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Kat is Solution IP’s Marketing Assistant. In this blog post she takes a look at the impact of Business Communications on customer satisfaction scores.

 

How customer satisfaction impacts on your business

Customer Satisfaction Image by ThinkstockCustomer satisfaction is becoming increasingly important in today’s competitive market. According to a study by Infoquest, a “totally satisfied customer” contributes 2.6 times more revenue than a “somewhat satisfied customer” and 14 times more than a “somewhat dissatisfied customer”. These figures may look abstract at first glance, so let’s take a look at their background: the Chartered institute of Marketing states that it costs 5-8 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.

What’s more, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Happy customers are more likely to recommend your business and the best thing about this is that they will do it at no extra cost for you. On the other end of the scale, dissatisfied customers tend to tell friends about their bad experience. On average, a bad customer experience used to be passed on to 5-10 people per person. This has since been amplified by the rise of social media. Depending on the number of followers, one negative social media post about your business can now be seen by hundreds or thousands of potential customers at a time. Add this to the fact that 46% of consumers trust peer reviews when making a purchasing decision and you get a pretty clear understanding of why customer satisfaction is so crucial to the success of any business these days.

Measuring customer satisfaction

More and more businesses are therefore now trying to measure customer satisfaction levels, usually through customer surveys and feedback forms. This is usually done with a scoring system, with the scores ranging from 1-10. One could easily assume that customers can simply be divided into satisfied and unsatisfied buyers, however, it is not as easy as this. Research has shown that, on a scale of 1-10, customer loyalty drops significantly for scores lower than seven and that these customers are in fact at high risk of being lost to the competition.

Maximising your scores

So how do you maximise your customer satisfaction scores? While, in the past, it may have been sufficient to focus on the quality of a product, consumers these days expect the “whole package”: whether or not a customer feels satisfied with their purchase is influenced by a number of different factors, including – of course – the quality of the product, its price, a timely delivery, and the level of service they experience throughout and after the buying process. Communication is a key element of the customer journey.

Good customer service – more than just knowledge and courtesy

The complexity of delivering good customer service is often overlooked. The key concern is that it is ongoing: it is not just about getting it right once, but about getting it right consistently.

Business Communications aspects such as availability, reliability of returning calls and responsiveness to enquiries are vital to increase customer satisfaction. Even the most qualified staff member may not be able to meet customer demands without being given the right equipment to do their job. This applies in particular to large multi-site organisations with complex supply chains and staff often dispersed globally. In today’s fast moving world, it is business critical to get answers quickly and with no delays. According to a BT survey 85% of customers will not call back if their call is not answered the first time. However, 83% will buy more from companies that make it easier to do business with them.

How IP technology can transform your customer service

Meeting these demands is not always easy, especially when considering the complexity of today’s supply chains and business operations with staff typically being spread out over different locations. VoIP and IP technology are on the rise to deal with exactly this problem: it enables employees to take calls anywhere and work remotely, from home, and when travelling or hot-desking. Phone systems like Gamma Horizon are ideal for this: employees can tell the system with the click of a button where the calls should be sent to. It further offers a centralised service that connects different locations together without having to invest in an expensive system on each site.

Stay on top of your performance with call reporting

Many businesses don’t want to wait for their customer satisfaction scores to find out how well their customer service teams are performing. There is a range of call recording options from providers like Gamma, Avaya and Mitel available that offers in-depth information such as how quickly calls are answered, how long they took and how many were taken. This information allows businesses to adjust their customer service strategies to meet shortcomings, thus ensuring the consistency, responsiveness and reliability that is so crucial for customer satisfaction.

Don’t let disaster affect your operations

The beauty of VoIP is that your company can be operational all the time even if there is a disaster. The 2014 floods, for example affected thousands of homes and businesses in the UK, disrupting transportation and power supply. Other issues can bring your business to a sudden halt, including local power outages, or even vandalism. SIP Trunking technology enables calls to be routed easily and instantly to another location in any disaster event. A hosted phone system requires no on-site PBX, so calls can be made from any location or device.

Want happy customers? Make sure your staff are happy too!

There is one last aspect that should not be forgotten about when it comes to customer satisfaction: employee satisfaction. Employees who feel satisfied and happy at their jobs naturally tend to be more helpful and considerate towards customers. Offering flexible work arrangement is now widely recognised as an effective instrument to boost employee satisfaction. According to a 2013 survey by World at Work 64% of respondents said that flexibility programs saw a positive increase in employee engagement, 65% confirmed increased employee motivation and 73% saw an increase in employee satisfaction. This is backed by a survey conducted by the Government Equalities office that found that 90% of employees agreed that more choice in working arrangements improves morale. VoIP technology is perfect for enabling a flexible workforce. It allows an employee’s mobile phone to be linked to a company’s phone system so that they can receive calls and voicemails, and generally have the same experience as being in the office.

The outlook

An effective Business Communications Strategy should mean your customers can reach you, and vice-versa, whenever and however you need to. Having an IP phone system can be a crucial part of this. It is now a widely accepted fact that VoIP is here to stay and that it is getting more and more difficult for businesses to service their customers without it. Technology that currently “wows” customers like seamless call forwarding and automatic call-backs to customers will soon be the standard. The most important thing to your business is that your clients remain loyal. Updating your technology to meet their needs is a natural process.

 

 

 

 

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