One of the most common mistakes businesses make is their failure to consistently gather feedback throughout their customers’ lifespan. In fact, only 1 out of 4 companies have a well-developed strategy for gathering feedback, the insights from which could be used to improve customer experience and satisfaction and, therefore, increase loyalty. These businesses overlook the importance of asking customers what they think, leveraging the feedback to not only deliver an experience which caters to their needs and wants but also guides future marketing campaigns and improves products and services.
One of the most effective ways to deliver a competitive experience, one which ensures loyalty, is to ask customers to complete a quick and easy survey which not only measures the current performance of the business but also anticipates its future performance. Customer feedback enables the business to:
- Understand what it needs to change to improve customer loyalty.
- Compare progress from previous months or quarters to gauge improvements in customer experience.
- Determine how each product or service impacts customer loyalty.
Thankfully, there are a number of basic but useful metrics any business can use to assess its current performance and predict its future, metrics which can be adopted depending on the specific needs of the business. Here are three of the most popular:
CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)
- Survey question: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [specific transaction]?” The question isn’t meant to serve as an overall satisfaction metric but, instead, to evaluate one specific interaction such as a customer support call or buying transaction. This means that the question can – and should – be used to measure various interactions across the customer journey.
- Customer response: Customers use a simple rating scale: Very satisfied / Somewhat satisfied / Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied / Somewhat dissatisfied / Very dissatisfied.
- Possible follow-up question: A probing follow-up question like “Why are you less than very satisfied?” or “How can we increase your satisfaction?” identifies specific strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to fix problems which decrease satisfaction.
- Strengths: Because it takes twelve good experiences to make up for just one bad experience, it pays to make sure that every interaction leaves customers with a positive impression. Fortunately, because CSAT is especially versatile, it’s easy to create customized questions related to any step in the customer journey. This enables a business to quickly identify and fix specific friction points which could hamper customer satisfaction.
NPS (Net Promoter Score)
- Survey question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” The main premise of this question is that it provides a simple and accurate measurement of customer loyalty.
- Customer response: Responses to the question fall on a scale of 0 – 10 with 10 being ‘extremely likely’. Responses are then segmented into three groups: brand detractors (0 to 6), passives (7 to 8) and promoters (9 to 10). The goal is to find out what makes promoters happy so that a business can replicate the same thing with its passives and detractors.
- Possible follow-up question: Asking “What is the most important reason for your score?” eliminates any need to guess at what customers consider to be most important. Whatever it is, the follow-up question will extract feedback that can be used to make improvements, turning detractors into promoters, and promoters into brand evangelists.
- Strengths: The NPS is, essentially, a loyalty metric, helping business’s understand their customer interactions and, more specifically, how likely customers are to recommend them based on those interactions. Considering that word-of-mouth recommendations, coming from people we trust, are generally considered the most valuable form of marketing, increasing consumer trust by 72%, no business can afford to take positive word-of-mouth for granted. In fact, businesses who experience high levels of brand advocacy via word-of-mouth have been shown to outgrow their competition by 2.5 times.
CES (Customer Effort Score)
- Survey question: There are two common variations: “How easy was it for you to handle your issue?” or “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?”
- Customer response: Customers use a simple 5-point scale*: Far less than I expected / Slightly less than I expected / About what I expected / Slightly more than I expected / Far more than I expected.
*Sometimes businesses prefer to use a 7-point scale, providing customers with additional response choices.
- Possible follow-up question: Simply ask “Why?” to identify concrete reasons for the response.
- Strengths: Customers expect a seamless experience with little to no friction. Yet, as demonstrated by one recent study, many have recently experienced inconsistent service (71%), unclear information (47%), communication problems across channels (35%), and/or delays in problem resolution (24%), all of which are identified as top reasons for customer dissatisfaction and, obviously, increase the chances of abandoning one brand for another.
Strategic customer satisfaction management is necessary for businesses to survive and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. And although none of these metrics may be 100% perfect for the needs of every business, CSAT, NPS and CES are, nevertheless, important tools for monitoring and improving customer relationships. With careful assessment of each, your business can make sure it is putting the most appropriate measures in place, ensuring customer happiness and your long-term success.