Research has shown that by 2020, customer experience will be more important than price as a brand differentiator for B2B businesses. In recent years, as software companies have increasingly shifted over to using a SaaS business model, they have found that the traditional customer loyalty approach simply does not do enough to sustain their bottom line.

That’s primarily because traditional understanding of brand loyalty, as we have known it for several decades, has shifted. According to Accenture, 77% of customers are more willing to abandon their “loyalty” to a brand than they were three years ago, and 71% of customers stated that loyalty programs do nothing to engender consumer loyalty.

Tracking and optimizing customer satisfaction is the way to keep and develop loyal customers. But loyalty is hard to come by and even harder to maintain. I can say this from my own experience: when I pay a monthly fee, I expect to be constantly impressed and if I’m not, I don’t hesitate to look for alternatives. Consumer behaviour has irrevocably changed, mainly due to the ease with which consumers can research and entertain offers from the competition.   

Customer satisfaction is important to the success of any business, yet the various ways in which companies can measure it are commonly overlooked – or looked at in isolation. Having a more holistic view of customer success metrics makes all the difference in today’s subscription-based business models.

The reality is that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to delight your existing ones. Satisfied customers are prime for cross-selling and upselling opportunities and if they’re getting the complete end-to-end experience they’re looking for, they’ll be happy to part with their hard earned dollars for your products and services. In this post, we’ll cover three reasons why customer satisfaction is important and how it can make or break your company in the digital age.

#1. Your customers hold the key to your kingdom

Your customers tell you something every time they engage with your service, for better or for worse. If you’re not capturing and learning from those engagements, you’re missing out on vital information that not only indicates your customer satisfaction, but that can inform decisions across the business from sales, to marketing, to product development.

Behavioural usage analytics are a necessity for any SaaS business. Traditionally, a company’s  only access to customer feedback was through a customer survey. Today, you have the ability to be doing so much more to proactively learn about your customers. The magic is in knowing how your customers interact with your product, what information they’re looking for and what is helping them and others like them to self-serve. Giving your customers what they need the moment they need it, or better yet, before they even know they’ll need it, is a serious game-changer and has a significant impact on your CSAT score. If you’re waiting until they contact you in frustration to see the inefficiencies of your customer journey, they likely won’t stay on that journey for very long.

By knowing what your customers are searching for, and where your content gaps are, you will have a better understanding of what you need to give them to keep them satisfied and ultimately exceed their expectations.

Customer satisfaction is like modern medicine: you need to be proactive, not reactive. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t only go to the doctor because you’re sick; you should go to the doctor to prevent getting sick. In the same way, you should be monitoring your customers’ usage data as a way of knowing what parts of your service are working well and which ones are lagging behind. Failing to do so puts you at risk of your customers churning in favor of greener pastures, which precludes a chance to upsell or cross-sell your product.

#2. Personalization is the gold standard

Once you have a good handle on your customers’ behavior through usage analytics, you’re ready to kick it up a notch and personalize your customers’ experience. With proper segmentation and analysis, you can thoroughly understand the needs of your customers and give them the seamless experience they deserve.

A good example of a business that has successfully leveraged personal experiences is Amazon. By providing personalized product recommendations, Amazon was able to virtually monopolize the ecommerce market due to the fact that their customers felt like they were always getting the most relevant information possible. If you’re an Amazon customer, you may notice that you’re not being “sold to” – you’re simply getting the best possible product recommendation that aligns with your intent and matches the context of your original search. That’s personalization at its best.

Insight engines are currently the ticket to providing these kinds of relevant experiences at scale. An AI-powered search solution can help automate how you deliver relevant information and recommendations to your customers. By drawing on your website usage data, intelligent search adapts to your customer’s persona and provides filters and facets that can cut through the noise of your web content, delivering personalized search results and recommendations. Personalization helped Amazon become the industry leader in customer satisfaction, and it can help your business do the same.

#3. Never stop innovating

Personalization is an essential first step when it comes to customer satisfaction. Brands across different industries, however, are constantly pushing the envelope to deliver “the next big thing.” Once you’ve got a system in place to allow you to personalize your digital experience, you should be thinking about how you can continuously evolve your product or service.

So how can your organization remain innovative? Make your customers your heroes. With their satisfaction at the core of your organization, you can begin to transition towards a true customer-centric culture and let the insights you get from them drive your strategy. Netflix is a great example of a company that gets that customer satisfaction is important. For years, the company has listened to the needs and wants of its customers and evolved its customer experience accordingly.

Back in 1997, Netflix’s original value proposition was make the customer experience surrounding video rentals better than everyone else’s – the way that they did this was by allowing customers to order movies from the comfort of their own homes and have them be delivered by mail. When its customers expressed a preference to stream, Netflix switched to streaming; when its customers wanted a larger library of fresh content, Netflix started producing television. Over twenty years later, Netflix has monopolized the streaming industry by keeping customer satisfaction a priority and developing innovative ways to “wow” their customers. Change was not feared, it was embraced.

The lesson to be learned is this: customer satisfaction is not a mystery – the customers are always telling you what they want. Capture your customer data, use it to deliver personalized experiences, and leverage it to inform your business strategy from the ground-up.

Do you have  other thoughts on why customer satisfaction is important? Let us know on Twitter! If you’d like to make customer satisfaction a priority in your organization, read our guide to mastering intelligent customer service:

Guide to Mastering Intelligent Customer Service