Customer satisfaction is the central, most important aspect of achieving business success. This is especially important for e-commerce businesses given that it is more difficult for these businesses to develop trust due to their online nature.
The most successful e-commerce entities spend significantly upon keeping their clients and customers satisfied and happy. In fact, some of the most successful e-commerce companies offer full-service for their clients and their client’s customers as well. All for the sake of having satisfied customers.
The Link Between Customer Satisfaction and Financial Success
It is well-established that these two parameters are closely linked with one another in both B2B and B2C situations. If satisfaction goes up, so will financial success. On the other hand, if satisfaction goes down, finances will follow suit. However, there are challenges when it comes to accurately measuring satisfaction, which is where the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) comes into play.
Nearly every industry relies on this index to better understand customer satisfaction levels in their business and industry. ACSI has concluded that businesses with high customer satisfaction levels usually report higher earnings as well. They have also found that in six major retail industries, including gas stations, drug stores, supermarkets, discount stores, specialty retail, and online retail, as people experienced lower satisfaction numbers with specialty retailers and department stores, they increasingly took their business.
E-Commerce businesses stand out for the quality of their customer support and they experience high levels of satisfaction as a result. Given the sheer number of choices available to customers in a perfect market, particularly online, it is critically important that customer service be a central focus of all online retailers. This is true for all categories of internet retail and in doing so a retailer can set themselves apart from the crowd.
Focus on the Customer Journey
McKinsey and Company took out a survey to understand just what made customers happy. This reputable management consulting firm interviewed 27,000 US consumers in over a dozen different industries. They found that the overall consumer “journey” is much more important than completing a single sale positively. The term journey here signifies the total history of interaction between the business and the customer.
This history of interaction would be 30% more relevant to a customer’s overall satisfaction, than considering a single experience. McKinsey and Company also found that when satisfaction with the overall journey is maximized, revenue numbers can go up by as much as 15%. Likewise, the cost of serving consumers also goes down by nearly 1/5th.
Not Just Customer Service
The discussion above reinforces the importance of a helpful service culture especially in online retail. A single experience is not really relevant. Your business needs to consistently uphold the level of care and satisfaction to contribute to the consumer’s journey. McKinsey calls this consistency.
The retail industry, as a whole, is characterized by increasing numbers of choices made available especially in the online environment. Therefore, it is important to have consistency in service offerings. This should be a key focus of online retailers given the very strong correlation between business performance in terms of customer service and consistency in the customer journey found by McKinsey.
Put the Customer First
Southwest Airlines, Progressive Insurance, and Amazon are all companies known for the kind of service that they offer. If you’ve ever had to change your itinerary with Southwest, you know what we’re talking about. You can approach anyone in a Southwest uniform and they can help you make the needed adjustments to your travel plans spanning multiple legs across the continents of the world.
With Southwest, you can even expect pilots to be helping with customer luggage if it means turning their board around in time. It has been well established how their service is linked to their superior financial performance, even though they avoid most of the major hubs of transportation.
On its part, Progressive proclaims that their vision is to become their consumers’ number one choice. Everything else, including providing comprehensive insurance comes next. Their focus is upon comprehensive improvement in “everything” for their customers. Making their service focus on the customer first has had a positive impact on their bottom line.
If you need yet another example, look at Amazon. Even in cases where the company knows that it is being defrauded, it indulges the customer. Their motto is that the customer is always right, honest or not. Indeed, the rock-solid customer trust that the company created by way of this policy has contributed to the company’s market saturation. Technology indeed helped, but customer satisfaction was critical.
Customer Satisfaction Must Be A Priority
The world of e-commerce rests on the trust and confidence a customer has in a company. At the beginning of a consumer’s “journey,” they may be completely unfamiliar with the brand or the company. However, by focusing on making sure the customer is satisfied at every step of their journey, a company can create a relationship of trust and confidence that can work towards not only making a sale but creating a repeat customer as well.