CSAT is a customer experience metric that measures customer satisfaction with your product or service. It also helps you identify specific pain points in your customer journey in order to see which aspects of the journey should be improved.
Customers are asked to respond to one simple survey question: “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [specific transaction]?” They respond using a sliding scale of 1 – 5, with 1 indicating “very dissatisfied” and 5 indicating “very satisfied.” To provide more specific insights, customers are usually asked one follow-up question such as “Why are you less than very satisfied?” or “How can we increase your satisfaction?”
There’s no question that when their expectations are met, customers are generally happy and will remain loyal, a fact made clear by Forrester who reports that 81% of survey respondents are very likely to provide repeat business to firms that have exceeded their expectations. Therefore, given the importance of maintaining customer happiness, many businesses are adopting CSAT, a relatively frictionless way to gauge customer sentiment about their experiences. In fact, 80% of customer service organizations use CSAT scores as their main metric for measuring their customer experience.
But despite the fact that CSAT is a very popular metric, it has also been the focus of scrutiny, with some critics arguing that it provides information that is either too inconsequential or a weak predictor of future behavior. Unfortunately, these critics overlook the benefits CSAT does yield. Here are three of those benefits.
Argument #1: CSAT is weak because it doesn’t measure overall customer satisfaction
CSAT 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.
And because it takes twelve good experiences to make up for just one bad experience, it pays to make sure that every interaction across the journey 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 buying process. This enables a business to quickly identify and fix specific friction points which could hamper customer satisfaction.
Argument #2: Measuring individual transactions isn’t that important
Some have argued that because CSAT only measures a customer’s most recent interaction, too much attention is paid to short-term happiness which isn’t a useful indicator of true satisfaction. However, critics overlook the fact that measuring satisfaction with each interaction makes it possible to quickly identify whether there is a problem if the problem has been resolved, and how happy the customer is with the resolution. Critics also overlook that each interaction contributes to the customer’s overall journey with a brand.
While it’s true that that overall satisfaction is a 30% better predictor of customer happiness than measuring happiness for each individual interaction, measuring each interaction does allow you to track, for instance, if you are resolving issues in a timely manner, which 69% of respondents to a recent study associated with good customer service. Moreover, because customers are surveyed immediately after a transaction, they are more likely to provide you with specific, honest feedback about a specific interaction while it’s still fresh in their mind.
Argument #3: A satisfied customer isn’t necessarily a loyal customer
Critics of CSAT forget that customers are increasingly turning to businesses which can provide superior customer service. An American Express study reveals that 3 out of 5 customers are willing to give up a former favorite brand in order to have a better service experience. At the same time, Right Now’s Customer Experience Impact Report reveals that 9 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
Clearly, businesses that provide a high-level of customer care will be rewarded. Delivering an excellent experience will not only enable you to attract new customers but also inspire those you already have to stick around. A simple CSAT survey can help as it will show your customers that you are not only interested in hearing from them but that you are invested in delivering the easiest, most convenient solutions at every step in the buying process. They will, undoubtedly, appreciate the gesture and be more likely to provide you with the feedback you need to address any issues before they become large-scale problems.
Businesses agree that customer satisfaction is a high-priority metric. Measuring and improving your customer experience will not only ensure that your customers are receiving the very best service but also give you the competitive edge. In fact, it will become the lifeblood of your business.
And although CSAT isn’t the only way to measure customer experience, it is certainly one of the most effective. If you take the time to carefully listen to your customers, knowing what frustrates them, what delights them, and what unmet needs they have, you will be much better equipped to build and maintain a thriving business.