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The How-To: Improving Customer Satisfaction With Digital Leadership Improving customer satisfaction with digital leadership is not rocket science. But it takes time and commitment.

By Hafiz Muhammad Ali

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For every company, customer satisfaction should be one of the major objectives in their daily operations. It motivates customers to stick to your brand, buy from you and not your competitors.

According to Vision Critical, customer service will be the key brand differentiator by 2020 instead of price or product. Right from the time human beings started doing businesses, companies have been trying to satisfy their customers in order to keep them loyal and increase their customer base. However, with new digital marketing tools, it's now easier to satisfy your customers with better and faster service. And it's cheaper too in the long term.

What are the five important steps to take to improve customer satisfaction with digital leadership?

1. Hire and train the right people

The traditional way of interacting with customers (which primarily involves phone calls and mails) have changed a lot. Today, there's a transition from phone calls to support tickets, live chats, chatbots, twitter, and even push notifications. Essentially, your customer support team must be skilled in these modern technologies. That's why you need to hire and train your staff to use these digital technologies to deliver better customer experience.

If your business has been in existence before the proliferation of the internet, it may be a bit difficult for your current staff to make the move from the traditional way to the digital way of serving your customers. However, this doesn't mean you should fire your workers. One step you can take is to hire a digital leader who can implement steps that other workers can emulate to serve your customers better.

With this step, every worker can learn how they can perform all their duties to customers through digital platforms. If you're just starting out in your business, it can be easier to get the type of people you want during the recruitment process.

2. Build a digital culture

Hiring the right people and giving them a platform doesn't automatically make them customer service champions. What does your business think about the digital revolution? What ideas do you have in your company on how to satisfy your customer with digital platforms. Do you have a guideline for every department on how they can use digital tools to improve their service to customers?

Having a digital culture shows your employees that your business is serious about implementing digital innovations in serving customers. Zappos uses the 'WOW Philosophy' to go the extra mile in ensuring that there customers are happy. The company doesn't want to be known as the "shoe company" but as "a great customer service company.

Zappos created a fun working environment which leads to workers having fun at and with their tasks, and this robs off on the customer. A solid digital culture is also a way of showing your customers that you're trying your best as a business to improve customer service.

3. Use the right tools

To provide a great customer service that'll leave your customers happy, you need the right digital marketing tools. These tools will be on both the customer side and the employee side. How can customers communicate with you before they get to your store or without coming to your store at all?

Below are some important digital marketing tools you need to put in place to get make customers engaged and satisfied:

1. A mobile app: When you consider that there are over 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world, there is a high probability that many of your customers use them. And most of them use mobile apps on their smartphone. In fact, according to Think With Google, smartphone users have an average of 35 apps on their smartphones and use 52% of those apps weekly. One way to aid business interactions with your customers is to have a mobile app. This allows customers to communicate with you easily. With a mobile app, customers can take most of the actions they're used to in the years ago.

For example, a customer can check your current product listing and prices, speak to your customer care rep, make complaints, order for products, and make suggestions. They can do all these without leaving the comfort of their home. In some cases, customers can order for products and pick it up at the store later. When Starbucks first introduced its mobile app, it accounted for 26 million transactions in its first two years. It would have probably lost a major portion of this orders without the convenience of the app for customers.

2. In-store digital tools: In the past, employees have to keep paper records of sales and their stock of goods. This led to many errors which were expected due to human nature. With its in-store digital transformation, Argos has tablets in its stores that allows customers to place an order directly rather than writing an order slip. Also, employees have devices that help them to track the stock of products easily. Employees are also able to find these products quickly in the store with the help of these devices.

3. Sales CRM: A customer relationship management software helps you to collect, manage, and track important information about your customers. When you have information about your customers, you know how to serve them better. Today, customers interact with a business on different channels. They may send a complaint on social media and continue the interaction via email. A CRM tool helps you to track these multi-channel interactions and thereby making your communication with your customers seamless.

4. Email marketing software: There are over 2 billion email users worldwide and every business should take advantage of this. Email has the highest return on investment (ROI) of any marketing channel. What makes email so effective? Email is so effective because it is personal. People check their email inbox multiple times daily.

That's why a business must use email marketing software to collect email addresses from their customers. With email marketing automation software, you can send different messages to your customers based on their interests. This helps you to personalize messages to your customers and gives them even more reason to buy your product and stick to your brand. Why? Because you are playing to their interest.

4. Get Feedback

Are your digital strategies improving customer satisfaction? You need to know if your digital tools are really leading to real gains. There are a few ways to know.

One of the ways to know is the number of sales you make and the amount of profit that comes in. Another way, which is probably more important, is to ask the customer. You can come up with surveys that ask your customer about your new technologies. Do they make it easier for them to do business with you? More importantly, what features do your customers want to see in your business? By taking accurate feedback, you can know what digital strategy is working and which one is not. You also have the knowledge of new features you need to add to your business.

Improving customer satisfaction with digital leadership is not rocket science. But it takes time and commitment. By following the steps outlined in this post, you can begin to improve how you interact with your customers with the help of digital innovations.

Related: Why Customer Experience Is No Longer Enough

Hafiz Muhammad Ali

Entrepreneur, Author, PhD in Entrepreneurship

Hafiz Muhammad Ali is an entrepreneur, founder of Omnicore, author of Digital Passport. With a PhD in entrepreneurship, his is a firm believer in lifelong learning. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge, experience and opinion on digital marketing, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. Ali invests in books and people.

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