Everything CX Leaders Need to Know about Customer Satisfaction Metrics

Customer service leaders have a lot of metrics to track and interpret, with customer satisfaction data as some of the most important — and often underutilized. Satisfaction metrics aren’t just for evaluating the efficacy of your support agents; they also correlate strongly to customer lifetime value and loyalty, and can provide valuable insight to teams throughout your organization.

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions our CX team receives about customer satisfaction metrics. Use this guide as a quick reference point for CSAT, CES, NPS, and sentiment analysis.

What are the most common customer satisfaction metrics?

There are four core ways that customer service leaders track satisfaction:

  1. NPS
  2. CSAT
  3. CES
  4. Sentiment

Here’s a quick (and simplistic) way to think of them: NPS is a measure of loyalty, CES is a measure of effort, CSAT is a measure of satisfaction, and sentiment is a measure of emotion. Finding the right metrics for your customer service operation requires setting a clear purpose for the reporting. The metrics, questions, and frequency you select should align to high-level goals (e.g., do you primarily want to track brand loyalty, improve resolution time, provide product feedback, or monitor agent effectiveness?)

Quick Guide to CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is most often used to measure a customer’s feelings about a specific interaction with your support team. It’s really measuring the agent interaction versus how difficult it was to accomplish something or feelings about the brand overall. For that reason, it’s typically sent immediately following an interaction with an agent.

“One of the benefits of CSAT surveys is that you can gather feedback from customers immediately after an interaction with your team. This helps you better understand customers’ experiences in real time, and can segment the results by agent, team and most importantly channel,” notes Kustomer’s Senior Product Manager John Merse. “In a true omnichannel environment it’s important to understand that each channel is unique and requires a specific communication style. For example, while you may have a 90%+ 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 not as high as you think.”

Relying on one overall CSAT calculation for an entire customer support operation often isn’t illustrative enough of a metric for an enterprise organization. It’s considered best in class to also be running segmentations to identify any outlier activity. For example, are you segmenting your CSAT scores by demographic or product? And how are you combining CSAT with other metrics more indicative of customer value or loyalty? Read on for more info about how these tools can be used together.

What is a good CSAT score?

The average CSAT rating is 8.4, according to provider Nicereply, who benchmark a strong CSAT average rating of 8 or higher. The ACSI also offers customer satisfaction benchmarks segmented by industry.

Quick guide to CES (Customer Effort Score)

CES is a newer metric that focuses on experiences with support, typically rating the amount of effort a customer had to go through to resolve their issue. “You can essentially think of CES as tracking the effort a customer puts into using your product or service. The more effort that is needed over time will likely erode their loyalty ,” summarizes Merse. A CES survey, for example, might ask to what extent a customer agrees with the statement X brand made it easy for me to handle my issue. This score helps measure overall effectiveness of support, as opposed to specific agent interactions.

Why should CX leaders focus on customer effort? “If you can only measure one thing, it should be effort,” says Sarah Dibble, executive advisor at Gartner (formerly CEB, which created the metric). “Our research finds that effort is the strongest driver to customer loyalty.” Monitoring CES can help support team leaders uncover high-effort pain points in customer interactions — for example, a common trend is lower CES scores when support is available only on limited channels or time periods.

When are CES surveys typically sent? CES surveys are also typically sent immediately following an interaction with the support team, although the duration should be customized to meet the objectives of your team.

What is a good CES score?

Your CES scores will obviously vary depending on the question asked and scale used (e.g., 1-5 vs. smiles/frowns). According to provider Nicereply, look for a bell curve with most responses around 5 or a 6. If your goal is a best-in-class operation, making support frictionless should be a top priority.

Can I use CES in combination with CSAT or NPS?

Yes, many companies find that combining CES and CSAT or CES and NPS gives them a more complete understanding of the customer support experience. 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.

Quick guide to NPS (Net Promoter Score)

NPS is calculated with the percentage of a company’s true advocates (“9” and “10” on a 10-point recommendation scale) minus its detractors (“0” through “6” on this same scale). Based on research by Bain & Co, an NPS survey will always look the same—a scale from 0 to 10. The question itself can vary slightly, but most often reads as: “How likely are you to recommend X Brand to a friend or colleague?”


NPS is often used as a way to identify strong brand enthusiasts and also reach out to detractors. If a customer leaves a negative score, it’s considered a best practice to reach out for more information or to improve the situation with an offer or proactive support.

NPS as a metric also has its detractors (pun intended). In its calculation, a score of six is essentially equal to a zero — meaning improving a customer’s selection from a zero to a six would make no actual difference in the overall NPS score. While that is true in the aggregate, improving individual customer’s NPS scores has great value. Armed with the knowledge about why a customer gave a certain rating, customer service agents can directly address those issues and work with the customer to improve the situation. Companies can even compare CSAT and NPS scores to see how their support teams are helping to improve the individual and overall trends over time.

Quick guide to sentiment scoring for customer service

Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, is the process of determining whether language reflects positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. For customer service, sentiment analysis looks at the emotion behind customer communications. Using natural language processing capabilities, customer experience agents and supervisors can gain automated insights into the emotions behind customer interactions.

Sentiment scores (which assign a value to the message, conversation, and customer) can be used in combination with tools like NPS to get a multi-dimensional picture of customer satisfaction. Generating reports based on sentiment changes or the themes of positive or negative sentiment (like a specific product or experience) can help you better understand your customers.

Why is customer satisfaction important?

There are a range of data points supporting the value of satisfied customers. The core reasons to care about customer satisfaction are obvious: customer loyalty, customer lifetime value, and word of mouth. However, there are also less obvious reasons. Customer satisfaction can also be correlated to agent happiness (ASAT, agent satisfaction); no one wants to make people unhappy all day, so there’s a lot of research showing when one goes up, so does the other. Higher agent happiness of course correlates to retention and lower business and recruiting costs.

Here are some additional stats about why investing in customer satisfaction delivers ROI:

  • A 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profits from 25 percent to 95 percent, according to research from Bain & Company.
  • When service reps can provide better experiences to customers they feel better about their jobs, and their intent to stay increases up to 17%, according to Gartner.
  • According to CEB Global, 96% of consumers that reported having difficulty solving a problem were more disloyal.

 

What are some strategies for improving customer satisfaction?

There’s obviously a wealth of strategies and improvements CS and CX leaders can make to improve customer satisfaction. Here are a few of the focus areas that can have huge payoff:

  • If you don’t already have it, build executive buy-in and consensus for customer service as a brand differentiator. Sharing examples from leading people-first brands and category disruptors can help drive internal conversations about change. Many enterprise CX organizations are reinventing the names, skillsets, and trainings of their support teams because of the importance of the support experience to customer value.
  • Consider proactive support as a means to divert and avoid negative customer experiences. This can mean everything from pushing notifications about shipping delays to getting ahead of negative reviews with an offer or product exchange.
  • Evaluate whether your customer service technology is empowering your agents to quickly and efficiently resolve customer issues and deliver exceptional quality. Have high expectations for your technology partners to enable best-in-class solutions that have a unified omnichannel experience.
  • Segment your satisfaction scores by demographics, product, support channel, and more to see if there’s any underlying problems in specific areas.
  • Invest in self-service content that’s easy to find and navigate. A strong Knowledge Base or FAQ section can be the foundation for a more efficient customer support function, allowing customers to resolve their own questions without needing to contact support.

Got more questions about measuring and interpreting customer satisfaction metrics? Reach out to connect with a CX expert from Kustomer.

 

5 Reasons You Need to Measure Lifetime Value

In this post by Kustomer VP of Marketing Nelly Rinot, Nelly shares the key reasons why Lifetime Value should be your bottom-line metric for customer experience.

There is a huge number of good metrics to measure your customer service. However, Lifetime Value should always be your top consideration. Here are the top five reasons we’ve determined from our :

  1. Other metrics are geared around your agents, not your customers: Average Handle Time and First Contact Resolution are two prime examples of valuable metrics that don’t give you the insight you need beyond an operational approach. They make sense for figuring out how cost-effective your service is—how many customers your agents can handle before they’re at capacity. But while productive agents can help more customers faster, they should do more than work as fast as possible to resolve an issue. To deliver a good experience, your first consideration shouldn’t be efficiency—it should be whether your customers are happy.
  2. CSAT and NPS don’t give you the whole picture: These metrics are a great way to know whether your service is effective on a macro-level. If customers aren’t satisfied, you need to know. However, knowing that they’re unhappy and WHY they’re unhappy are two very different things. CSAT and NPS measure if you are satisfying your customers in the moment, but doesn’t tell you about their behavior after you’ve engaged. Plus, these surveys only capture a tiny, unrepresentative minority of customers. And in most cases, they’re only speaking to the interaction they just had, not their entire experience with your brand.
  3. Sentiment doesn’t tell you what your customers aren’t saying: Sentiment based on natural language processing is less biased than CSAT and NPS, because it accounts for all the interactions on every channel. That’s a huge step up, but it still won’t answer fundamental questions about your business—you still don’t know what’s going unsaid. Only 1 out of every 26 customers complain if something is wrong with their experience, so even high volume NLP only measures a fraction of what’s going on beneath the surface.
  4. Other metrics don’t take actions into account: For a total customer view, you need to understand all of your customers’ actions and behaviors on top of all the previous metrics. Other metrics don’t record how often they’ve contacted you for service or support, if their buying behaviors have changed, if they’ve abandoned items in their cart, changed their subscription tier, returned or exchanged a product, or engaged with you on social media. All of these actions will help you understand why your customers will or will not come back to buy again.
  5. Lifetime Value is the best predictor of your brand’s success: A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%, according to Bain & Company. Getting customers to keep buying from you is fundamental to growing your business. No matter what else you know about your customers, if you don’t know their Lifetime Value, you don’t know if you’re going to be successful.

Using a variety of customer experience metrics is crucial for getting a better understanding of your business. They all give you an important piece of the bigger picture. However, if they don’t ladder up towards Lifetime Value, then you don’t know how your service, support, and experience are contributing to overall business health. If you aren’t measuring LTV yet, good news—it’s never too late to start.

Tell Me How You Really Feel: The Best Metric For Finding What Your Customers Need

Brandon McFadden is Kustomer’s Customer Success & Support Manager, you can follow him on Twitter at @brandontonio. Read his post on using CES to help your product and service teams work better together here. The following was adapted from a workshop delivered at Support Driven Expo in Portland, OR.

After recently writing a piece about using CES to help your product teams, I received some questions asking, among other things, what CES even is. So I wanted to go over that here.

Customer Effort Scoring is one of the most effective ways to understand how your audience feels about their experience, and has some distinct advantages over methods like CSAT and NPS. The principle is simple: you’re asking your customers how difficult it was to solve their issue or complete a transaction. Like NPS or CSAT, it only takes one question to get the information you need. Below we can see two examples of CES survey questions:

So what makes a Customer Effort Score such a useful metric? The answer is rooted in human nature, specifically feelings. 96% of customers don’t complain when they’re unhappy, however they’re four times as likely to defect to a competitor if they have a problem. So while finding out if your customers enjoy their experience is critical, it doesn’t always tell the whole story. Here’s the kicker: 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. So even if your service is best-in-class for your industry, if your customers have unknown, higher expectations and your service feels lacking, they’re going to retain that feeling going forward. So the real question for the data-driven team is: How do you quantify feelings?

That’s why CES is so useful—it can tell you how your customers really feel, where other methods focus on intent and how your customers see themselves instead of addressing the feelings that drive their actions. While your clients may give a high CSAT score, what they’re saying is “I really liked talking to your team, they are AMAZING!” (and who doesn’t want to hear that?) but what they might also be thinking (feeling) is, “Why did I even have to call in the first place?” Most people don’t want to speak badly about or hurt the career of an agent, especially when they solved the problem, but they will hold a negative experience against your brand as a whole when their expectation was that the fix should have been easier—or if they never expected to have this problem to start with. To make matters worse, this usually only manifests itself when it is time to recommend your service/product. Lesson? Your agents might be doing great work (of course they are, you hire great people), but that doesn’t always lead to more referrals and repeat customers.

Typically this is where NPS seems like it should provide the other half of the picture you’re missing from CSAT. If customers are satisfied but not willing to recommend you, then something in your experience is lacking, right?. There’s nothing wrong with that assumption, but NPS also has pitfalls of its own, once again sabotaged by feelings. Often, customers will say they would recommend you to their friends, but in practice, they don’t. Interestingly, the problem is found in the NPS question itself: “How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend?”. When we think of our friends, we think of people just like us, same skill aptitude, same patience, same willingness to put up with the “why did I even have to call about this” issues. But in reality, when it comes time to make the actual recommendation, they balk. They think “oh, they aren’t as technical as me” or “they likely don’t have the same patience with that issue like I did”. So while maybe they would recommend your product in general, on a one-to-one basis, they might have lingering doubts about a difficult experience and don’t feel their personal friends would have the patience to deal with your service.

What NPS and CSAT don’t do well is make it easy to identify your customers’ hidden frustrations and reluctance to advocate for you in the real world. Neither help you pinpoint the parts of your product or process that cause the most frustration, not simply have the most quantity. This is why 82% of US companies report that they are “customer-centric”, while only 18% of US customers agree. Clearly, there’s a disconnect between how companies see themselves, and how customers see them. But if their NPS and CSAT scores are high, why should they think otherwise?

Ultimately, this is because customers are thinking: “If you really cared about me, then why are you making it so hard to do something I think should be so easy?” It’s probably a question you’ve even asked yourself when you’ve been on the phone with customer support. Fortunately, with CES, these feelings are able to be captured and quantified.

Let’s look at an example of the Customer Expectation Gap in action. I recently had two experiences where my expectations and the reality were way off, giving me two very different opinions of the organizations I was dealing with after the fact. Those organizations were Amazon and the DMV—about as different as you can get. One is “tech” and optimized to solve your problems, and the other is the DMV.

I’m pretty sure that if I offered you the choice of getting a new license at the DMV or requesting a refund from Amazon—you would choose Amazon every time (and for good reason, their support is fantastic). While I didn’t have to choose in the moment, I did have to get a refund for a Netflix gift-card purchased through Amazon (silly me, didn’t coordinate with my brother). Given their renowned and very streamlined buying experiences, I thought the process would be just as easy. In a way, you could say that they trained me to think this would be just as easy as buying. This, frankly, is the blessing/curse of tech. We spend endless time making things easier, automating, reducing effort—meaning it hurts that much more when this doesn’t happen with Support resolutions. Inversely, around the same time, I needed to replace my license at the New York City DMV—a much-maligned experience and a staple of 90s stand up—albeit for good reasons. I expected this to be an all-day ordeal (ok, maybe half day), because it had been before in multiple states over the past 20 years for me. I had been trained to expect the worst.

However, getting my refund from Amazon was the real bureaucratic nightmare, stretching across four calls and two 15-minute chat sessions, and taking over 2 days to resolve. On the other hand, the DMV was a breeze. I booked ahead online, found an “express office”, checked-in on a screen, followed an express lane to an automated machine, and was done in less than 30 minutes. Now, I’ve been bragging about the NYC DMV to my friends (who think I’m crazy), and certainly haven’t recommended ever getting a gift card from Amazon. The funny thing is that If I had called up Amazon expecting a hassle, I wouldn’t have remarked on it, and if I had known that the DMV had become so cutting-edge (kind of), then maybe I wouldn’t have been wowed. So as you can see, it really is the combination of how I felt about the experience, my expectations, and the relative effort I had to expend that determined whether or not I became an advocate.

To be clear, none of this is to say that you shouldn’t measure NPS and CSAT. You absolutely should, and they are crucial metrics for understanding your business. But if you want to know how your customers really feel about your experience, they leave too many gaps. With CES, you can fill those gaps and get all the context you need to identify where your experience is weak, and how you can improve it. So maybe start by adding a 2nd CES question to your post-issue CSAT survey, you may just be surprised by the results. Remember, it’s not about what your customers say—it’s how they feel that creates impact at the moment of their referral, making repeat purchases, and when they decide to churn. If you would like to learn more about how you can act on this information, feel free to check out the companion piece: How CES Can Help Your CX and Product Teams Work Better Together.

To learn more about how Kustomer can help you better understand your customers, request a demo below!

Conversations with Kustomer Podcast: How can Marketing and Customer Support Create a Consistent Experience? Featuring Sue Duris

As Customer Experience overtakes product and price as the key differentiator for many brands, it’s increasingly important that all parts of the organization work together to deliver seamless communications and service.

Our Director of Marketing Chen Barnea sat down with Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience for M4 Communications and a leading CX strategist, to discuss the evolution and importance of CX for B2B and B2C companies across verticals. While their chat covered a lot of ground, we’ve highlighted some of the key points below.

Investing in CX pays off. This is especially true if you’re a leader. According to a Temkin report, CX Leaders see a 17% compound average growth rate, versus 3% for laggards. Customers that receive a great experience are likely to purchase again, and 11 times more likely to recommend a product or brand.

Consistency is key, especially for retail. But it’s also very important for B2B organizations too, especially those with a long sales cycle. Both kinds of organizations need to have a C-suite that is championing that vision of the customer experience and explaining why it’s so important to rally behind it, and how everyone fits in. Without that commitment, alignment, ownership, Customer Experience initiatives just won’t work.

CX is not a shiny new toy. You need to have a strategy and purpose for tackling CX. It can’t be done piecemeal, either, with the Contact Center pioneering an initiative, but then the experience dropping off once a customer contacts Sales or Marketing. Inconsistency is one of your greatest enemies to a great experience.

Don’t neglect the employee experience. Engaging your employees and communicating what your experience should look and feel like is crucial. They’re the ones who are making that experience a reality. It takes more than just surveys. You need to speak to your employees in person and get qualitative insight, backed up by hard metrics. Once you can take those insights, build them back into your experience, optimize your CX, then look for insights again, you can create a closed loop of constantly improving experience.

There are three kinds of metrics. Metrics based on perception, description, and outcome. Perception-based metrics are about your experience and how your customer understands it. They include metrics such as NPS, CES, and satisfaction. Description metrics are based on observable events, like FCR and AHT, and ensure you’re being efficient and effective. And outcome metrics are things like how many customers renewed their contracts or upgraded their package. Bottom line: you need all kinds of metrics to cover the entire scope of experience.

Experience is a mindset. It’s more than just a strategy or process. It’s who you are as a company, and as individuals. Customer centricity needs to start before a prospect even knows about you—it’s in your bones, your culture, and it’s how you truly create consistency. Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value is the goal of any CX effort, and the only way to do that is to have a mindset where you’re putting your customers first.

Start small. If you haven’t invested in CX at all, you can always begin by sending out an NPS survey and segmenting customers based on that score. From there, you can work in more complex layers of metrics and build up your understanding.

This is just a taste of the wide-ranging discussion on the podcast, so if this sounds relevant to your needs, be sure to have a listen.

To learn more about how Kustomer can help you deliver a more consistent and effective experience, request a demo with the form below!

Customer Experience is Evolving. Are Your Metrics?

There are a lot of useful metrics for tracking your service, as our CEO Brad Birnbaum recently discussed. However, if you’re just looking at your service through the lens of efficiency and generating the lowest cost to your organization, the chances are that you’re not giving your customers the experience they deserve.

Metrics for Support: AHT and FCR

Many of the longest-standing metrics used to measure customer service are operational in nature: First Contact Resolution and Average Handle Time being two of the most widespread.

  • These metrics work well for determining the cost-effectiveness of your service.
  • They encourage agents to work more quickly and help more customers
  • End-goal is to lower the cost of each interaction

However, this mindset puts a premium on agents working quickly, not delivering a great experience.

  • Agents can scale service, but that doesn’t mean that service is of a high quality.
  • If customers are going away unsatisfied, or keep returning with the same problem, what is the real value of the support you’re offering?

You might be helping a lot of customers, but no matter how inexpensive it is to help each of them individually—you’re still operating your service organization at a loss.

Metrics for Service: CSAT, NPS

Many companies have evolved towards delivering more than just baseline support, but actual satisfying service. A company that delivers service goes further. They invest in their customers to create positive word of mouth and encourage repeat business. Zappos is a good example of a company that brought the benefits of providing real service to customers to the forefront. They strive to make customers happy, offering easy returns and short wait times that make you want to come back for more. If offering a discount means that an agent will save the sale, even if it lowers profitability, then they’re encouraged to take that step. As long as the customer keeps coming back, they’re worth more to the business in the long run. Companies with this service mindset still care about operational metrics, but CX remains a cost center for their business.

  • Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Score surveys can tell you how satisfied customers are with individual service interaction.

However CSAT really only tells you if your customers are happy with the service they’re receiving at that moment.

  • Doesn’t fully account for their sentiment around all the interactions they have before and after that engagement.
  • These surveys are biased: the majority of your customers won’t take a CSAT or NPS survey
  • Those that do are much more likely to respond if they’ve had a very good or very bad experience.

While useful as part of a larger mix, in most cases, customers are telling you about the interaction that they just had, not their overall feeling towards your service and brand as a whole.

Metrics for Experience: LTV and Sentiment

To really deliver an incredible experience, agents should prioritize generating repeat business and giving top-quality, personalized service. Beyond that, they should be thinking long term, giving valuable customers a material reason to keep shopping with offers and discounts. If your mindset is about improving your customer experience without worrying about the amount of time or cost behind it, then CX becomes an investment to gain repeat business.

  • Use NLP to track sentiment across all text-driven channels to get large-scale, unbiased insight.

However, you still won’t know what’s going unsaid. Only 1 out of every 26 customers complain if something goes wrong.

  • The key metric has to be Lifetime Value. It’s the only way to know how all the interactions around your brand contribute to a better experience and repeat customers.
  • If you invest in Lifetime Value, then your Customer Experience can drive real revenue for your business: A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%, according to Bain & Company.

Service doesn’t have to be a sunk cost. it can be a revenue center once you shift your mindset towards totally understanding and serving the customer.

Customer service is evolving, and the way you think about your experience needs to evolve with it. Lifetime Value has to be your top metric if you want to run a 21st century CX organization. Without knowing everything about your customer, you’ll never know how much you have to win by putting their needs first. There is a world of business to be won if you offer the best experience possible.

Voice of the Customer: Are You Really Hearing What They’re Saying?

This is a guest post by Jeremy Watkin, Director of Customer Experience at FCR.

Are you in the habit of closing the loop with customers that offer negative feedback on post-interaction surveys like Customer Satisfaction or Net Promoter Score? I certainly hope so, because it’s a great practice that many companies aren’t in the habit of doing. When I led a customer service team, I was very proud of the fact that we made every attempt at closing the loop with the upset customers we knew about, and by some combination of resolving their issue and offering compensation, we managed to save a good many of them from churning.

But what about those customers that don’t complete a survey voicing their displeasure? What about those where something goes wrong and it’s “too much trouble to complain?” Or perhaps they do complain and the disinterested reply from support is enough for the customer to cut their losses and move on to a company that actually wants their business. And then there’s that statistic where upset customers tell dozens of people about negative experiences while happy customers tell a small handful of their friends. I’m convinced that someone invented that statistic to strike fear into the hearts of customer service leaders with the sole purpose of selling books, software, consulting, etc.

Regardless, it’s the upset customers I don’t hear from that keep me up at night—the unhappy ones we’ll never have the opportunity to save. There’s got to be more we can do, right? What if I told you that more customers are offering feedback about how we can improve and keep their business? It’s time that we start listening to the “voice of the customer” far beyond surveys, and the great news is that what once seemed far off in the distant future is totally possible right now. Let’s discuss further.

A Survey is Not Enough

I love surveys. The act of asking for feedback and then taking the time to act on that feedback is what fuels a great continuous improvement process, but it alone as a voice of customer program is incomplete at best. In my work at FCR, I see a wide range of response rates to surveys anywhere from 10 to 30%—and rarely beyond that.

Can a company really consider a voice of customer program robust if it doesn’t hear from 70% of its customers? If our goal is to truly understand what’s driving dissatisfaction and drive our customer churn rate down, we need to do more. Customers are giving feedback on traditional support channels and social media, and we must listen to that valuable non-survey feedback as well.

Sentiment Tells Us Much More

Consider for a moment relationships and what we know about nonverbal communication. In my own relationship with my wife, most of the feedback I receive about how to be a better husband is nonverbal. Whether it be “the look” or perhaps a tone of voice, I had better be adept at recognizing her signals long before she has to explicitly tell me she’s upset.

Natural language process (NLP) works in much the same way, by understanding not just what customers are saying but the way they’re saying it. Considering the fact that only 1 of every 26 customers actually complains when something goes wrong, the ability to capture customer sentiment from all customer interactions including social posts, voice, email, chat, and SMS significantly broadens our understanding of what customers are saying. And it allows us to recognize an upset customer—sometimes long before they give explicit feedback via a survey. Now we’re on our way to listening to 100% of customer communication with our company. But there’s still more.

But Actions Give Us the Full Picture

Traditional contact center platforms do a great job of helping us pull in customer communication from a variety of sources and respond in a timely manner. For teams of all sizes this is important, and the ability to track a myriad of KPIs helps us measure success, but these systems are almost exclusively predicated on the customer reaching out to us first. Are we to assume that if the customer doesn’t reach out, they’re happy?

If that’s your assumption, you may want to read up on customer journey mapping. This is the exercise of looking at the customer journey from A to Z, identifying all of the places customers touch your company (AKA touchpoints), and evaluating that experience. As I’ve learned about journey mapping, I’ve come to realize what a small (but important) role customer service plays in the overall customer experience.

Clearly a modern contact center platform must take into account the entire customer journey and understand what customers are telling us at each touchpoint with their actions. A few ideas where this might come in handy include:

  • Understanding whether the customer is a first-time buyer or long-time customer.
  • A regular subscription stopped or downgraded after a long history of purchasing regularly.
  • Order fulfillment or shipment is delayed.

There might be a variety of issues. The ability to see this full picture of the customer’s history allows us to take a more proactive approach and reach out to customers, sometimes before they become aggravated.

Focus on Customer Lifetime Value

Now this is starting to sound like the comprehensive voice of customer program we’re going for. We’ve moved beyond reacting to customers with known issues and are proactively acting based on patterns in the customer journey. There’s a final, invaluable ingredient, or metric, in this process that’s so often missing from the process of supporting customers: lifetime value.

Understanding how much a customer has purchased historically and potential future spending is an invaluable tool for a couple reasons. First, it allows your support team to understand what it might take to make things right when something has gone wrong. For example, if a customer spends $25 per month, a $10 coupon might be appreciated, but if they spend thousands annually, that same $10 credit might be insulting.

Second, with lifetime value, we can offer a premium level of service to those high value customers. When it comes to proactively reaching out to customers at various points in the journey we’re now working smarter, not harder by prioritizing our reach out first to those that spend the most and/or have been with us the longest.

A true voice of customer program should absolutely strive toward a 360-degree view of the customer’s experience—and this is totally possible when we can easily see support history, feedback, sentiment, actions and lifetime value. With that information, we shift our approach from a reactive to a proactive one. Once that’s occurred, I see a future where customer service leaders everywhere sleep a whole lot better at night.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service, customer experience, and contact center professional. He’s also the co-founder and regular contributor on Customer Service Life. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. 

The Why, How, and What of Measuring Customer Service Quality

This is a guest post by Jakub Slámka, CMO at Nicereply

As customer service professionals, we’re in the business of making sure our customers get the highest quality support. We strive to help them succeed with the highest caliber guidance we can provide, and to solve their problems with excellent solutions and service. When we do that, it feels good.

To create long term relationships with your customers, you need to understand how and why they act the way they do. There are three surveys that work really well for this: Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Survey, and Customer Effort Score. All of them involve surveying customers to get their opinion, but they ask different questions to find out different things.

Let’s break them down the Simon Sinek way so you know exactly Why, How, and What to measure when it comes to customer service quality.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is most often used to measure customer’s feelings about a specific interaction with your support team. It can also refer to how happy a customer is generally, though in the customer service industry it usually refers to an agent or a customer support team.

WHY should you measure CSAT?

Measuring customer satisfaction means having a better idea of what works to keep customers satisfied – and what leaves them unhappy. This way you’ll know what to keep up and what to fix. You’ll also be able to gauge performance of not just support generally, but specific teams and individuals as well.

HOW do you measure CSAT?

Customers will receive a survey asking if they were happy or satisfied with the service they received, which they can respond positively or negatively to. The customer chooses their response on a scale from bad (or not satisfied) to good (or satisfied). To calculate the CSAT score, subtract the % of customers who were unhappy from 100%.

WHAT does a CSAT survey look like?

You can set your CSAT survey in one of two different ways. Either you can send out an email with a survey after a ticket is closed, or you can measure it in every email interaction with your customers in the form of “instant ratings”. Survey itself can have many different looks. Nicereply CSAT survey usually looks like 3 smileys portraying different emotions, 2 hand with fingers facing upward or downwards or a scale of 10 stars.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) was specifically developed to measure loyalty and to provide you with feedback about how well your products are received. This metric will tell you, how likely your customers will recommend your services or products.

WHY should you measure NPS?

NPS brings a simple solution to finding out who is your loyal customer and transform unhappy clients into satisfied promoters. You can use NPS to enhance your customer service, but it can also be used by your marketing department to gauge your customers feeling toward your product.

How do you measure NPS?

NPS is usually measured via a regular survey (bi-monthly, yearly etc…). In this survey, customers are asked the above question “How likely are you to recommend *|COMPANY|* to a friend or colleague?” and they respond on a scale from 1 (very unlikely) to 10 (very likely).

If a customer answers lower than 6, they are a detractor. If they respond 9 or higher, they are a promoter. Customers responding 7-8 are passives.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the % of customers who replied as detractors from the % of customers who answered as promoters. NPS scores are not a percentage and range from -100 (very bad) to +100 (very good).

WHAT does an NPS survey look like?

Due to it being based on a research by Bain & Co, NPS survey will always look the same—a scale from 0 to 10. The question itself can vary slightly. One such example could be a question “On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a good place to work?”—this is also known as Employee Net Promoter Score.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score is a highly specific measure of how much work your customer felt they had to do to solve an issue. Support teams using CES are able to find and eliminate friction points that cause high-effort experiences.

WHY should you measure CES?

Imagine having a problem you need to solve. Now imagine you have to jump through several hoops and switch multiple channels to get hold of someone willing to help you fix it. Even though this support agent might be “super nice”, there’s a big chance you won’t ever want to go through the same experience again.

The idea of CES is that customers enjoy doing business with companies, that are easy to work with. It means, that CES measure the amount of effort customers were experiencing with your company as a whole.

HOW do you measure CES?

CES is often sent as part of a post-service survey and it’s measured by surveying customers after the resolution of their customer service conversation (usually 24 hours after a ticket is closed).

Similar to the NPS before, customers are asked to rate one simple statement: “The *|COMPANY|* made it easy for me to handle my issue.” a standard 1(low) – 7(high) scale whether they agree or disagree with the statement.

Your CES will then be the averages of these ratings, although we recommend to look not just at your average score, but at their distribution as well. Afterall, if your scores are bunch of 7s and 1s, it still means your experience is confusing a lot of people.

WHAT does a CES survey look like?

Being based off of a research paper by CEB, CES survey will always ask the same question. Original CES used a scale of 5 different answers, while updated CES 2.0 uses a scale of 7.

Measure, Manage, and Improve

As the old saying goes, “Whatever gets measured gets managed.” Measuring quality and using what you learn to better meet customer expectations is what will propel your efforts to truly serve your customers and drive your business forward.

Try Nicereply for Kustomer for free and measure any and all of these metrics to get more feedback out of your customer interactions.

Jakub Slámka is CMO at Nicereply.

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