Customer satisfaction used to be the measure of how happy a customer is with a company’s products or services. Nowadays, there’s more to customer satisfaction than meets the eye.
To fully satisfy your customers, you need to give them a complete experience of interactions with your company. From how the product/service is marketed to how well it performs and how well the seller company knows how to support a customer and communicate with them, every step of the customer journey is carefully monitored and weighed.
Good communication is where public relations comes in. It is a powerful customer satisfaction tool that companies often overlook. Good PR can improve customer satisfaction in more ways than one. It can help companies control the narrative associated with their business, driving them ahead.
This article will look into what public relations are and how they can help improve customer satisfaction levels.
Public relations is all about how the public sees you.
It can be as simple as announcing significant changes in how you do business—like a merger. Or as complex as building your business’ image throughout multiple channels. Such as creating a permanent association between your company and efforts for the improvement of a social issue. One good example of this is Google’s commitment to carbon neutrality.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Simply put, public relations is your chance to communicate the message you want to your audience. It’s also what the public perception of your business is built on. Using PR, you can control the narrative and not leave how the public sees you to chance.
In doing so, you can increase how satisfied your customers are with buying your products/services and be a part of your narrative.
PR is a powerful tool that can reach more people than advertising and help businesses build a reputation, gain more followers, access more corners of the market, and increase overall customer satisfaction.
Why you should use public relations to improve customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the driving force behind a company’s growth. Happy customers return to buy your product/services. What’s more, they also advertise your brand and attract more customers.
Public relations professionals cater to and manage public opinion about a brand by developing a relationship with customers. They use information about and from customers to build connections and increase a company’s value.
Good PR helps open up communication with customers and translates into several benefits for companies. From upgrading the customer experience to driving brand loyalty, public relations can improve customer satisfaction and draw in more potential buyers.
Here are only a few reasons why you should use PR to improve customer satisfaction:
PR means dialogue
First of all, public relations can help a company determine the customer perception about its activity, products, or services by tapping into multiple communication channels and drawing important information from customers and the market.
By communicating with their audience, companies can find out what their customers’ expectations are, what they genuinely want and need from a product, and from the businesses they trust.
We all know that, for customer satisfaction and growth, this information is invaluable. It can be the foundation of better marketing campaigns, a valuable addition to marketing attribution, future PR strategies, and new product development.
Once they have this information, companies can relay their beliefs, values, and visions and open a dialogue with the public. Furthermore, businesses can build a direct communication channel with their customers and shift the public perception to align it with their vision and goals.
Public relations help create a connection
Customers love brands that are personable and approachable. In a world where everything feels automated, they crave human interaction. Apart from a good product/service, customer satisfaction is also about making a real connection with your audience and making them feel that they are more than numbers on your business plan.
Public relations can give customers a backstage pass and access to what goes on behind your business. It allows them to understand what drives you, what your goals are. It lets them decide to become a part of your vision and gives them a sense of belonging.
Public relations help define your brand
How well your brand messaging resonates with your potential or existing customers determines how far your company can grow. It dictates how well you manage customer experience and brand loyalty.
Your brand’s messages need to be consistent and inspire customers to buy your product. They are the story of your product’s benefits, value, and positioning. Public relations can help relay these messages across multiple channels and create a uniform outline you can use for all your brand’s communications.
7 ways public relations can improve customer satisfaction
Here are just a few of the ways you can use public relations to improve customer satisfaction:
1. Create a meaningful story
The foundation of good public relations strategies is openness. This means both being open to let the public in and the ability to create and relay sincere and straightforward messages. And it’s vital in specific industries, like the service industry.
Your PR and brand messages must focus on your core values, the benefits your product brings to customers, and your vision for the future. They also need to resonate with your customers’ own beliefs and values.
Together, these elements form the story of what your brand stands for and why customers should buy your products. It is the story that attracts customers and keeps them motivated to stay engaged with your brand.
Through PR, you can ensure your brand messaging is strategic, clear, and consistent. By consistently communicating your message and keeping customers involved in your brand’s story, you build a reputation and connect with your audience.
This is what ultimately improves customer engagement, retention, loyalty, and overall customer satisfaction.
2. Take control of the narrative
Through public relations, you can take control of the narrative and manage how your audience perceives you.
Creating a meaningful story that resonates with your customers is the first step of taking control. The second step is staying ahead of any challenges. These may be customer questions, doubts, curiosities.
An essential part of public relations is addressing questions before your clients asked them. Frequently, customers are already frustrated by the time they formulate a question about a product or service. That’s why you want to anticipate and address any issues beforehand.
Your public relations strategies must be focused on the essential information customers need to know about your product. They also need to identify and use the most efficient communication tools and times for delivering your messages to the public.
This ensures clear, direct communication on behalf of your brand and mitigates any risks of having frustrated customers. In turn, this will improve your customer satisfaction levels and increase the chances of attracting more customers.
3. Make the most of customer feedback
The best source of information about customer satisfaction is feedback. You can start collecting customer feedback through a customer satisfaction survey, and determine if:
- your product is well-received by users
- you should clarify any aspects of the product
- there are many misconceptions that you need to address
- your brand is perceived positively by audiences
- you can improve anything to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
However, the most crucial part is not collecting this information. It’s processing it.
Public relations strategies use feedback as fuel. From customer surveys to customer interactions on social media, everything gets analyzed, categorized, and addressed.
By adequately processing feedback, your PR team can measure customer satisfaction and improve customer experience by:
- mapping out strategies that align with what users need and want
- identifying new ways to market your product or service
- pinpointing any aspects of customer service that require improvement
- define new markets and opportunities
- identifying new products to develop and address customer needs
Then, once you implement changes based on customer feedback, it’s the PR team’s job to openly and adequately inform your customers about them.
4. Understand what makes customers tick
Public relations is a two-way street. It’s not only essential to communicating your brand messages to customers. It also collects information about what customers think and what makes them tick.
Studying customers is a significant part of public relations. The information collected from the multiple channels can serve as a tool to bring your brand closer to customers and communicate with them using their language. Think of PR as a sneak peek into the lives of your customers.
Using this information, you can bridge any gaps between you and your customers and increase their engagement levels. The more personalized your brand messages are, the happier your customers will be with your brand.
On top of this, you can use public relations to collect information about what challenges the market is going through and address them. In this respect, you might say public relations is a three-way street.
Because especially in situations when the market or the world is facing challenges, PR is vital in communicating with customers. It’s how you can answer questions and concerns and put your customers at ease in times of uncertainty.
5. Lead the customer through their journey
A smooth customer journey is the key to high levels of customer satisfaction. So is knowledge-sharing.
On the one hand, public relations is an excellent tool for guiding customers through each step of the buyer’s journey. Through PR, you can direct customers through each stage and provide the essential information they need to stay on course.
You can use PR to communicate your brand’s story and the key benefits customers can expect from the very beginning. Then, as they move through the buyer’s journey, you can use PR to mitigate any issues that might cause customers to back out of a purchase by offering guidance and support.
Last but not least, PR is a great way to keep customers engaged once they reach the end of the buyer’s journey, reminding them why they should remain loyal to your brand and its values.
On the other hand, you can and should use PR to constantly communicate with customers and keep them informed of any critical issues that may affect or benefit them. Keeping them in the loop will increase their engagement and improve satisfaction levels.
6. Develop strong strategies
The results you see from your public relations efforts will depend on how well you can develop long-term strategies. And how well you can adapt them as different circumstances occur.
Use your public relations teams to establish clear guidelines for all your brand messaging. Plus game plans for each predictable type of situation. Then, gather essential market and customer information. These elements will serve as the foundation of your long-term strategies.
In addition, always be ready to adapt your PR communications to any current customer concerns.
Also, be mindful about choosing the most appropriate tools and channels to relay your message. Customers appreciate it when brands are quick to inform them about any changes and know exactly how they like to communicate.
7. Stay on top of crises
There’s probably no other circumstance in which PR is more critical than when a crisis occurs.
Although we all hope that’s never the case, the truth is that unforeseen issues occur. And when they do, your public relations team must be ready to face any problems head-on.
The key to a good PR strategy in a time of crisis is being direct and sincere. Address each issue and prepare appropriate answers for them. Be ready to share information about what happened and how it’s going to be solved.
This way, you can still control the narrative and show customers that you are doing everything in your power to mitigate unwanted effects. Customers will always be more satisfied to know precisely what’s going on. And they always appreciate brands that don’t evade questions or dodge them.
No matter how great the company is, from time to time, it may make a mistake. This is where PR plays a critical role as customers will forgive many things if they like the brand.
Nowadays when all businesses are digital, your online reputation and the public perception of your brand is more important than ever. One bad review can be shared by hundreds of people and be very costly for you.
Proper PR and continuous work with your existing and future clientele will ensure people will always view your company as a good one. Therefore a preferable place to purchase a product or a service.