Few business assets have more value than a happy, satisfied customer base. Your company can have state-of-the-art equipment, intellectual property, and a stellar workforce, but without loyal customers, none of that matters. That’s why successful businesses go above and beyond to ensure retail customer satisfaction.
Satisfied customers believe that a business’s goods and services are worth the prices that the retail business charges. They respect the retailer’s brand, service quality, and product availability. Whether you operate in the online retail sector or have brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll always want to strive to improve your customers’ satisfaction levels. Here are some strategies for accomplishing that.
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The benefits of investing in customer satisfaction
When you improve customer satisfaction, you strengthen a relationship. By investing in the customer experience, you’re telling your clients that you value them and want the two-way relationship to continue. Here are some of the ways that boosting customer satisfaction can benefit your business:
- Helps protect from competitors. Most shoppers, whether potential or existing customers, have options as to where to take their business. When you prioritize building relationships with customers, you reduce the chances that they might try out a competitor.
- Boosts customer lifetime value. Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the total amount of money that you estimate a customer will spend on your goods and services over the course of your relationship. Satisfied customers are likely to become repeat clients, thus boosting their CLV.
- Diminishes customer churn. Churn describes a condition where your business continually experiences customer turnover, even if your total number of sales remains steady. It’s more cost-effective to keep existing customers rather than acquire new ones to address the churn. High-quality products and excellent service can inspire customer loyalty and build higher customer lifetime value (CLV), thus lowering churn rate.
- Inspires word-of-mouth marketing. Most shoppers are happy to refer their friends or family to brands that offer excellent customer service, product selection, and pricing. And word-of-mouth marketing is effective: a 2021 Nielsen survey found that 88% of respondents “trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel.”
Know your customers better with Shopify
Use Shopify’s customer profiles to get a complete view of your customers. Collect contact information, see what they buy online and in-store, how many orders they’ve placed, and which channels they prefer, add notes to their profile, and more.
Factors that influence customer satisfaction
The key components to customer satisfaction are consistent across nearly all retail categories, from big-box stores to boutique ecommerce retailers. Whether you’re running an ecommerce juggernaut or a small chain of specialty retail stores, six factors play an outsized role in overall customer satisfaction:
- Product quality. A high-quality product performs its expected function, works reliably, and holds up over time. These factors affect customer opinions and drive future purchasing decisions.
- Product value. Product value concerns the relationship between a product’s quality and its price. Customers who prioritize product value may find the most satisfaction in low-cost online retailers, or in department and discount stores that offer aggressive sale prices.
- Convenience. Whether shopping online or purchasing in-store, customers value a convenient, frictionless retail experience without obstacles to completing a sale or receiving purchased items. They expect products to be in stock and available for timely delivery.
- Customer expectations. The customer experience you deliver should match what you describe in your marketing materials. If you set bold expectations about delivery times or product quality, you must back that up when orders are shipped.
- Clear communication. You can boost customer satisfaction by providing clear communication throughout the complete customer journey. Create customer journey maps to track all the ways a person can interact with your brand. Then, plan a mixture of marketing messages (like product suggestions) and customer service messages (like product FAQs) to engage customers at every stage of the customer journey.
- Complaint handling. Few things matter more in customer service than how you handle complaints. If your clients perceive that you take concerns seriously and work to resolve issues quickly and efficiently, they’re more likely to express satisfaction with your business.
How to measure customer satisfaction in ecommerce business
Many retailers measure opinion-based key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer satisfaction scores by sending automated emails to customers after they make a purchase. Shopify Email has automation tools that seamlessly enable this. You can measure your customers’ satisfaction by monitoring the following five KPIs:
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT). Businesses traditionally gauge a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) by asking: How satisfied were you with your experience? Respondents then reply on a numbered scale, often from 1 to 10. This KPI directly measures your customers’ satisfaction with your business.
- Net promoter score (NPS). You assess a net promoter score (NPS) by asking customers their likelihood of recommending your brand to someone within their network. Like a CSAT, NPS is often measured on a 1-to-10 scale. Higher NPS scores indicate greater customer satisfaction.
- Customer retention rates. Your customer retention rate offers a portrait of customer loyalty. It shows the degree to which your customers stick with your business rather than jumping to another retailer that offers the same products. If you have a good customer retention rate, which varies by industry, then you are losing fewer customers due to factors such as poor credibility or high prices, for example, and have higher repeat purchase rates.
- Churn rate. A churn rate is directly linked to customer retention rates. It reveals how quickly customers are leaving your brand or canceling subscriptions. Lower churn rates indicate greater customer satisfaction.
- Average order value (AOV). Average order value represents the average dollar amount of your customers’ orders. A higher AOV suggests that your customers are pleased enough with your company that they’ll spend more money with you.
10 tips for improving customer satisfaction
Maintaining and improving customer satisfaction is one of the essential jobs of a business owner. Among the steps you can take to boost overall customer satisfaction are:
1. Improve inventory management
Make sure products always stay in stock and can be delivered to customers as rapidly as possible. This means investing in your supply chain logistics, inventory management system, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Manage inventory from one back office
Shopify POS comes with tools to help you manage warehouse and store inventory in one place. Forecast demand, set low stock alerts, create purchase orders, know which items are selling or sitting on shelves, count inventory, and more.
2. Upgrade product quality
Fast shipping and low prices mean nothing unless your product meets customer expectations. Also, seek opportunities to improve product design. Sometimes this might mean changing wholesale suppliers or adding new voices to your product development team.
3. Offer warranties and guarantees
Back your products with warranties and quality guarantees, which communicates confidence in your products. It can also help quell customer concerns about your return policy when a product breaks or malfunctions.
4. Cut prices
Price is a major factor in purchasing decisions. A 2021 study published in Frontiers in Psychology found a direct link between prices and customer satisfaction. If you think a price cut will attract enough new customers to increase your revenue or significantly expand your market share, consider offering one to please your existing customers and attract new ones.
5. Understand your customers
Before you can serve your customers, you need to understand them, and their wants and needs from your product or service. Start by creating your ideal customer profile (ICP), a data-driven snapshot of your ideal buyer that includes demographic information such as age, occupation, and geographic location, as well as buyer habits and any problems, or pain points, they might encounter. You can also gather feedback through customer satisfaction surveys and research customer reviews for data for your ICP.
6. Prioritize customer service
Thanks to robust global supply chains and expanding ecommerce options like dropshipping sites, shoppers can find the same products at a variety of retailers—often at identical price points. To edge ahead of the pack, prioritize customer service. This informs customers that if they shop with you, they can expect attentive care before, during, and after their purchase.
7. Focus on indirect purchasers
An indirect purchaser is someone who does not make the actual purchase but whose experience will impact the actual purchaser. For example, in a retail environment, think of a child who accompanies their parents to the store. If the child enjoys the in-store experience, the parents may find themselves more satisfied with the brand.
In a business-to-business (B2B) context, think about a managing director who licenses software for their employees to use. The employees’ feedback will affect whether the director renews the software license. By creating experiences and features for all stakeholders—not just the person making the literal purchase—you create more opportunities to boost customer satisfaction.
8. Monitor competitors’ tactics
If you have popular competitors in the same retail industry, observe what they do to boost customer satisfaction. When appropriate, mirror those tactics to reap the same rewards, like boosted sales and greater market share. Consider mirroring a competitor’s store hours, product selection, price guarantees, or shipping times.
9. Eliminate ecommerce friction
Make it as easy as possible for customers to use your ecommerce site by eliminating ecommerce friction. Tackle this by improving site search and product pages, and smoothing the checkout flow so every customer has a positive and seamless customer experience. Otherwise, ecommerce friction can lead to frustrated customers, abandoned shopping carts, and lost business. Audit your own ecommerce store by visiting it as if you were a customer and looking for ways to smooth the purchasing process.
10. Reward loyal customers
Set up customer loyalty programs and special discounts as a way to reward repeat customers. You can send out discount codes in post-purchase marketing emails or via opt-in newsletters. These can make your clients feel valued and improve your customer retention.
Retail customer satisfaction FAQ
What does customer satisfaction mean in retail?
In the world of retail, customer satisfaction describes the degree to which a customer approves of a business’s products, prices, customer service, and overall customer experience.
What are the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction?
The three Cs of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency. Specifically, this refers to:
- Journey consistency: The idea that a customer has a consistent experience regardless of retail location visited, company representative interacted with, or stage entered within the sales funnel.
- Emotional consistency: A state of experiencing consistent feelings when interacting with a brand, such a trust with a bank.
- Communication consistency: This involves having clear, steady messaging at all stages of the sales process.
How important is customer support in retail customer satisfaction?
Customer support plays a crucial role in retail customer satisfaction, because a customer’s journey continues beyond the moment of purchase. If you offer helpful customer support to a person trying to use their new product, you can further enhance their satisfaction.
How can personalization and customization options improve customer satisfaction?
Personalization and customization options make customers feel that they are seen as individuals whose business is uniquely valued. They may then favor your business over a rival that embraces a one-size-fits-all solution for its customers.