Customer Experience News & Trends

5 customer satisfaction myths – busted

Customer satisfaction is up so things must be good, right? Not necessarily.

Whether you’ve been in the customer experience industry for 40 or four months, you likely hold a few beliefs about satisfaction to be true.

While there’s some truth to these long-held beliefs, there are some myths among them that can lead novices and veterans astray in how they manage the customer experience.

Let’s sort out five of the biggest customer satisfaction myths to help you improve the overall customer experience:

1. When satisfaction rises, so will sales

Ideally, this would always be true: Customers say they’re happy so they buy more.

Realistically, it doesn’t always happen. Some reasons:

  • Product life. Customers might like you and your products now, but that may not be the case when they need to replace or update what they’ve purchased.
  • Demand. Customers are often pleased (and say so in surveys) with customer service as a company’s sales decline because employees have more time to give them personal attention.
  • Price. Customers are usually happy about a bargain. So when prices drop (for any reason), they’re more satisfied, but they won’t likely buy more or again, especially when prices go back to normal.

When companies watch satisfaction levels, they want to do more than gauge “intent to buy.” One way: Reach out to customers — through email, promotions geared toward their needs and useful information such as white papers — to help maintain interest and increase their intent to buy beyond the time satisfaction is high.

2. It costs more to attract new, than keep current, customers

This is usually true, but at times and in some situations, it will cost more to maintain relationships with certain customers. Examples: Customers who constantly complain, and thus, detract from the attention other customers should get, and customers who demand more time, discounts, leeway, etc. than what they contribute to the bottom line.

Instead, you want to focus on strategically attracting and keeping customers who make good business partners. They’re the ones who are profitable and pleasant to work with.

3. Maximizing customer satisfaction ratings is good for business

Most companies can reach the highest customer satisfaction ratings by offering unlimited service perks, improving product quality and lowering prices. At the same time, they’ll likely go out business.

Even if a company avoids bankruptcy, achieving perfect customer satisfaction scores suggests there’s no room for improvement, which there always is because customer expectations and demands evolve.

Instead, the goal should be to optimize customer satisfaction to the point where long-term profits and customer loyalty are maximized.

4. Scores are the bottom line

It’s vital to gauge customer satisfaction, but results need to be put in perspective, says Jerry Thomas, CEO of marketing research firm Decision Analyst Inc. Satisfaction scores can vary by different regions, demographic makeup of customers, industry and company longevity. This is especially important to recognize if you’re comparing satisfaction scores between locations, departments, business units and/or personnel.

There’s no ultimate determinant for customer satisfaction — not one survey method, or data collection and comparison point.

Instead, companies want to vary the kind of feedback they solicit. You’ll better understand the significance of scores and ratings when they’re coupled with candid, conversational feedback.

5. Technology will improve the customer experience

Companies often think customers need more touch points, access to experts, speed to solutions and accuracy. But good customer experiences have always been built on understanding how customers think, and responding to those emotions and needs with empathy.

With the addition of every touch point, whether it’s highly technical or an added step in the customer experience cycle, companies want to maintain a focus on personal connections and building relationships, not just completing transactions.

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