Bill Gates said “The best advertising is a satisfied customer.” To stand out from your competitors in every sector, including pools and spas, customer satisfaction is the key to winning. Essential in attracting new clients (and keeping old ones), it must be carefully evaluated to detect problems, correct and improve your performance. You don’t need to be a mega-pool company with a dedicated marketing division to adopt this approach. Here are clear and simple explanations of what to do and how to do it!
Why it’s important to measure customer satisfaction
Assessing the satisfaction of your customers meets several marketing objectives, the main ones of which are to make and keep customers. Although each approach is different, measuring customer satisfaction “sets the stage” for both.
1. Making new customers
As the French have been in lockdown and cut back on holiday travel in 2020, they saved more than ever before. This cash could be invested in pools and gardens. A host of prospects to convince!
What you have to realize is that before deciding, consumers consult their friends and neighbors and 88% of them check out the opinions left on line by other customers (1). Particularly when thinking of spending a lot of money! It is precisely because this search for reassurance can make or break a sale that pool companies need to prove that their existing customers are satisfied – and detect possible shortfalls in time.
2. Keeping existing customers
Did you know that it costs five times more to make a new customer than to keep an existing one? This is why checking out what your clients think about you is important. Satisfied customers come back. Better still, they will spend more on average and will promote your company by word of mouth. Word of mouth is vital for pool companies and should never be underestimated.
In this situation, the famous law of Pareto applies. On average, loyal customers account for 20% of purchasers – but 80% of sales. It is estimated that by increasing customer loyalty by just 5%, any business can increase its turnover from 25 to 55% (2)! To achieve this objective, it is essential to assess customer satisfaction in depth.
Main customer satisfaction indicators to use for your pool business
Although different indicators exist, companies usually use three:
1. The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The most popular indicator, it measures customer satisfaction point by point (purchase, contact with the customer service, etc.). The questions asked are, for example “How do you score your satisfaction with this product/service/other.” The customer rates the answer on a scale of 1 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (very satisfied).
This satisfaction indicator is simple and easy to understand and makes it possible to calculate the percentage of positive answers of total answers. But this method is incomplete as it counts mitigated opinions like “rather satisfied” as positive. It gives a rough idea but should be completed with another form of survey (non-dimensional scaling, another indicator…).
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
An interesting alternative to the CSAT, the NPS measures the probability of a client to recommend your company after reaching a key stage of the ongoing project. By asking the question “Would you recommend our product/service to your network?” on a scale of 0 (not at all probable) to 10 (very probable), you can then rank your customer in one of the three following profiles:
- Promoter: score 9 or 10: they are the most loyal customers.
- Passive: score 7 or 8: they are the fairly satisfied customers, likely to be attracted by your competitors.
- Detractor: score 0 to 6: these customers are potentially dangerous for your reputation, they have obviously been disappointed and need to be carefully handled to limit the damage.
The NPS score ranges from -100 to +100. Subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. If the result is over 0, overall satisfaction is quite good and over 50, ideal. For example: 30% promoters/50% passives/20% detractors will give an NPS of +10.
You can add an indicator asking the question “Why/Why not” to obtain comments which will highlight your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Customer Effort Score (CES)
This last customer satisfaction indicator is complementary to the two preceding measurement scales and is specific to customer service quality. In this method the questions are relayed as statements with which the customer agrees – or not. For example, “The pool company helped solve my problem”, to which the consumer scores the reply on a scale of 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree). The CES is calculated by averaging the scores collected from 1 to 7. With the CES, there is no need to get the best score: studies prove that a CES of 5 to 7 is sufficient for a customer to remain durably loyal.
The best customer satisfaction measurement tools
Now you know the main customer satisfaction evaluation indicators, what about the questionnaires you need to prepare to construct your approach?
To create forms to be completed directly on the web, Google Forms is an entirely free and customizable survey tool with a range of options like multiple-choice questions, unguided spaces, scoring scales, etc. These forms are analyzed by Google which provides results ready-compiled and structured in the form of a graph.
With more detail but in the same spirit, SurveyMonkey proposes preset models and in particular calculates your NPS. As for Typeform, this survey tool is specifically designed to obtain a high response rate created by in-depth reflection about the ergonomics of its forms. To redirect your customers to these forms, a well-written email or a dedicated page on your corporate website is all you need.
To go further, do not forget individual one-on-one conversations and get your salesmen to report chats with clients and prospects.
Lastly, the best place to know exactly what people think about your company is on social media (see our guide for an effective communication) – an opinion on your Facebook page, a post on a forum, an opinion on Google. To see these opinions, set up an alarm in your name on Google Alerts to be informed as soon as someone talks about you on a website!
Some ideas for criteria pool companies should include
The criteria you want to check depend on your objective. Depending on your pool business, here are some ideas.
If you sell pool and spa products
- After Sales Service quality
- Price/Quality ratio of your pool products
- The technical explanations provided by the salesman
If you build or reshape pools
- Assistance provided to the client before, during and after the works
- Respect of deadlines
- Site details and finishing
For pool and spa maintenance
- Maintenance quality
- Relationships with the maintenance crew
- Adequation between what the maintenance crew does and what needs to be done
To improve the services of your pool or spa company, it is essential to find out just how satisfied your customers are, but that’s not all! If the opinions are negative, you need to react. If they are positive, use them to promote your brand image! How to do this will be the subject of a forthcoming article. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter not to miss the follow-on.
© Photo credit: Mejn / Adobe Stock