3 Ways to Measure Customer Satisfaction
by Wayne Smith, Marketing Manager, Interactive Northwest, Inc.
In our recent article, 5 Ways to Reduce Customer Effort, we considered the alarming numbers around customer satisfaction and offered suggestions for improvement. With 59% of customers claiming medium to high levels of effort to resolve issues*, clearly there’s a lot of work to be done. But how can you tell if the changes you’ve implemented are having the desired outcome?
You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
Unlike your internal processes, procedures, and workforce, you have little control over customer behavior. A swift response to changes in customer sentiment is essential to sound business decisions. Therefore, it is important to regularly measure customer feedback and track trends over time to get an accurate pulse on your customers’ experience with your brand.
The three contenders for top position among the many tools available to measure customer satisfaction are the Net Promoter Score, the Customer Effort Score, and CSAT. There has been much debate over which gives the most accurate picture of an organization’s performance. A closer look at each tool, however, reveals that they each evaluate different things and, therefore, should be employed selectively depending on an organization’s measurement objectives.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys Compared
In order to maximize participation, each survey asks a single question with a simple rating scale. Each survey has a unique algorithm for calculating the score and determining what the results indicate.
How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues?
Customers respond with a rating from 1-10, with 10 being the most likely. Based on responses, customers are categorized into 3 groups: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (1-6). The percentage of detractors is subtracted from the percentage of promoters to get the Net Promoter Score. For example, if 80% of respondents are promoters and 5% are detractors, the Net Promoter Score would be +75. The score can range form -100 (everyone is a detractor) to +100 (everyone is a promoter). Any score that is positive is considered good with +50 being excellent.
This survey measures a customer’s relationship with an organization and their loyalty to that company as a whole. The Net Promoter Score is an important indicator of brand loyalty and can be useful for forecasting future business.
How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?
Customers respond with a rating from 1-5, with 5 being very high effort. This survey is probing to uncover factors that are contributing to customer defection. It was designed in response to surprising studies by the Customer Contact Council* indicating that while customer support can do only a little to improve satisfaction, it can have a significant negative impact. The score is calculated by averaging the results to get a number between 1-5. Any score higher than one is reason for concern, meriting further investigation and corrective action.
This survey is more narrow than the Net Promoter Score. It measures a customer’s satisfaction with an organization’s support. The Customer Effort Score is an important indicator of obstacles to customer satisfaction.
THE CSAT SURVEY
“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with…?”
Customers respond by rating their satisfaction on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most satisfied. The score may be expressed as the percentage of the responses that are rated 5, very satisfied, or the average of all the responses expressed as a number between 1-5. Any score below 80% or 5 represents a decline in satisfaction.
This survey measures a customer’s satisfaction with a specific component of an organization and can be applied to any number of specifics from product quality to a support interaction. It is the most granular of the measurement tools. CSAT surveys, when properly deployed, can provide valuable feedback for a particular area of focus within an organization.
Strategic Measurement of Customer Satisfaction
When deployed strategically, each of these tools can provide a foundation for data driven continuous improvement initiatives at various levels within an organization. Some organizations may choose to include additional questions for clarification where appropriate. Others may conduct follow-up interviews after results have been captured to gain further insight to assist with improvement efforts. Consider developing a strategy for implementing customer engagement surveys that includes:
- A clear definition of what you want to measure
- A timeline of when surveys will be deployed along the customer life-cycle
- A system for tracking progress
- A plan for how the data will be used to enact changes.
When improvement initiatives are tied to accurate data points, positive results are likely to follow. Even if you are not able to implement a fully developed continuous improvement strategy, deploying surveys can give you a pulse on your relationship with your customers and act as a gateway to developing further initiatives. Contact INI to speak with a representative about incorporating an effective survey strategy alongside your other customer engagement applications, contributing to a maximized return on your IVR Platform investment.
Other articles in this series:
Part 1: Five Ways to Reduce Customer Effort
Part 3: Five Steps to an Effective Customer Feedback Program
* Customer Contact Council Study, 2010