Measuring customer satisfaction is an important element of improving customer service and refining product ranges. By being able to effectively collate customer satisfaction data, businesses can tweak processes, remove barriers and quickly react to customer pain points, so understanding the different methods and applying them is very beneficial to organisations.
Without accurate ways of collating customer satisfaction, companies continue doing things that frustrate their customers or providing products that are not to the level of their expectation, and they are often completely unaware of any problems. Another key reason you should also be monitoring customer satisfaction is because happy customers lead to repeat business, whilst unhappy customers will tell friends and family about their poor experience with your company.
Acquiring new customers can cost 5 to 25 times more than keeping your current customers, so customer retention is a very important aspect of business success and profitability.
So, having a constant measurement of customer satisfaction should bring any problems to the surface and enable you to make the relevant changes to retain customers and reduce the amount of negative conversations or reviews about your company. It also helps you to identify those customers that are dissatisfied, so that you can put measures into place to try and retain them.
What methods of measuring customer satisfaction are there?
There are several different ways of measuring customer satisfaction, with many businesses choosing to utilise a combination of them to get more data to work with and build upon. Here are some of the ones that are most commonly used:
One of the most popular metrics of customer satisfaction is the CSAT score and it is also one of the more straightforward metrics to measure. With the CSAT metric, the customer is asked a simple question related to their satisfaction with the service or product that they received.
For example, ‘How satisfied were you with your recent purchase?’ and they give a rating between 1 – 5, with 1 being very unsatisfied and 5 being very satisfied. Or the scale could be between 1-10, there is some flexibility around the scale.
Customer experience teams can pinpoint the exact area of the customer service process that they want to gather satisfaction levels for and the survey can be provided to the customer in different ways, such as at the end of a call, by text message, in a chat conversation or by email.
More questions can be added to the CSAT survey to get more data but you should be mindful that making the survey too long will put customers off and they might not submit their survey if there are more questions than they have the time or inclination to answer.
NPS is the Net Promoter Score and this is more complicated than the simple CSAT metric method. Whilst CSAT is giving you a quick insight into one particular detail about your service, NPS measures loyalty that a customer feels towards your brand. You are asking customers how likely they are to recommend you to others, using a scale between 0 and 10 (with 0 being very unlikely and 10 being extremely likely). The data is then segregated into Detractors (people scoring 6 or below), Passives (giving 7 or 8) and Promoters (giving a score of 9 or 10). The NPS score is then calculated by subtracting the Detractors from the percentage of your Promoters. So, your NPS score will be a score between -100 and 100, once you make that calculation.
You can get tools that will calculate the score for you, so you don’t have to worry about working out each NPS score for each customer that you survey. You can extend the survey from the one question to add another that will give you more insight into why they scored the way they did. For example, you could ask what changes you could make to improve the score or ask what your company does well. Leaving these as open ended questions will get more insight into the granular detail about your product or service.
Many companies use the NPS score so you may be able to compare yours to one of your competitors, to give you a better idea of how you are performing in terms of customer satisfaction against the scores of companies offering the same products or services.
The CES (Customer Effort Score) is another way to successfully gather data regarding customer satisfaction. This metric involves asking the customer how easy it was for them to get a resolution to the issue that they had. It is basically asking the customer how much effort they needed to put in for the purpose of their interaction to get the issue resolved.
The idea behind this type of method is that if you are able to handle a customer’s query quickly and easily, they are likely to continue using your company. The question would be asked after an interaction with customer service.
Whilst survey style questions like CSAT and NPS might be useful for companies that are not physically customer facing to gather satisfaction data, if you have a business where customers are visiting your premises e.g. a store, restaurant, train station, airport etc. the fastest way to collate customer satisfaction is to use a smiley dashboard that is located at a point where lots of customers will be walking past.
The smiley type of satisfaction metric is quick and easy for a customer to use and because they walk past it, they simply need to press the relevant button to show their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This type of feedback tends to gain higher levels of responses because it is so quick to do and it can even help reduce complaints because a person who has been frustrated with the service can press an unhappy face and feel like they have fed back their feelings, without the need to submit a complaint as well.
Companies such as OMBEA provide touchless smiley feedback terminals that can be easily updated to ask different types of questions, with 5 smiley faces to press to provide the rating. The data is then available in real-time for managers to keep track of, so issues such as not enough staff on tills could be quickly resolved if there is a surge of unhappy faces pressed.
Online reviews and social media
Many companies now have a team dedicated to monitoring social media and reviews that are left on sites such as Google, TripAdvisor or TrustPilot. These types of reviews are scored out of 5 and are having an increasingly big influence on whether a customer will choose to eat at a particular restaurant or buy a product from a company, for example.
If one company has an average score of 3 stars and a competitor has 4, the customer reading the review is more likely to choose the one with the higher rating, so it is very important to keep track of this type of customer satisfaction in the modern era where customers are using the internet more than ever to find products and services.
As well as keeping a track of the scores that people are giving your company, customers can leave very detailed and long reviews, which give you plenty of data to take on board when you are analysing the customer experience. You can quickly see if there are any patterns emerging i.e. lower scores being given, or the same reason behind customers’ ratings. However, this type of method can be quite time consuming to analyse, given that many customers will write very long pieces of feedback.
Also, because this feedback is left on third party platforms, there is no easy way to export the data, so extra work would be required by the customer experience team to extract the data and put it into a format that can easily be analysed and shared within the company.
Another point to remember with the social media and review comments is that people will also look at how the company responds to messages, so this gives you an opportunity to turn a bad review into a more positive one by showing how well you handle the comment and how quickly you respond. This instills trust in your ability to resolve issues and shows that you take feedback seriously.
It is really important that these channels are regularly monitored because if you leave them for too long, you could have a huge batch of bad reviews that could have been prevented if you had read the first reviews and put the relevant resolution into place quickly.
Monitoring customer satisfaction is so important to stay on top of how customers are feeling about your services and products. As we mentioned at the start of this article, retaining existing customers costs you a lot less money than the marketing and other expenditure that goes into acquiring new customers to replace the lost ones. So, investing time and money into effective customer satisfaction metrics is definitely an activity that will have a big financial impact and measuring customer satisfaction is always going to be key to operating a successful business.
It is important to remember that having the right type of metrics in place is just one part of work and that the next stage is how well you use that data to improve your company. The customer experience team must work with the relevant roles across the business and any third parties that are integral to your service or products, to ensure that any issues that customers are raising can be quickly resolved by the team responsible.
Using a combination of customer satisfaction methods will help you to gather different aspects of the customer experience, so it is recommended to use at least two alternative methods, so you are not missing out on valuable insights.