Turn around declining customer satisfaction

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After converting leads into sales and closing on deals, companies need to make sure to keep up with their relationships with their customers. Failing to maintain contact with customers may lead to decreased satisfaction. As a key part of doing business, customer satisfaction determines whether companies are able to successfully grow revenue in the long run.

During the first quarter of 2014, customer satisfaction in major economic sectors actually decreased substantially to reach 76.2, down from 76.8 in the previous quarter, on a 100-point scale, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).The drop in the first quarter in the U.S. was the biggest in the ACSI's history since the University of Michigan created the index and began recording customer satisfaction 20 years ago. Not only does customer satisfaction impact individual companies' performance, poor satisfaction can actually bring down the entire economy. The ACSI noted consumer spending has slowed down, which could hamper economic growth. 

According to the report, all five economic sectors monitored by the ACSI had decreases in customer satisfaction in the first quarter: information, transportation, food services and accommodation, health care and social assistance and power companies. Services such as subscription TV fell sharply with this particular service dropping 4.4 percent this quarter from a previous ACSI score of 68 in 2013. 

"There may be more trouble ahead if the slide in customer satisfaction continues," wrote ACSI Chairman Claes Fornell in the report. "Weaker demand could further threaten economic growth in the second quarter and beyond."

With companies facing slowing demand for products and services, companies need to figure out how to use their sales resources to increase customer satisfaction.

Here are tips on improving customer relationships:

Encourage customers to ask questions. To enhance relationships with customers, businesses should engage with them by encouraging them to ask questions, according to the copywriting site Men with Pens. While the blog mentions content strategies, the same applies to sales in that sales staff need to be able to ask probing questions that give insight into customers' problems. 

Assign sales reps based on expertise. Companies need to know how to optimize their sales resources for effective sales performance management. Managers should consider assigning sales reps to territories or industries based on their specific subject matter expertise or qualified skills. Firms are better off matching their existing staff with clients who could benefit greatly from knowledge of their industry-related problems. 

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