocate, but just tracking CSAT is not going to be enough to know who is promoting you to their peers and who simply enjoyed their one-off experience.
Generally, a customer will answer that they are satisfied with your brand if you met their basic needs. It could be that you had the product in stock that they had been looking for, or your team resolved an issue they had experienced. This is not enough to lead them to be true advocates of your brand. For this kind of loyalty and recognition, your brand needs to be going above and beyond, which is something that customer satisfaction surveys simply cannot capture.
Low customer satisfaction score requires more detail
Customer satisfaction ratings are usually collected using a simple survey where clients can rate your business on a basic scale. This is great for getting an overview of how your customers are feeling about your brand at any given moment, but it is unhelpful at times when more information is needed. If customers leave a low satisfaction rating, it is vital that you understand why and what can be done to resolve it. For these kinds of insights, you need to ask questions about that specific customer’s experience and request more detailed feedback.
Ultimately, gathering customer satisfaction scores is not going to be a quick solution to building loyalty and encouraging brand advocates. This metric should be used as just one tool in your toolkit and used in conjunction with other customer feedback surveys and metrics in order to get a complete overview of your brand. Customer satisfaction is certainly an important piece of the puzzle, but alone it just isn’t enough.
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