How customer satisfaction drives CRM

Customer satisfaction is one of the major components of CRM. Yet not many businesses get it right. Here’s what can be done.

In today’s competitive market where brands and businesses are trying to keep pace with technology in order to stay afloat, the one factor that is setting competition apart is customer satisfaction. Traditionally, customer satisfaction was important to businesses when organizations were smaller and focused on providing impeccable service (think local businesses and so on). But with rapid expansion of businesses, focus on customer satisfaction began to somewhat narrow down to quantitative gimmicks (more products, bigger discounts, offers and so on) than qualitative measures (customer service and enhanced customer experience). This in turn has only left businesses’ CRM programs hanging.

The last few years have seen a return to the discussions over the importance of keeping a steady focus on customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, the truth remains that smaller businesses are the only ones who truly appreciate their customers enough to make consistent efforts towards keeping them happy. On the flip side, smaller businesses also find it harder to achieve customer satisfaction owing to lack of resources.

In a survey conducted in early 2012 across 137 countries spanning 65 million customers, it was found that customers were happiest in Australia and Canada while France and China featured much lower on the scale of customer satisfaction. While examining satisfaction rates according to industries, real estate, IT consultancies and healthcare industries recorded the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Surprisingly, the least amount of satisfaction was felt by customers of the retail, social media and entertainment industries.

So what really satisfies customers?

According to Micah Solomon (author of Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization) satisfaction results when customers consistently receive a perfect product, delivered by a caring, friendly person, in a timely fashion, with the support of an effective problem resolution process in case of any friction.

Customers are impressed by the general quality of the product or service being offered, how the entire experience was crafted, their perceived gains from comparing cost with benefit as well as their overall perception of your brand.

How can one satisfy customers?

Ideally, customer satisfaction can be brought about by resolving maximum number of customer issues in faster time-frames while retaining a high level of quality in responses provided.

Like all other processes, customer satisfaction levels need to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that CRM measures are on the right track. Gauging customer satisfaction can be done in various ways such as

  • Inviting reviews of your product or service
  • Analyzing opinions that refer to your product or service
  • Direct conversations
  • Surveys
  • Tracking customer sentiment through social conversations

At some point, however, companies need to scale up from mere measurement of customer satisfaction to measuring customer value. While analyzing customer satisfaction limits the organization to delving into concerns surrounding the organization and its offerings (products or services), examining the value created for customers involves analysis of forces external to the organization (such as competitors) and their effect on the levels of customer satisfaction. Seeking to understand the process of value creation for customers provides insights into how customers make their choices, powering the creation of a competitive marketing strategy and thereby resulting in truly differentiated products or services which provide the edge over competitors.


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