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Customer satisfaction: what is the best approach for eCommerce brands?

Measuring customers’ satisfaction levels is a tricky business for eCommerce brands. Here is the best way to approach measuring – and improving – yours.

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June 13, 2022

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4 min read

What does a satisfied customer look like?

For businesses operating physical storefronts, being able to interact directly with customers can give you a reasonable idea of how they’re feeling. But whilst you might become familiar with your most regular visitors, getting an overall sense of satisfaction levels is likely to rely primarily on your gut instinct.

If you work in eCommerce however, every interaction is logged. You can track regular visitors and referrals, and there are a million ways of trying to quantify your customers’ satisfaction levels.

But how can you be sure that your data is presenting an accurate picture of what’s going on? And how should you go about sifting through it to work out what they actually like – and don’t like – about shopping with you?

An incredible 96% of dissatisfied customers won’t complain to you, they will simply leave, never to be seen again. So giving them something worth sharing could make the difference between soaring organic growth and a sales sheet stuck firmly in the mud.

We’re going to dive into the best approach for increasing customer satisfaction so that you can be confident that everything they’re saying is positive.

What’s the best approach to maximize your customers’ satisfaction?

To improve your customer experience, it’s important to first look at trends in your complaints. Next up, we’ll look at how to establish reliable metrics so you can listen to your customers’ needs in real-time, and finally take the necessary steps to improve your performance.

Let’s get started.

Step #1 – Address complaints

Customer complaints are part and parcel of running an eCommerce business. No matter how well optimized your service is, there will always be a few who – for whatever reason – want to kick up a fuss.

But if you start to see significant trends in your complaints, there’s likely an issue you need to address.

Generally speaking, poor customer service is the most frequent source of complaints, and these are typically triggered by a few common issues:

1. Your response time is slow
2. Agents are relying too heavily on scripts
3. Issues aren’t being resolved in the first contact
4. Customers discover unreasonable payments and unexplained surcharges
5. Websites provide wrong or inaccurate information
6. Agents show poor customer service etiquette

With these in mind, take a thorough look through your most frequent complaints, and you’ll be ready to establish a more permanent system for continually optimizing your customers’ satisfaction levels.

Step #2 – Measure your performance

Customers’ emotions are fickle things – quick to change, and difficult to measure.

That means you must capture their feedback at every possible opportunity. According to a Microsoft survey, an overwhelming majority (89%) of customers want the chance to provide feedback, so if anything your customers will thank you for the opportunity to share their thoughts.

At the same time, it’s very time-consuming to wade through reams of customer messages in an effort to spot satisfaction trends – so it’s important that you capture the right data, in the right way.

Typically, customer satisfaction will be measured via:

1. Email surveys
2. Live chat ratings
3. In-app pop-up surveys
4. Social media listening

Take the time to consider which collection form makes the most sense for your business, and then decide which measure to use: such as a binary “yes/no” choice; a number scale; a Likert scale; or even emojis.

Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s the moment to consider which metrics you’re going to measure. Here are four of the most common satisfaction metrics used by eCommerce brands:

1. Customer Satisfaction Score

What is it? A simple post-interaction prompt asking the customer to rate their satisfaction level, usually on a scale from 1-5 (very unsatisfied to very satisfied).

What can it tell you? This basic measure gives you a great headline metric for your customer service performance and operates in real-time. With a flexible grading system, it’s easy to implement and adapt it to your needs.

What to be careful of: It’s important to look at the percentage of customers who took your survey, so you can be alert to the possibility of a low – and therefore potentially skewed – response level. Definitions of “satisfied” and “unsatisfied” can also vary, so it’s better to think of your CSAT score as a wider trend-catcher, rather than treating it as a precise tool.

2. Net Promoter Score

What is it? A measure of customers’ willingness to recommend your products, with the percentage of ‘detractors’ (those scoring 0-6) taken from ‘promoters’ (those scoring 9 or 10) to provide a single global figure.

What can it tell you? NPS surveys can be used once a customer has received a specific product or to assess long-standing customer relationships, and simply by asking the question you can help to promote word of mouth. NPS quickly gives a long-term indication of your customers’ loyalty and opinion of your brand.

What to be careful of: This score is a blunt instrument, and doesn’t always reflect what’s really going on. For example, imagine you had nine ‘promoters’ and one ‘detractor’. Your NPS would come out looking strong, but if that one detractor has a big social following and starts spreading bad reviews, they’ll do a lot more damage than those nine promoters can fix. Similarly, your NPS doesn’t give you any further information about how to fix problems or strengthen competitive advantages – so take it with a pinch of salt.

3. Repeat Purchase Rate

What is it? The percentage of customers who come back to place another order.

What can it tell you? Tracking repeat purchases can give you a reasonable indication of how much your customers are enjoying your products, as well as how well set up your product range is for encouraging supplementary purchases.

What to be careful of: Naturally, the metric lags behind real-time, and whilst many suggest 20-40% to be a healthy range, it depends heavily on the specific products your customers purchase. So it should be assessed in the context of other KPIs.

4. First Contact Resolution Rate

What is it? The percentage of issues that are satisfactorily resolved at the first customer interaction.

What can it tell you? How satisfied and loyal your customers are likely to be, as a good score here improves your NPS, efficiency, and can also provide upsell opportunities.

What to be careful of: It doesn’t take into account any kind of timeframe, so consider combining it with a measurement of your average ‘First Response Time’ – which also contributes significantly to customer satisfaction.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth data pull, you can also consider including metrics such as Customer Effort Score, Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate, Call Abandonment Rate, Customer Lifetime Value, and Average Handling Time.

Step #3 – Improve your scores

With real-time metrics pouring in, you can now identify areas requiring improvement.

Here are five of the most common fixes:

1. Offer instant, proactive support
Adding a live chat widget on your website to initiate support interactions at strategic moments can help address questions early and keep prospective customers engaged with your brand.

2. Improve your efficiency
Get your staffing levels right and make sure their training is thorough to deal with busy demand periods – as cutting wait times and dealing with issues at the first touchpoint make a big difference to your customers’ satisfaction.

3. Offer more channels
Globally, 54% of customers reported a more favorable view of brands with an active social media team. Adding channels to your portfolio helps customers reach you easily in times of need.

4. Improve your self-service functions
Customers are increasingly keen to use self-service tools that help them with questions or issues. Make sure you address all your most frequent support requests (such as shipping, returns, and product info) on your FAQ page and in your knowledge base articles – and keep these up-to-date!

5. Build loyalty
Win over your customers by delivering their orders on time, providing prompt, friendly, and helpful service, actively listening to their needs, and acting on their feedback. Then, you can encourage those loyal customers to promote your products or services with loyalty programs.

Ultimately, it’s an ongoing process

Improving customer satisfaction is always going to be a fluid part of your business, but by establishing the right processes now you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble in the future. As with anything, with proper tracking, it’s easy to spot precisely where and when changes might need to be made.

Learn more about how to manage your customer service operation, and how it can fuel the organic growth of your business, by booking a free discovery call with Dream Support today.

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