91% of unhappy customers will never buy from you again ( Liveworkstudio ). The number one objective of any business should therefore be to create happy customers. Businesses that do, grow and flourish; those that don't, stagnate and perish.
But for the #1 objective it's poorly presented in companies' metrics to track. This is partly because measuring customer satisfaction is not as straightforward as e.g. measuring revenue streams or website visitors, making it hard to set up clear goals.
There are, however, some great methods and metrics out there designed for exactly this purpose. Let's go through some that you can apply in your business today.
1Customer Satisfaction Surveys
The customer satisfaction survey is the standard approach for collecting data on customer happiness. It consists of asking your customers how satisfied they are, with or without follow up questions. Three useful variations:
- In-App Surveys
- Post-Service Surveys
- Long Email Surveys
In-App Surveys. With this you integrate a subtle feedback bar inside your website, with generally not more than one or two questions. It’s one of the methods with the highest response rates, thanks to the fact that the customer is asked for her opinion while she’s engaged with your company. In-app surveys are especially handy to measure some of the standard customer satisfaction metrics, like NPS or CES covered below.
The 8 Core Principles of Good Customer Service
Performance in any field is guided by a few core principles. Here are the ones governing the quality of customer service.
First principle thinking
SurveyMonkey offers some great tools for implementing an in-app survey on your website.
Post Service Surveys. This type of survey focuses on the customer’s satisfaction with a specific service she’s just received. You ask it right after the delivery, when it's still fresh in the mind. This can be done in email support with a rating link in the mail, or in live chat with a rating view that appears after the chat. It can also be done over the phone, but it's somewhat problematic because it takes more time from the customer, and she might not feel comfortable sharing an unfiltered opinion.
Post-service satisfaction surveys are a built-in feature of most live chat solutions.
In certain cases, you have a face-to-face touchpoint with your customer after the service, for example in a restaurant. This is an excellent opportunity to collect feedback on the spot using a tablet. A great iPad survey tool is Survey Anyplace, which also offers offline surveys : you can collect survey responses without internet connection and sync the data afterwards.
Email Surveys. The above survey methods aren't suitable for in-depth insights about your customer happiness. Why are they happy or unhappy? Email surveys, on the other hand, are a good tool for this. Although they have a downside of low response rates (10% - 15%, according to SurveyGizmo ), they do allow your customer to take their time in answering multiple questions. Google Forms is an excellent free tool for this purpose. Find a survey template here . Also check out this list of Survey Questions Do's and Dont's .
Google Forms allows you to create powerful surveys, fast.
2Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
This is the most standard customer satisfaction metric, asking your customer to rate her satisfaction with your business, product, or service. Your CSAT score is then the average rating of your customer responses.
The scale typically ranges between 1 – 3, 1 – 5, or 1 – 10. A larger range is not always better, due to cultural differences in how people rate their satisfaction. An article in Psychological Science , for example, showed that people in individualistic countries choose the more extreme sides more frequently than those in collectivistic countries.
An American is more likely to rate a service as “amazing” or “terrible” than for example a Japanese, who will stick to “fine” or “not satisfactory." Such differences are important to be aware of with an international customer base.
The US government gathers feedback with a simple emoji-based CSAT question.
Simpler scales are more robust to cultural differences and more suited for capturing service quality. This is why the US government uses a simple emoji-based CSAT question for its feedback, and why the live chat survey example above uses a 5-star rating.
The charm of the CSAT metric comes from its directness. The downside, however, is that satisfaction is hard to estimate, even for the customer. It’s directed at a sentiment , which is fleeting and mood dependent.
3Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likeliness of a customer referring you to someone, and it’s probably the most popular way of measuring customer loyalty . Customer are asked how likely they are to recommend you on a scale from 1 to 10.
The strength from NPS is that it's not about an emotion of satisfaction, but about your intention of referring – which is easier to answer. It cuts down to the question of whether the product is good enough to put your own reputation on the line.
Calculating your NPS score is quite easy. Take the percentage of respondents who fall within the ‘promoter’ category (10 - 9) and subtract the percentage of ‘detractors’ (0 - 6).
NPS data is easily gathered through in-app or email surveys.
Some tools for measuring NPS work with email questionnaires. Examples are Trustfuel NPS (free) and Promoter.io (paid). Others work with in-app surveys, like Wootric (freemium). The Net Promoter Network offers a a benchmark report to give you insight about how you compare in your industry.
One added benefit of NPS is that it directs your customers’ attention towards referring, an option they might not have thought about before.
4Customer Effort Score (CES)
With this method, customers aren’t asked for their satisfaction or likeliness of referring, but for the effort it took them to have their issue solved — generally on a scale from 1 (very low effort) to 7 (very high effort).
Your aim is, of course, to lower this average score. According to CEB , 96% of customers with a high effort score showed reduced loyalty in the future, while that was the case with only 9% of those who reported low effort scores.
Source: CheckMarket .
This idea for a customer satisfaction metric was introduced in the Harvard Business Review article Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers .
It challenges the accepted idea that excellent customer service equals exceeding customer expectations. Through their analysis, the authors found that customers are much more likely to punish bad service than to reward good service.
They showed that the costs of exceeded customer expectations are high, while the payoffs are minimal.
Userlike: Instant chats, long-term customer relationships
Over 10,000 companies like Toyota and Hermes trust Userlike to connect with their customers every day - via website chat, WhatsApp, chatbots and more.
Instead of putting all that effort into delighting the customer, the authors argue it should be invested in making the customer experience and problem resolution as easy as possible .
The authors found that the the ease of having your problems resolved was a much better predictor for satisfaction than having expectations exceeded. Improve the customer experience by easifying your customer’s journey.
This new service philosophy requires different measurements, which is why the CES was developed. They showed that CES is superior to CSAT and NPS in predicting consumer behavior .
Don’t ask, “How satisfied are you with this service?” ; ask, “How easy was it to get in contact/make a purchase/have your issue resolved?”
Relevance is crucial here. The time to pop the question is right after your customer had her experience. Otherwise, the ease of the experience might have been forgotten. It can be asked in-app (ease of the website/app experience), via live chat , or via email (ease of the service).
CheckMarket offers a free template to create your own CES survey. With some tweaking, many customer service tools are suited for this purpose. Read more in our post on how to get to the right customer effort score question .
5Social Media Monitoring
Social media has had an immense impact on the relationship between business and customer. Where before, a great or poor service experience would maybe be shared with the closest family and friends, social media offered an outlet and reach to potentially millions of people.
Mention provides you with real-time updates on brand mentions.
Because of that, it’s the perfect place to hear what your customers are really thinking about you. If you have the right tools to track this, that is.
Facebook and Twitter are of course relevant platforms to track, but also platforms like Quora, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
Some helpful tools:
- Google Alerts . This Google service notifies you when your brand appears in a prominent position.
- Mention . A powerful freemium tool that gives you a heads up whenever your brand is mentioned on the web. It’s especially handy for social media tracking, for which Google Alerts is not suitable.
- Socialmention . A free tool that analyzes social mentions of your brand on the web. Among others, it shows the likeliness of your brand being discussed on the web, the ratio of positive to negative mentions, the likelihood of people mentioning your brand repeatedly and the range of influence.
6Things Gone Wrong
This metric originates from the Lean Six Sigma approach , and measures the number of complaints, or "Things Gone Wrong," per 100, 1000, or up to a 1,000,000 units of survey responses, units sold, or other.
The standard approach to measure TGW is through complaint sections in customer surveys, but you could also maintain internal metrics. In the worst case scenario your score is 1 or higher, meaning that you get at least 1 complaint per chosen unit.
Nobody likes things going wrong, which is exactly why we should focus on it.
Once you start measuring, you can start optimizing. And optimizing your customer satisfaction is the best investment you can make.
For related topics on measurement methods, check out our posts on measuring customer loyalty , how to measure service quality , and customer service KPIs .
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
You can calculate CSAT using a scale of 1-3 to 1-10 and anything in between. When collecting responses, ask consumers how satisfied they are with your offering or service – with one being highly unsatisfied and the top number of the scale being highly satisfied.
According to The State of the Customer Experience survey that we did earlier in 2018, all companies track customer experience using one or several of the 6 worldwide recognized customer experience metrics: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Churn rate, Retention rate, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) ...
Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)
As the most commonly used and straightforward method of measuring customer satisfaction, the CSAT survey asks customers to rate their satisfaction directly on a scale.
Select your survey medium.
In general, there are three primary methods by which you can send customer satisfaction surveys: In-App or On-Site Surveys. Post-Service or Post-Purchase Surveys. Long Email Surveys.
One of the most common methods of measuring customer satisfaction is through surveys. Respondents record their feedback via multiple-choice questions, rating questions, open-ended questions, etc.
Customer feedback is another good measure of your service. To collect information on customer satisfaction, you could use survey cards where customers rate aspects of your service (e.g on a scale of 1 to 5). You can ask for feedback on specific aspects of your business or leave forms open-ended, like a suggestion box.
The Most Important Customer Satisfaction Metrics
Commonly used metrics for assessing customer satisfaction include Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES).
- The Customer Satisfaction Score. ...
- The Customer Effort Score. ...
- The Net Promoter Score.
Besides the use of surveys, brands can measure customer satisfaction by monitoring and analyzing other metrics such as social media sentiment (to see what customers are saying about the brand), frequency of complaints or enquiries, level response to loyalty promos (coupons or seasonal sales) and frequency of repeat ...
There are four main types of customer satisfaction surveys: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), Product-Market Fit.
To position themselves for success, businesses must integrate high-quality customer service into every interaction point. Example: If a customer receives top-notch support after experiencing a product issue months after purchase, they're likely to recommend your brand to friends and family.
The formula for customer value can be written as: (Total Customer Benefits - Total Customer Costs) = Customer Value, or (B - C = CV).
- Ask for feedback and take action. ...
- Offer multiple forms of communication for customer support. ...
- Design a custom contact form. ...
- Respond in a timely manner. ...
- Provide 24/7 customer support. ...
- Create customer rewards. ...
- Give transparent information.
- Get to know your customer's needs.
- Develop an in-house customer-first culture.
- Customise the customer experience to meet your customer's needs.
- Optimise the customer experience.
- Measure and improve customer satisfaction.