Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand, to recommend its goods and services to friends and family and are more likely to show forgiveness after a single disappointing customer experience.
As such, increasing customer satisfaction rates can elevate your brand perception, improve customer retention rates – and therefore lower marketing and customer acquisition costs – and give your organization a competitive advantage. But, with so many metrics and indicators available, what are the best and most effective methods of tracking whether you’re meeting customer expectations?
1. Customer surveys
Within the contact center environment, the fastest way to gauge performance is with a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey. It immediately reveals whether or not a customer was happy with their most recent interaction.
CSAT scores can be segmented by individual customer, customer type and by channel – making them indispensable for measuring if some channels are performing better than others.
While CSAT provides an isolated snapshot of an individual interaction, a Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures overall sentiment. Is the cumulative customer experience good enough that a customer is prepared to recommend the brand to others?
However, though useful, neither CSAT nor NPS provides a full picture of CX delivery nor the reasons why someone is – or isn’t –satisfied.
Combining NPS and CSAT scores with a Customer Effort Score (CES) will start to fill in the gaps.
A CES measures effort. It asks customers how easy they find it to do business with your organization. The harder a customer has to work to resolve an issue, the less likely they’ll hang around and continue to give you their custom – there is a direct link between effort and loyalty. As such, measuring customer effort can also flag up steps on the path to purchase and along the customer journey where there is too much friction and where improvements are needed. Combining CSAT, NPS and CES will give a genuine real-time view of whether or not customers are satisfied and can uncover reasons why your brand might be missing the mark.
Counting tickets can indicate potential issues with an element of customer service or with products, goods or services. Comparing CSAT, NPS and CES data with ticket generation will start to provide a clearer picture of an organization’s overall CX.
For instance, if there is a ticket backlog and a low NPS or CSAT score, then increasing staffing levels should have a positive impact on customer experience.
However if staffing levels increase and scores remain the same, finding the root cause is only possible by analyzing what is causing the tickets to be generated. If there is a recurring theme, such as a persistent issue with a particular offering, increasing staffing levels to address more tickets per day or per week will not improve CSAT or NPS scores.
Likewise monitoring the motivations behind ticket generation could highlight a deficiency in staff training. By making the right improvements to coaching and knowledge base content, a drop in ticket volumes, and subsequent rise in CSAT and NPS scores should provide proof that the intervention has been successful.
3. Response times
Time is a valuable commodity. The longer a customer is kept waiting, the less likely the experience is going to feel positive – even if it concludes with a resolution. Customers value speed. Even if an initial interaction doesn’t result in a resolution, they will have a positive outlook because the response was near instant. Don’t keep a customer in a phone queue for longer than one minute and don’t hold someone in a chat queue for longer than 40 seconds.
4. Contact drivers
Even if your response times are wonderful and ticket volumes are manageable, why are customers making contact? Monitoring contact drivers will highlight issues that could be resolved for good, simply by adding self-help content to your website, or making an adjustment to a service. It could completely remove certain types of contact altogether. That in turn will reduce pressure on your CX teams who will have more time and bandwidth to deal with other types of contacts.
5. First contact resolution
Every organization’s goal should be to resolve its customers’ issues in the fewest interactions possible. So to measure how well you’re doing, divide the number of issues that have been resolved via a single interaction by every incoming customer issue that could have been resolved in a single interaction.
Also, don’t forget to drill down and see if the First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate is better or worse across different channels – for instance, if emailed issues remain unresolved after several messages, maybe you need to use standardized contact forms to ensure that customers are providing all the information you need to solve the problem quickly. Or maybe you need to establish realistic customer expectations. Whenever using asynchronous channels such as email or social messaging, it’s critical to inform customers of how much time it would typically take for them to receive a response. Without an understanding of waiting times, customers will typically send several messages regarding the same question or issue, each of which will generate a new ticket.
Customer satisfaction is an immediate indicator of how well an overall approach to customer experience is delivery is aligning with customer expectations. And while it can and should be tracked and benchmarked, it’s critical to view customer satisfaction as something more than a metric. It’s ultimately a measure of business strategy, customer understanding and sustainable success.