Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business to succeed, but satisfying increasingly demanding consumers can become a challenge. Poor customer experience is a catalyst for customer churn, and the damage of one unhappy customer is the 9-15 people they will tell about their encounter. Customer satisfaction is priceless when acquiring new customers—a process that’s 4-5 times more expensive than maintaining an established customer base.

So, customer satisfaction is important, but what can businesses do to drive their customer satisfaction up and keep it there? Below are seven effective ways to improve your customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.

Respect Your Consumers

Just as a bad experience can have a dramatic effect on your business, so can a positive one. Word of mouth packs a punch in the buying world, so treat your customers with respect and watch your customer satisfaction flourish. The secret to building a loyal customer base is creating respectful experiences for your consumers to share with their friends and family.

It all sounds pretty straightforward. However, finding the right balance and approach to respectful interactions can be tricky for both you and your customer. Respect your customers by providing them with tools to help themselves. Ensuring that your consumers can easily access frequently asked questions and information about your product on your user-friendly site is one simple way to create a respectful customer experience.

Use RapidSpike to follow your consumer’s journey on your website to identify where you could do better. Always be patient with customer inquiries—listen to their concerns. Look for solutions to their problems—even if temporary—but never turn down an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Respectful experiences increase the likelihood of positive feedback, so don’t ever forget your manners!

Use Surveys to Measure Customer Satisfaction

According to research, 91% of unhappy customers will never buy from you again, so keeping up with your consumers and ensuring they are satisfied is crucial for any business. Consumer satisfaction is not an easy metric to measure, but is not an impossible task, either. 

An excellent way to measure customer satisfaction is to follow up on your performance and talk to your consumers. It’s important to find the right approach for your business. Online tools like 123ContactForm can help you build the right survey for your business. The responses are useless if you don’t analyze and utilize the data. Use DataCracker to get in-depth insights from your responses.

Ask your consumers about their experience right after the service or purchase to increase response rates. Their time is valuable, so make sure your surveys are short and clear. Inform your customers how their feedback will benefit them by explaining how their responses will be used to improve their experience. The 96% of unhappy customers who do not leave any feedback are worse than those who do, so keep an eye on your response rates and make adjustments if necessary. Customer satisfaction surveys are not only great for evaluating your consumer’s satisfaction, but also for singling out customer advocates who really love your brand.

Inform and Educate

In a world where your customers are constantly bombarded with information, you really want to say something that will make a difference. Unfortunately, businesses often fail to provide information which their consumers deem to be important.

The most pressing concern of your prospective customer is whether you will solve a problem for them.

They will demand accurate and effortlessly accessible information. Having tutorials and online manuals easily accessible on your website is a great way to keep your customers informed about your product or service. Weekly video tutorials can teach customers how to make the most out of your product, and the manual can provide technical support.

Take the opportunity to market your product as well as educate your customer by sharing your tutorials on SlideShare.

Keeping a weekly blog is another great method. The writing is less formal and you have the opportunity to write in detail about your product or service. A blog is also a great way to build relationships.  Hearing your customer’s needs and educating them about the solutions to their problems is vital.

Don’t Forget About the Critical Moments

If you want to stand out from the crowd, create meaningful relationships. Your patrons are the driving force behind your business, so invest 100% in their needs. There are many ways of showing your appreciation, but remembering and acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries and other achievements will create something they will want to share with others. Keeping track of milestones can seem impossible, but there are tools like Kustomer to help you provide personalized support. 

Take care in listening to your customer’s needs and show them that their dreams, goals, and aspirations have been heard. Shape their experience by giving them an opportunity to be heard.

Use Social Media and Email Marketing

As you are spending more and more time on devices, engrossed in emails and twitter feeds, make sure you are tracking your company’s mentions on social media. These mentions can drastically increase positive sentiment about your brand if amplified. Tracking your performance on each channel can become overwhelming, so take advantage of tools like Buffer. With Buffer or Hootsuite, you can track your social media performance on all channels in one place.

Social media is also a great place to reach out and instantly update your base about your brand. Take advantage of the instant interactions on social media and use it to address any customer support inquiries that can be solved instantaneously.

Finally, plan your email marketing with care. Personalized newsletters go a long way, and Vero is a great tool to figure out what they want to hear. Use this opportunity to reach out with promotions. Ask them how you are doing and what you could do better. Remember, listening to your customer’s  needs is key to improving consumer satisfaction.

Focus on the Customer Experience

There are a number of different stats you will measure as a business to track your performance, but you have to be careful not to get lost in the numbers. For measuring customer satisfaction, ‘The Net Promoter Score’ is the go-to stat for many businesses, as instead of asking how satisfied they are with the product, it simply asks if the product is good enough for them to recommend it to a friend. It’s important to measure this as it helps you spot any issues with the product.

However, customer experience is just as important. Building a loyal base is 10 times more valuable than obtaining new customers. Businesses that understand consumers spot problems before they arise, add personalized touches like packaging, emails and offers and have a better chance of building a customer experience worth sticking around for.  

Treat Your Customers Like You Would Like to Be Treated

Although this goes without saying, it can often be overlooked. It is not always about what you are saying, but also how you are saying it. Be respectful to your customers. Show that you care about their opinions by asking them how you can help and improve their experience. Enhance their customer experience by reducing time spent looking for help—one way to achieve this is by utilizing live chat. 

You could also use Zendesk, a service which pulls all your previous customer support into readily accessible documents for your consumers to refer to when in need of support. Be there for them and watch customer satisfaction soar.

It’s important to keep consumer satisfaction high in order for your business to grow. The more time and effort you invest in creating the best customer experience possible, the higher your chances are of creating loyal relationships. Hearing and acting on your their needs is the key to long-term success.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Founder/CEO Just&Tom and JustasMarkus.com. Passionate traveler and blogger at Entrepreneur.com, Business.com, Influencive.com and others. Catch up with Justas on Twitter.

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