How to Improve Customer Satisfaction With Proper Inventory Control

When most business owners think of improving their customers' experience, the primary goal centers around finding ways to improve customer satisfaction.

However, customer experience (CX) has far-reaching effects on all aspects of a business. For example, according to research from Dimension Data, 84% of companies that work on improving their CX (encompassing operations, strategies, and technology) reported a significant uplift in revenue.

The idea is simple- giving customers a great experience increases the likelihood of a purchase and fosters customer loyalty.

Why Customer Satisfaction Matters

While customer satisfaction is an abstract concept, most people will agree that it's a measure of how well a business meets or exceeds its customers' expectations. This is where customer experience comes in, which in itself is a catch-all term for every interaction your customers will have with your business.

But why is customer satisfaction so important?

  • Loyalty - While it's obviously important that businesses expand their customer base, keeping existing customers happy is just as important, if not even more. Research by Frederick Reichheld, the inventor of the net promoter score, shows improving customer retention rates by just $5 can increase profit by as much as 95%.
  • Bad news travels fast - Research by Esteban Kolskly notes that 13% of frustrated customers will tell at least 15 people about their negative experience. A separate report shows one negative review can cause businesses to lose 22% of their customers.
  • Consumers are willing to spend more for good service - US consumers will go out of their way to spend 17% more on products and services from companies that provide outstanding customer service.
  • Higher revenues - True enough, a Bain & Company report shows that companies that excel at customer experience report revenues 4% to 8% above their market.

4 Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction

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The good news is that improving customer satisfaction is a relatively straightforward process. Below are four tips and tricks to get started.

1. Create targeted, customer-centric content
Today's consumers don't just want to purchase products from companies, they also want to form relationships with them. This is especially true for younger consumers. Case in point - 83% of millennial consumers want brands to align with their personal values and 76% want CEOs to be more vocal about issues they care about.

One way to build and maintain relationships with customers is by producing targeted content. Content offers what is arguably the simplest and most efficient way to communicate a company's expertise, values, ideas, and innovations. However, this isn't to say that brands should simply talk about their products ad nauseam.

Content must be helpful to customers to be effective. In fact, 64% of millennials respond favorably to useful content while 30% refuse to consume content that isn't entertaining or informative.
Examples of useful content include-

  • Guides and how-to's
  • Webinars
  • Infographics that distill educational content
2. Use social media to engage customers
As the generation that grew up with social media, it should come as no surprise that 62% of millennials say they are more likely to be loyal customers to brands that actively engage them on social networks. Again, more and more consumers look to brands with personalities and values that align with theirs. Social media just so happens to be the most popular avenue to express these ideas.

And with one in three social media users stating that they prefer social media for customer care concerns over email and telephone, businesses would be wise to use this outlet to address customer complaints and feedback.

3. Encourage feedback
Gathering feedback from customers is perhaps the simplest way to know what they feel and think about a brand and its products. By encouraging customers to share feedback, business owners can promote a culture of transparency and willingness to listen to their customers.

Best Buy, for example, goes as far as offering customers 25 rewards points (redeemable for a future purchase) for every review that they publish, regardless if it's a positive or negative one.
Gathering feedback is also an efficient way to do market research. Any business intelligence gathered can be used to improve operations, product features, or marketing messages among other things.

4. Leverage data analytics
Customer feedback offers a wealth of qualitative data. But for certain things, hard numbers are more appropriate and lend themselves to more objective decision-making.

By using data analytics, businesses can get a deep look into the views, clickthrough rates, bounce rates, and conversion rates on their website, e-commerce product pages, social media pages, and marketing and ad campaigns. As business operations become increasingly data-driven, it has never been more important to leverage this information to refine strategies and identify trends in a timely fashion.

Inventory Control & Customer Satisfaction

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For consumers, it can be frustrating to walk into a store or add a product to an online shopping cart only to find that the item is out of stock. This may seem like a minor inconvenience, but stockouts could very well undermine a brand's image and affect future sales.

To prevent this problem, businesses need to look internally and evaluate their inventory management practices. Inventory control tools can go a long way towards smoothing out stock issues that affect customer satisfaction, including-

  • Understocking - Inventory management requires striking a delicate balance between carrying excess inventory and carrying too little of it. By ensuring adequate stock levels the whole year round, your customers will get their products when and where they need them.
  • Order fulfillment - Apart from stockouts, effective inventory control leads to fewer instances of shipping errors, delays, and other order fulfillment issues. With the right software, businesses can get full visibility of their entire supply chain.
  • Sustainable pricing - Using inventory management software allows businesses to see a comprehensive breakdown of their margins and price their products competitively. In turn, this allows you to provide stable product pricing that customers can plan for
Improving customer satisfaction is a marathon, not a sprint. The key is to be consistent and work on creating memorable experiences for your customers to ensure they keep coming back.

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