Any process that affects customer experience directly affects customer satisfaction. Processes regarding product and service quality or customer relations are especially important. Several ways by which your company interacts with your customers can give your company a chance to continuously exceed customer expectations and earn long-term loyalty as a result.

The Leadership Process

Customer satisfaction starts with employee satisfaction, according to Dr. Ken West of the National Business Research Institute in his article entitled “10 Factors That Affect Customer Satisfaction.” A leadership process within your small business that keeps front line employees engaged, excited and empowered – perhaps with the help of incentives, growth opportunities or training programs – contributes to better relations between employees and customers at every point of contact. Strong employee morale can play out in strong customer service.

Quick Resolve

The flexibility and authority that employees have to satisfy customer complaints or meet their needs directly impacts customers. Employees too limited as to the decisions they can make can force unhappy or undecided customers to lose confidence and interest in your company overall. For example, how effective your processes are for letting employees handle customers’ replacements or refunds by phone, in person or through social media can impact customers’ perceptions regarding convenience and trust.

Quality Control

Processes that improve the quality of your company’s products and services directly affect customer satisfaction. For example, your customers may need and expect a certain standard of speed, accuracy and timeliness in your order fulfillment and shipping processes when making purchases online. Expectations about the quality of inspection and testing processes within your manufacturing department play out in consumers’ homes and offices when your products are put to use. How effectively kitchen and wait service processes deliver tasty cuisine quickly and carefully can mean the difference between restaurant diners bringing their friends next time or warning their friends with scathing posts online.

Shopping Experience

A safe, clean, easy and comfortable shopping experience is in high demand, and any process in your company that can improve that experience can be important to your bottom line. Overwhelmingly, customers were willing to pay more for an exceptional shopping experience, according to an online survey of 1,400 shoppers commissioned by Oracle in 2012. Additionally, 70 percent of customers surveyed claimed that they stopped doing business with a particular company because of a single bad experience. Part of an improved customer experience is having up-to-date information about products and services online or in-store, which can increase sales, according to the survey. Customer satisfaction, and repeat sales, are also the rewards for offering an easy-to-navigate website and a return policy that isn’t a hassle.