“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” ~ Valeria Maltoni
Customer satisfaction can have such a positive impact on a company’s morale. But, what is customer satisfaction?
If someone walks up to you and tells you that your customer service is ‘satisfactory’, will you be happy?
Here’s the reality. The meaning of customer satisfaction in any commerce business has changed.
Today, satisfaction means:
- pleasantly surprised
- truly thankful
Here’s a story of how Zappos empathized with a customer and delivered a masterclass in customer satisfaction.
A customer had undergone a medical treatment that rendered her feet numb and sensitive. Since most of the shoes turned out to be too painful to wear, she decided to order six pairs from Zappos, hoping that one of them would work.
After she had received the shoes, she called Zappos to get instructions on how to return the shoes and explained why she had to return them.
Two days later, she received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos with recovery wishes and a “Zappos VIP Members” card for her, her sister, and her daughter. This card gave them free shipping on all orders.
A simple yet beautiful gesture, isn’t it?
We believe that listening to customers and observing their actions can lead us to understand them better. Eventually taking us entrepreneurs to a place where we can go that extra mile to turn a satisfied customer to an empowered one.
So, what is customer satisfaction?
What is the real value of customer satisfaction for an ecommerce business?
Innovation in cloud computing, high-speed internet, smartphones, and capitalistic business environments in most countries has turned our planet into a singular, massive marketplace for products and services.
To satisfy a customer, a business has to align many factors with precision. However, just a lapse in one of those factors can turn that same customer unsatisfied in no time.
Did you know that U.S. businesses lose an estimated $83 billion dollars due to poor customer service each year?
Now, you might turn around and say “not all businesses are ecommerce.”
Well, the truth is that the line between brick-and-mortar commerce and online commerce is disappearing at the rate of knots.
Today customers find it easy to buy products online, but still prefer physical shopping experiences where possible.
Amazon’s 4-star rated shops are proof that shopping is not constrained to tapping and buying.
Here are some scary stats from Newvoicemedia about the impact of unsatisfied customers.
- 56% of unsatisfied customers will never shop with you again
- 25% of them will recommend their friends not to shop with you
- 14% of them take to social media to share their displeasure
- 20% of them will write a scathing review online
So the cost of not satisfying a customer is not good for your revenue.
Since revenue is dependent on customer loyalty, more than customer acquisition, marketing gurus have given us ‘devices’ to measure customer satisfaction.
Well, they are not physical devices, but as you are familiar with them, they are CSAT, CES, NPS.
- CSAT: Customer Satisfaction
- CES: Customer Effort Score
- NPS: Net Promoter Score
The idea that customer loyalty drives revenue all the time seems obvious: a satisfied customer is a loyal customer, isn’t it?
But in practice, it’s not so clear.
Most ecommerce businesses still face 60% to 80% churn even when most customers are satisfied.
So, what gives?
What this tells us is these metrics and surveys are terrific to improve customer experiences, but achieving high scores doesn’t imply customer loyalty.
So, before we jump into fixing customer satisfaction, let us look at 3 common mistakes business owners make. And are still making.
3 common customer satisfaction mistakes
1. While satisfying customers, rationality rarely works
If we pay brief attention to the power of social media, especially visual platforms such as Instagram, it has a major impact on the customer psyche.
Customers are constantly bombarded with brand messaging, and when you add the power of influencers, the combination becomes a powerful catalyst to charge customer emotions.
Entrepreneurs and brands capitalize on this emotion-driven demand.
So, it seems that most direct-to-consumer ecommerce transactions are mostly driven by emotion. What marketers tend to do is try and fit this emotional satisfaction into a strict, rational grid such as CSAT.
This insatiable need to achieve high CSAT scores ends up treating people as customers, leads, or consumers – but they are people. Here’s what Dale Carnegie said about people’s emotions.
“When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion” – Dale Carnegie
The reality is that emotions drive our purchases, while rationality just legitimizes these actions.
As an ecommerce business owner, it is vital for you to link actions such as product improvements, great website features, and improved customer service techniques to the emotion of your customer.
2. Delivering new-age customer service via CSAT
Many ecommerce experts and sources of tips and guides tend to over-sell CSAT as a way to launch your ‘customer satisfaction 2.0’. However, this brand new level of customer service is just another standard.
Meaning, this new standard of service won’t drive your customer loyalty. People might still go out and try competing brands.
The only things which can increase loyalty are constant qualitative service and emotional contact with the audience. It’s a fact that for long-term relationships a clear communication, well-qualified support or fast shipping are much more important than, let’s say, a special price.
3. Lack of purpose
When we look at ecommerce businesses that aren’t getting much out of CSAT initiatives, we find two major problems.
- There is absolutely no cooperation between departments of the business. Meaning there is less to no sharing of best practices to improve customer service.
- The customer support team is the last to get new apps or tools or any direction to improve their job.
Data gathering, analysis, and planning are made by marketers, researchers, and other office workers, but clients make their opinion about the brand through communication with different people: sales consultants and shop assistants.
So it’s vital to make sure that all your departments work due to a general strategy and create the image of the company on every level.
How to ensure high customer satisfaction in ecommerce?
We can easily classify the fundamentals of delivering top-notch customer satisfaction into three main categories.
- Know your customer
- An empowering website
- Smooth cart-to-buy experience
1. Know your customer: because every digital touch-point (customer interaction) and each piece of communication you send (support and marketing) is dependent on knowing your customer better. It is time to invest in solutions that equip your support and marketing teams with tools to understand customers in a much detailed manner. Here are some activities that can change the way you satisfy customers by knowing them better:
- deliver better customer service across all communication channels.
- make better product recommendations.
- unearth informed upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- deliver targeted marketing communication.
2. An empowering website: by understanding your website visitors better, you can let the functionality of the website empower your customers, rather than restrict them. Here are some functions which can enhance shopping experiences on your website:
- a 24/7 Chatbot to answer simple queries when your support team cannot.
- a robust, data-driven product recommendation built into the chat environment to help your audience find what they want and connect with your brand at the same time.
- feeding purchase history and all customer communication data to your support team while they service your customers on any medium.
3. Smooth cart-to-buy experience: Complicated, confusing, and cluttered cart pages are very annoying. The experience of making a purchase is the last action your customers take and it should be as smooth as possible. Fix your cart abandonment issues and make your cart surprisingly enjoyable, not unexpectedly annoying.
What metrics can help you measure customer satisfaction and which metric tells the real story?
NPS, CSAT, and CES are the most commonly used customer satisfaction metrics. Let us look at what each of them does and how they work.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is conducted via a simple survey. NPS surveys usually feature a few questions which ask customers about how likely they are to recommend your product, service, or brand.
Customers are presented with an option to respond along a scale of 0-10, with 10 being Very Likely and 0 being Very Unlikely.
Businesses classify the NPS survey responses as follows:
- Customers who rate your brand between 0-6 are unhappy and are likely not to come back.
- Customers who rate your brand between 7-8 are ones who like doing business with you, but aren’t really loyal to your brand.
- Customers who rate 9 or 10 are your brand advocates. They do not mind promoting your product or brand.
Let’s say you want to understand what made your customers choose the rating they did, what do you do?
The best way is to follow the rating question with an open-ended question asking your customers to briefly explain their choice of rating.
These questions can lead to invaluable insights and help you find weak spots in your marketing and customer support activities.
The term we need to pay attention to is ‘actionable insights’.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a very simple metric which tells you how satisfied your customers are. Very straightforward.
However, is this effective?
CSAT surveys are sent once a customer completes a particular action. Say, post-purchase, post download, post using a product for a certain period of time, etc.
These surveys can carry a single question or a set of them. Ideally you would want your customers to rate their replies on a 1-5 or a 1-10 star rating scale.
Where the highest rating represents Excellence and the lowest, Very Bad.
The average of your total ratings gives you the overall CSAT score.
The trouble with CSAT is that it doesn’t give you any actionable insights.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customers make a lot of effort to interact with your brand, website, customer support team, etc. In an ideal world, you – as a business owner – should reduce the friction and minimize customer efforts.
CES helps you understand how tough or easy it is for your customers to interact with your brand.
CES helps you understand where friction happens and fix them immediately. Thereby improving customer satisfaction.
People who take the survey will get to choose between multiple answers – normally ranging from “Very Difficult” to “Very Easy.” Of course, the answers can vary – they can also be in the “Strongly Agree – Strongly Disagree” range, and they can be numbered as well.
The collected customer feedback is then analyzed to find the average.
The average score then determines your strategies and actions to fix weak spots.
But, when has averaging reviews and opinions led to improvement? So, CES isn’t that powerful either.
So, which is the best way to measure customer satisfaction?
CSAT and CES are terrific to know how good your customer satisfaction service levels are. But, if and when your customers aren’t satisfied, CSAT and CES don’t give you any actionable insights.
However, NPS has the ability to do just that – show you where the problems lie and guide you to take action.
CSAT can give you helpful information on specific actions and features, but the feedback often isn’t directly relevant to your business. CES, on the other hand, only truly offers value in a few specific situations, such as assessing service performance or a product’s ease of use.
NPS doesn’t just produce a score and user feedback — it generates relevant feedback that your business can use to improve consumers’ perception of your brand.
NPS does that by asking customers or users a broad follow-up question: “How can we improve?”
Here’s how Warby Parker used NPS to their advantage and created an army of loyal fans – read here.
How do I collect customer satisfaction feedback then?
Every ecommerce platform such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, or WordPress has app markets with a lot of apps and plugins which help you conduct customer surveys.
From emails, push notifications on mobile phones, to survey forms, there are limitless options to probe your customers and collect feedback.
But, can you make the chore of collecting feedback real-time and effortless, while not distracting your audience when they are on your site?
Here’s an easy way to collect feedback.
Autochat’s app allows you to set up a feedback collection loop. It works in three simple stages:
- Stage 1: Set up a message trigger if a certain condition (examples of conditions) is satisfied.
- Stage 2: A message will pop out asking the user to answer a simple question with a ‘Quick Reply’ button.
- Stage 3: One-click feedback is complete.
Time taken to set up Autochat app on your online store = ~5 minutes!
Time taken to configure Autochat app to collect ‘One-click’ feedback = another ~5 minutes.
Satisfaction of collection real-time feedback this quick = priceless!
One-click feedback is great for online shoppers, because who wants to fill lengthy feedback forms?
Your audience needs to spend more time on your site to buy stuff, not to fill forms.
But, when do you set up these triggers? Here are some examples of scenarios where you can trigger pop outs to collect feedback:
- when shopper reaches order confirmation page, a pop-out appears asking for quick feedback
- when shopper with past order history comes to your online store
Ideally, these triggers work with customers who have bought products from you already. As far as when to trigger pop outs requesting feedback? You can set them up along your visitors’ journeys on your site.
Achieving high customer satisfaction is just one of the goals for an ecommerce business owner like you. Our passion at Autochat.io is to empower entrepreneurs in the ecommerce domain.
This has led us to create a repository of actionable content to help you make informed decisions and remove friction in running your business.
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We shall end this week’s blog post with a powerful quote from a customer service expert.
“There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer. Never settle for ‘satisfied’.” ~ Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert, Author, Blogger, and Speaker