Everything CX Leaders Need to Know About Customer Satisfaction Metrics

woman on phone

Customer service leaders have a lot of data to track and interpret, with customer service satisfaction metrics as some of the most important. But these satisfaction metrics aren’t just for evaluating the efficacy of support agents. They also correlate strongly to customer loyalty and can help inform business decisions across various departments.

We’re covering some of the most frequently asked questions our CX team receives about the most valuable customer satisfaction metrics and the best customer service measurement methods. Use this guide as a quick reference point when measuring and tracking customer satisfaction.

Why Is Customer Satisfaction Important?

The core reasons to prioritize customer satisfaction are customer loyalty, customer lifetime value and word-of-mouth brand promotion.

However, customer satisfaction can also be correlated to agent satisfaction (ASAT); when one side’s satisfaction levels improve, so do the other’s. Higher agent happiness supports improved performance, employee retention and decreased business and recruiting costs.

What Are the Benefits of Monitoring Customer Satisfaction?

As we’ve established, delivering a great customer experience makes good business sense from all angles. Measuring customer service satisfaction metrics allows you to find out whether or not you’re actually delivering exceptional CX.

You can identify what you’re already doing well and stick to those strategies. And, you can discover new pain points and areas that need improvement. With a data-driven customer service strategy in place, teams across your company will be empowered to formulate the best customer journey possible.

How Do You Measure Customer Service Performance and Success?

Finding the right customer satisfaction measurement system requires setting clear and actionable goals. When choosing metrics for measuring customer service and developing customer satisfaction survey questions, make sure these are aligned with higher-level objectives.

For instance, do you primarily want to track brand loyalty, improve case resolution time or monitor agent effectiveness? You’ll use different parameters to measure customer satisfaction than you would use to track agent performance.

If you’re seeking a 360-degree view of the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of your customer support, you might want to combine operational metrics with customer experience metrics for a more well-rounded perspective.

What Types of Metrics Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Here are the top four customer service satisfaction metrics to measure client satisfaction:

  1. Net promoter score (NPS)
  2. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
  3. Customer effort score (CES)
  4. Sentiment analysis

In essence, a quick customer metrics definition would be that NPS is a measure of loyalty, CES is a measure of effort, CSAT is a measure of satisfaction and sentiment analysis is a measure of emotion. Let’s take a closer look at each of these customer service satisfaction metrics.

What Is NPS?

Net promoter score is a calculation of the percentage of a company’s true advocates, and one of a surprisingly versatile customer satisfaction level measurement.

When asked a question such as, “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague?” and prompted to respond on a 10-point Likert scale (with 10 being “highly likely”), advocates are the customers who respond with nine or 10. Detractors are those who respond with a score from zero to six.

NPS is helpful in identifying strong brand advocates, but it also identifies those who are reporting a negative CX. If a customer leaves a low response, it’s good practice to reach out to find out where things went wrong and to offer proactive support.

Armed with more specific knowledge about why a customer gave a certain rating, customer service agents can directly address those issues, thereby potentially improving CX for all customers.

What Is CSAT Score?

Customer satisfaction score is one of the most insightful and specific customer satisfaction survey metrics. It’s used to measure an individual customer’s feelings about a specific interaction with your support team. Again, CSAT is measured through a Likert scale question.

“One of the benefits of CSAT surveys is that you can gather feedback from customers immediately after an interaction with your team,” explains Kustomer’s Senior Product Manager John Merse. “This helps you better understand customers’ experiences in real time. You can segment the results by agent, team and — most importantly — channel.”

For the most accurate assessment of customer satisfaction, you’ll need to measure CSAT across different channels and review the results collectively.

“In a true omnichannel environment it’s important to understand that each channel is unique and requires a specific communication style,” Merse adds. “For example, while you may have a 90%-plus satisfaction via email, if you are not tracking chat or SMS, you might find that your communication is not as effective and your overall customer satisfaction is not as high as you think.”

If you’re wondering what a good CSAT score is, check out this list of benchmarks segmented by industry from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

What Is CES?

Customer effort score is a customer service metric that provides deeper insights into CX during a support interaction.

“You can essentially think of CES as tracking the effort a customer puts into using your product or service,” Merse says. “The more effort that is needed over time will likely erode their loyalty.”

A CES survey might ask to what extent a customer agrees with a statement like, “This company made it easy for me to handle my issue.” This score helps measure the overall effectiveness of support.

Gartner, which developed the CES metric, reports that customer effort is the most significant factor in a customer’s loyalty or disloyalty. Monitoring CES can help CX leaders uncover and remedy high-effort pain points in customer interactions for more frictionless support.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis — also known as opinion mining — is the process of determining whether a customer’s language reflects positive, negative or neutral sentiment. Using natural language processing capabilities, CX professionals can gain automated insights into the emotions driving customer interactions.

Sentiment scores assign a numeric value to the message, conversation and customer. Reports based on sentiment changes or themes related to positive or negative sentiment can help you better understand your customers and the service they’re experiencing.

Can I Use CES in Combination With Sentiment, CSAT or NPS?

Absolutely! By combining customer service satisfaction metrics, you can access a more complete understanding of the customer support experience. For instance, although a CES score tells you effort level, it doesn’t get to the why of the customer’s response or how they feel overall about your brand. For that, you need additional customer service satisfaction metrics.

What are some strategies for improving customer satisfaction?

Here are six strategies that can have a huge payoff on CX and customer satisfaction rates:

  1. Utilize best-in-class customer service as a brand differentiator. Many customer-first brands and category disruptors have already done this, but it’s never too late for change at your own organization.
  2. Segment your satisfaction scores by demographics, products and support channels to uncover underlying problems in specific areas.
  3. Reinvest in your customer support team with new, customer-oriented skills and training programs.
  4. Deliver proactive support to minimize negative CX. This could involve sending notifications about shipping delays, getting ahead of negative reviews with offers or product exchanges and similar strategies.
  5. Provide customers with easily navigable self-service content. A strong knowledge base or FAQ section helps customers resolve basic issues on their own.
  6. Evaluate whether your customer service technology is truly empowering your agents to deliver exceptional quality. Have high expectations for your technology partners and find software solutions that support a unified omnichannel experience.

Got more questions about measuring and interpreting customer satisfaction metrics? Connect with a CX expert at Kustomer.
 

How CES Can Help Your CX and Product Teams Work Better Together

Brandon McFadden is Kustomer’s Customer Success & Support Manager, you can follow him on Twitter at @brandontonio.

This post was adapted from a workshop delivered at Support Driven Expo in Portland. We had a blast sharing and learning with the Support Driven audience, check out their recap here, as well one from Jeremy Watkin at FCR that discusses our presentation as well!

While they may not always understand each other, your Customer Experience (CX) and Product teams actually do want the same things. However, they speak two different languages. With the right metrics, specifically using Customer Effort Scores, you can make informed, data-backed decisions from customer feelings that will ensure you’re making the right choice.

Product goals typically focus on adding new features, achieving parity with competitors, or fixing issues that are affecting adoption, ease of use, or the ability to wow your customers. Their job is to anticipate what the customer will want next.

On the other hand, CX is usually focused on what customers say they want now—because they hear from them every day, all day. CX wants faster handle times, lower email volumes, reduced complexity, and the power to wow your customers.

When these two teams work in sync, amazing things can happen. CX has especially deep insight into customers wants and needs based on thousands of firsthand interactions, while product has the full scope of your company’s technological capabilities, business goals, and product roadmap, and are great at coming up with new innovations before customers even know what they want. However, there’s often a recurring problem in the Product / CX dynamic. When Product has the window of time to ask CX for their input on what “problems to tackle next”, the two sides can disagree. When looking at where customers spend the most time using the platform, and where they’re having the most difficulties, CX will advocate for smoothing out a more complex problem that affects fewer users. Product will often lean towards reducing the highest quantity (because that represents a larger base of users and a more frequent touchpoint), so that a greater number of users will have an even faster experience.

While seemingly different, there is one key ingredient: Both teams want to wow customers! Finally, common ground!

Another common language we all speak are shared company goals. The aim of all these features and fixes are the same: more renewals, more referrals, more repeat customers, and faster resolutions. Making decisions about how to get there can be tricky. This is because it is hard to measure the feelings of your customers, yet feelings are how humans make decisions.

At this point most teams will most likely look to NPS or CSAT to help give direction towards the issues to focus on fixing, but those traditional metrics can often be very misleading. Scenarios wherein a customer gives you an NPS score of “10” may only actually recommend you when they find someone who they feel is just like them (as smart and with the patience to put up with the complex support issues they faced). Most of the time, when the moment comes for them to make the recommendation their NPS score said they would, they don’t do it. Likewise, CSAT may provide a very high 9/10 rating of your amazing agents, but what the customer is left feeling is “why did I even have to call in the first place?”. Feelings are the gateway to actions. So while they like spending time with your agents, it doesn’t mean they will feel comfortable continuing to deal with these issues (churn) or suggesting you to a friend. This is all because of the expectation or effort gap.

So, how do you get to the root of this disagreement in expectations AND quantify feelings? It seems like the correct course should be obvious. Product is in the right on this one surely, the fix that affects the most users (in this example it’s improving refund requests) should be completed first. Why would the CX team think otherwise?

This is where CES shines. As CX pros, we see a different side to the story in this chart. The problem that is only affecting a minority of users (plan correction, in this case), is where you’re letting customers down the most. Sure, it’s lower quantity/volume than the other issues, but those customers are having a far worse experience based on their expectations, and taking up just as much of CX’s attention/time as the other issues. CX hears their complaints, and their frustration is visceral. From your customers’ perspective, it seems like making their experience way better would only require you to “just change a bit of code” (cut to thousands of engineers slamming their heads against their desks). AHT is important, but only tells part of this story, but CES makes it much clearer.

Measuring CES puts the severity of the problem in stark relief, and puts a hard number next to what your CX team has been feeling all along. Now it’s easy to see that these customers are doing more than spending more time on the phone—they’re actively struggling to deal with your company, and you’re probably losing them as a result. This issue is even greater if you’re a startup designed to “save you time” or “simplify” our lives, you’re literally training your customers to expect everything (including service) to be smarter, faster, and effortless. This problem is even worse if you are in an industry where external factors can slow up resolutions (medical, financial, insurance, etc). Improving the other issues on this list shouldn’t be neglected, but prioritize the customers who are unhappy first. Most won’t notice if their attempt to get a refund was 15 seconds faster (a 25% efficiency gain!), but they will definitely appreciate when a more complex issue becomes a breeze when the “industry norm” is so much more—and will likely save your CX team more time in the long run.

There’s even a school of thought that says you shouldn’t fix those simple problems that your team is great at handling and consistently giving that wow experience because it is another chance to exceed expectations. This is because every interaction is a chance to build a deeper relationship with your customers, and if you’re delighting thousands of them with a simple call or email, you’re deepening each one of those connected feelings in the process. This is despite having a problem in the first place. Remember, you are often judged more on your resolution than you are on the problem itself. Of course, you want every experience to be as smooth as possible and for customers to never have a problem, but by not trying to eliminate these homerun issues entirely you get easy opportunities to impress and excite your customers. Certainly, something to consider when making the case to not always simply fix the highest volume issues. And, with CES, you’ll always know if those issues are beginning to wear your audience’s patience thin.

In my experience, Product and CX are on the same page 95% of the time, but they may not always be speaking the same language. So when there is a disconnect, it’s always down to looking at the data to clear up those disagreements. Ultimately, CX deals with feelings directly more than any other team, and are therefore tasked with quantifying the qualitative. For that reason, having a platform that measures CES can drive CX and Product teams to make your customers’ experience exceed their expectations.

Deliver effortless, personalized customer service.

Request Live DemoStart Interactive Demo