Addressing the Decline in Customer Satisfaction

15 March, 2023



Customer satisfaction has been on the decline recently in many businesses across a variety of industries. This dissatisfaction is likely due to a combination of factors, both internal and external

By Rob Johnson SVP, Operations

From a recent study by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a sharp decline has been seen in the scores gathered. This is very significant for a number of reasons we will touch on, and businesses should take note. CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) scores serve as a key indicator of performance in contact centers, and it has become concerning that the revelations from this and other similar studies have revealed this sharp decline. However, this is just one piece of the overall puzzle when understanding customer experience. Companies need to look at the big picture and consider what other factors may be at work, such as:

  • Are customers being met with unhelpful agents?
  • Does the agent lack the proper training and guidance needed to address customer inquiries. Are they, the customer, met with long wait times due to poor Average Hold Time(AHT) or improper staffing?
  • Do the agents provide inadequate responses to those calling, emailing or chatting for assistance?

All these factors can contribute to a decline in overall customer satisfaction, and businesses must ensure that they are providing superior customer service and responding quickly and effectively to their customers’ needs. By diving into the available metrics, businesses can better determine why customers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the support received, and how best to address these pain points in need of improvement. Without doing a deeper dive into what is going on with their customers, there can be a large impact to these businesses.

What is the impact of declining customer satisfaction scores on corporate profits?

CSAT scores are a vital KPI (key performance indicator) for many businesses. Lower CSAT scores can indicate a problem with a product or service, resulting in decreased customer loyalty and reduced profits. Since CSAT metrics measure customers’ feelings about their experiences with the company, its decline is an immediate red flag—which can cause profits to suffer if not addressed quickly. Moreover, declining CSATs can induce brand identity damage and lead to negative word-of-mouth marketing as well as unhappy customers steering away from it. Companies need to perform regular CSAT surveys in order to monitor customer sentiment, gain insights on how to boost satisfaction levels, and ensure that their profits remain healthy.

So tell me, if the ACSI scores are declining, why are corporate profits increasing?  

The recent findings from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) have been surprising to many, as they do show a decline in consumer satisfaction while corporate profits continue to rise. A closer look at the data reveals unique circumstances that may explain this anomaly. While the economy may be in a downturn now, its overall strength for several years has left many businesses with extra cash flow, and looming competition has them looking for methods to cut costs. Companies are investing in technology and automation such as artificial intelligence, which can lead to greater efficiency, but also induce a decrease in customer service quality as fewer people are needed at the forefront of operations. This shift in solution allowed the companies to increase profits, without necessarily retaining, much less improving, quality. Where this can just be a passing phase, it could also spell the start of a larger shift away from consumer-centric decision-making.

The decline in customer satisfaction is a cause for concern for all businesses. It’s important to understand the reasons behind the decline so that steps can be taken to improve satisfaction levels. There are several things that businesses can do to increase customer satisfaction, and it’s crucial to find a solution quickly. By taking action now, businesses can ensure that they remain successful in the future.

What can businesses do?

Measuring CSAT at regular intervals and getting your finger on the pulse of what is both negative and positive will help you determine what is being done right, and what you may need to address to ensure you are meeting your customers’ expectations.

Another way to increase customer satisfaction is to shift customer support and contact center operations channels from AI to voice support to increase customer satisfaction. Nothing beats actual human interaction. When customers have a chance to connect directly with knowledgeable, friendly agents, there is a greater likelihood of resolving their issues quickly and effectively. Through simple conversations with agents, customers can get fast answers to their questions and eliminate any delays caused by tiresome typing or navigating through a web of automated menus. Engaging with customers in natural conversation will lead to more positive outcomes while also allowing companies to gain better insights into customer needs and preferences. Investing in a sophisticated yet streamlined voice support system is essential for any business that strives for high levels of customer satisfaction.

Partnering with an innovative solution provider can be a key turning point that can save or shift a business’s customer satisfaction from heading down this witnessed decline. Transparent BPO firmly believes that there is no cookie-cutter solution for our clients, but that there are in fact best practices that be brought to bear to help ensure the best possible experience for your clients. A strong partnership lets every day be an opportunity to succeed. Hearing what customers feel is wrong is just one step, you need to act upon the feedback where appropriate, so they feel their feedback has been heard and valued by you.

Another critical step is ensuring your support teams are fully equipped via training, resources, and management to most effectively deal with every customer interaction, regardless of the issue. Built upon this is your ability to be easy to get in touch with as a business, and having a support team that is agile enough to provide fast support and solutions for those reaching out to you. Even having the right answers can lose customers if they are left waiting and feeling unimportant. Putting the proper efforts in during training to ensure efficiencies, while giving a personal human touch—actively listening and providing the empathy that AI just cannot provide—shows your customers you ARE attentively listening and taking in the information they are providing, not just a program scanning for contextual keywords. This can lead to frustration being lessened and dissolving perceived roadblocks to a solution. True communication is paramount to understanding and providing accurate solutions to problems, and what customer doesn’t want to feel heard?