Raise your hand if customer satisfaction is a priority for your organisation? Most brands would agree it's crucial to get customer satisfaction right.
But, as more brands genuinely obsess over their customers’ needs and customer expectations continue to grow, is satisfaction alone still enough? We know that customers expect more. We’re all compared to the likes of First Direct and John Lewis. It's no longer sufficient to be better than our immediate competitors; we have to match what the very best companies are doing for their customers.
Arguably, customer satisfaction has now become the price of entry rather than the goal. It has become the starting point for how customers feel about the brand. Now, to differentiate, it’s about engaging with customers in a more meaningful way. This engagement isn’t just a tick box exercise; it’s about doing more than the bare minimum to solve for the customer.
CX programmes that get stuff done and make things happen are the ones that prioritise execution. The biggest challenge isn’t in the creation of the strategy, it’s the execution of it that will really set you apart from your competitors. Linking customer engagement to the value of the business by connecting it to ‘real’ business metrics and results will also mean that your campaign will survive the chop if the bottom line isn't being met.
Solving for the customer creates a more meaningful connection
A lot of brands set explicit promises and commitments to their customers. They tell them, through advertising campaigns: this is what we’re going to do for you. The intention here is positive - it aims to tell customers that the brand cares about them enough to make sure they're satisfied.
But this approach is no longer enough. Customers don't just want to be 'satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied'. They're aware that alternatives exist and it's easier than ever before for them to find a brand that exceeds its commitments. Customers also know the difference between a brand saying they'll do something and a brand that does deliver on its promise. It’s the differences between words and actions.
Customers want brands that are committed but they want brands to take this further and solve the problems the customer didn’t even know that they had. Customers will be satisfied by a brand that is reactive, but they'll be engaged by a brand that is proactive.
Solving for the customer requires real understanding
To solve for the customer, you need to understand who they are and what they want. Dig deeper into their motivations to figure out why they want to do business with you.
If you're a mortgage lender, is the customer looking to get a mortgage because they’re moving into their first property? Or are they seeking one to purchase a buy-to-let investment? What are the emotional drivers that sit behind this transaction and how can you align your people and processes to respond to these triggers? For example, if they're a first-time buyer, they're probably very excited but also a bit apprehensive. What can you do to alleviate any doubts they may have?
Resist the temptation to fall back on broad demographic information or unsupported assumptions. Thinking you know your customers, without real insight, risks leaving the brand exposed and failing to keep up with expectations. You only need to think of an example like Blockbusters - once considered too big to fail; the company went bankrupt because it didn’t adapt to changing customer needs.
Solving for the customer needs your employees on board
To be able to solve for the customer, you need a frontline team that’s empowered. They need to be on board with the approach and given the tools to be able to do what’s needed.
Rather than focusing on just satisfying customers, prioritise serving each customer on an individual basis. If you try to solve for each customer, by encouraging employees to take the time needed to do what is necessary for each customer, you’ll find that customers are more engaged with your people and your brand. It’s about being proactive about customer needs and receptive to any feedback that they share.
Satisfaction is about getting the basics right. Solving for the customer is about creating a responsive culture that keeps the customer at the centre of everything you do.
Why not explore our ContactBabel report: Customer Satisfaction Measurement Techniques to investigate the methods available for surveying and explore what factors make a VoC programme successful.