Increase customer satisfaction: 6 steps to long-term relationships

Increase customer satisfaction: 6 steps to long-term relationships

Jan Koch
Jan Koch
published on March 18, 2021   
updated on June 20, 2023

Increase customer satisfaction – The most important in a nutshell

  • Customer satisfaction forms an essential ingredient for healthy business growth.

  • By building the values of honesty, transparency, involvement, reliability & commitment and understanding, you can establish a relationship of trust with your customers.

  • This trust goes hand in hand with a positive customer journey and thus a high level of customer satisfaction.

Is the myth of “Germany as a service desert” true or are we developing further and further in the direction of “service experts”, particularly as a result of digitization? Nowadays, almost all aspects of a product are geared toward the customer, so that the customer should be at the center of interest – where they belong. Companies that don’t provide satisfactory service can be punished directly with bad reviews. The next potential customer may quickly look around for an alternative provider. We therefore show you what is important for high customer satisfaction and how you can achieve long-term relationships.

What is customer satisfaction?

Before we get to the question of how to increase customer satisfaction, let’s first define the term: Customer satisfaction describes how well you meet your customers’ needs and expectations – in other words, the degree to which your customers are satisfied.

Why is customer satisfaction so important?

But why is it actually so important to increase customer satisfaction? The top reasons why you should invest in your customer satisfaction:

  • Satisfied customers are happy to buy again – and are also happy to recommend your company to others.
  • A high level of customer satisfaction helps to build long-term customer relationships.
  • Satisfied customers are often willing to pay a little more.
  • The higher the level of customer satisfaction, the better your online ratings tend to be. So a high level of customer satisfaction has a positive impact on your reputation.
Increase customer satisfaction: 6 steps to long-term relationships
Learn why online reviews are so important and how you can collect lots of positive reviews for your business.

Measuring customer satisfaction: How do I know if my customers are satisfied?

How do you measure customer satisfaction? This is an important point, because you’ll also want to evaluate whether your measures to improve customer satisfaction have been successful.

  • Read online reviews: If you monitor your reviews on online review portals, you will already get a first indication of how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are. The comments may also give you clues as to what exactly you can improve.
  • Monitor social media comments: Customers often leave opinions about your company on social networks as well. So it pays to read (& also respond to) the comments about your business on social media.
  • Conduct surveys: The third option is to set up a customer survey and ask your customers to fill it out.

5+1 ways to increase customer satisfaction

From our point of view, there are 5+1 values in dealing with customers that will increase customer satisfaction and ensure a long-term as well as successful business relationship. This is how the calculation looks like:

5 +1 values for higher customer satisfaction

5 +1 values for higher customer satisfaction

Honesty – the foundation of every (customer) relationship

Honesty is the essential foundation of any relationship, whether business or personal. In business, we believe it is essential to always be open and honest with the customer, even if the truth sometimes hurts. The customer will thank you in the long run and appreciate your honesty.

+ Transparency as a crucial aspect of customer satisfaction

Play with your cards on the table from the very beginning: What can you realize, when can you realize it and what is not possible? What are the costs for your services and what services are included in your offer? This transparency in communication proactively resolves potential conflicts or protracted negotiations. Everyone knows where they stand and what they have in common. This transparency also lets you use your valuable working time more efficiently. Because if you realize together that you don’t match in terms of services and/or pricing, the process can be shortened simply and elegantly.

+ Involvement: Including the customer in processes

Remember the time you dropped off your luggage at the airport counter and the friendly airline employee spent what felt like hours typing and saying nothing? I would have loved to know what was happening on the other side in those moments.

And even beyond basic interest, it’s important to engage the customer in an ongoing exchange. For example, when queries or complaints arise on social networks, you should always pay the utmost attention to them. This is a particularly effective way of tapping into and retaining the target group of Millennials. A lively exchange with the consumer provides your company with the necessary information to optimize the customer experience and meet the growing demands of consumers. So, involve your customers in processes and workflows. Explain to them why it “took a little longer.” Your customer satisfaction will increase significantly and in the long term.

+ Reliability and commitment as a success factor in customer satisfaction

Make sure your word counts and that you can deliver on everything you say and write. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. Meet deadlines and timings. Nothing is worse than a “wishy-washy” email with late, half-baked explanations. The customer must be able to rely on you, because otherwise they will be abandoned themselves. Be there when things get sticky, and assist with last-minute questions about your area of expertise. This strengthens your reputation as an expert and gives the customer a good feeling of having “the right person” on hand.

+ Build understanding for the customer

Ask a lot of questions and get to know the situation of your counterpart. After all, you can’t gauge your customer’s opinion if you don’t know anything about them. What are the decision-making channels in the company? At what management level is your counterpart? What makes the company tick, and what is the company culture like? What challenges have there been in the past or do they currently exist? This is a small sample of possible questions you might be interested in asking to get to know your customer better and thus gain an understanding of behaviors, work processes or deadlines. This understanding helps you to better adapt to the customer and protects you from sudden surprises.

The result = trust as the key to high customer satisfaction

All these points lead to the creation of trust, without which a relationship and also a high level of customer satisfaction would not be possible. You are the expert in your field; accordingly, the customer gives you the benefit of the doubt. Use this in a positive sense: If a certain loyalty arises from the trust, you will have a long, successful and above all trustworthy business relationship. 

Here are more tips to increase your customer satisfaction.