Customer Satisfaction: How to Measure it Correctly

Customer Satisfaction: How to Measure it Correctly

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so”

Mahatma Gandhi

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According to the statistics, 91% of unhappy customers are not likely to buy from you again. The primary concern of any business is to retain older customers and win the hearts of new consumers. At the same time, satisfaction is a fairly complex thing. It relies on different factors, such as product’s quality, marketing strategy, website’s usability, competence of team-members and so on and so forth.

Measuring customers’ attitudes has been an important element of successful game plans since businesses started focusing on the quality of products. In fact, the entire world seems to be revolving around the phrase “customer satisfaction.” But how to measure it correctly? Well, this is the question that we will try to answer in this article.

First of all, we should figure out what “customer satisfaction” actually means and decide why we actually need to measure such an abstract concept.

Good level of customer satisfaction doesn’t indicate that you sell a top-notch product. It doesn’t mean that all your customers are happy to deal with you either. Customer satisfaction is just a measurement of how your service meets the expectations of your clients. As simple as that. At the same time, every business wants to sell what buyers want and provide the service that will make customers happy. In simple words, measurement of customer satisfaction helps to find a “common tongue” with clients and improve business strategy through questioning current and potential shoppers.

There are several methods to determine the level of your customers’ satisfaction. You can use classic email-questionnaires, or go for more modern in-app surveys – it largely depends on your target group and kind of service you provide, or products you sell. We’ll take a closer look at each of them in the following paragraphs. First, though, we’d like to walk you through four essential steps of developing a questionnaire that will fall in line with the peculiarities of exactly your business.

Step one:

Identify customer requirements

There are several points that make the knowledge of customer requirements crucial for any business. First, it helps to understand how client defines the quality of your products or services. Only by stepping into your customer’s shoes, you can figure out what your buyers really need, what therefore will provide you with a significant competitive advantage. Second, knowledge of customer requirements can stand you in a good stead when developing an effective customer satisfaction questionnaire.

Step two:

Develop a questionnaire

This step includes the development of questions that should determine whether your service responds to the customer’s demands. This can be difficult because every industry has its own peculiarities and questions may be quite different. Moreover, each question should aim at measuring the matching point of customer’s satisfaction. There are several kinds of measures that you can easily determine by asking right questions to your clients.

  • “Overall” satisfaction
  • What should we expect from “overall” satisfaction questions? Well, it reflects the general experience with a product or service. By asking such questions, one can understand if the quality of the product meets customer’s expectations.

    Example:

    interview_1

    “Overall” satisfaction is normally determined by a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This metric is the average rating of responses you get from your customers. The scale can range between 1 – 3 or 1 – 5. There are examples of successful usage of 1-10 and even more complicated schedules, but it doesn’t always make sense. It’s scientifically proven that people raised in the individualistic societies choose more extreme sides while those raised in the collectivistic ones would prefer something in the middle. For instance, Americans would rather say that a service was “delightful” or “terrible.” By the contrast, Chinese are likely to stick to “good” or “not satisfactory.”

    CSAT metrics is straightforward and simple. This is the reason why businesses admire it. Nevertheless, customers are not always able to estimate the level of satisfaction.

  • Loyalty
  • The loyalty of customers is one of the most important figures of the successful project. It’s commonly called NPS (Net Promoter Score) and allows to define how likely customers are to continue doing business with your company. Moreover, measurement of loyalty shows whether a customer will recommend you to their friends. Used in combination with other measurements, NPS is a powerful predictor of repurchase.

    Example:

    interview_2

    interview_3

    Calculating the NPS score is easy. Just take the percentage of “promoters” and subtract the percentage of “critics.”

  • Attribute satisfaction
  • After asking “overall” satisfaction questions, it’s important to define what exactly customer likes/dislikes about the service. The thing is that customer satisfaction consists of both product’s quality and service attributes and thereafter moderated by expectations. The main challenge of every business lies in developing measures for each attribute of customer satisfaction. In this framework, it is important to let the customer tell whether the product was useful and fitted the context of the problem.

    Example:

    interview_4

    Attribute satisfaction is the core of Customer Effort Score (CES), more advanced satisfaction metrics. In CES surveys clients are normally asked about the effort it took them to have the issue solved. This method is handy especially for customer support services due to the more technically-oriented questions encountered by them.

    When SEC was first introduced in the article “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers,” it caused a lot of tensions. The main idea is that we should focus on resolving the customer’s’ issues rather than delighting them. The authors found that investing all efforts into exceeding expectations is simply not worth it, so it’s better to concentrate on making troubleshooting and problem resolutions as easy as possible.

    It is wise to ask the question right after the interaction because otherwise there is a chance that customer will forget how easy it was to have their problem solved.

Step three:

Use questionnaire

After choosing appropriate questions for your survey and – what is even more important – evaluating them, you may start wondering how to use them effectively. There are a lot of ways to reach out to your customers, so we’ve picked up a couple of the most commonly used: in-app and email surveys.

In-app surveys is a feedback bar embedded into the website’s interface. It generally consists of no more than three questions. In-app surveys have high response rates because a customer is supposed to answer the questions when they are still on your website.

Email surveys are normally conducted after the delivery of the product or service. While above survey is good for determining whether customers are happy, email outreach allows getting more in-depth insights, understand the reasons and determine strong and weak points of the project. On the other hand, email surveys have a very low response rate, so you’d need to reach out to a number of customers in order to get an accurate result.

Step four:

Turn obtained results into your advantage

Well, now you probably have an idea on how to measure the level of your customers’ satisfaction. In previous paragraphs, we did our best to provide you all the sufficient info on different satisfaction metrics and ways to use them effectively. However, that’s not all that matters.

The point is that in the pursuit of acceptable results one can lose your customer’s loyalty. Like any other measurements, satisfaction metrics are just the numbers on the screen. Sooner or later, you will start thinking of making these numbers grow without putting any effort. You can limit the amount of respondents, stop surveying cancellation requests or send questionnaires only to loyal clients. Such measures will probably bump up your scores, but it is not a way out. By hiding the issues that must be solved, we are only growing the number of problems. In this framework, the biggest mistake you can make is using metrics as a tool to pad your ego rather than turning each piece of feedback into the another opportunity for improving your game plan.

Here you may ask: “Okay, but what to do with those, who always give a bad feedback?” Take it as an opportunity. Seek out angry customers and try to fix the very root of the problem. We all love to be praised, but true opportunities come along only with complaints. Email them, try to find out the reasons for his/her dissatisfaction. Remember, that there are real people with their own reasons to complain. To learn more about how to deal with difficult customers, check out this blog post: “How to Deal with Angry Customers and Gain Their Loyalty.”

To make the best use of satisfaction metrics, you need to go beyond standard questionnaires. To begin with, there should be a connection between survey results and changes in sales. If your SCAT score is rapidly growing whereas a number of purchases sink, something is apparently wrong. In such cases, the first thing to check is mentions of your brand in Social Medias. Remember, that people are more likely to share the negative experience, rather than the positive one. Moreover, through platforms like Facebook or Twitter your project can get widely known, but not in the way you’d like it to happen. To avoid negative mentions, find complaints and lend a helping hand to every unsatisfied customer. This will not only protect your reputation on the Web but can also help you to get more loyalty from your clients.

Conclusions

Improving customer satisfaction is an ongoing battle. You cannot win this battle by using metrics and collecting data. Of course, it is a big part of the solutions, but not the complete one. The thing is that you have to use it correctly and build an individual approach to every client you have out there. In fact, your CSAT/NPS/CES scores are nothing but the cumulation of buyer’s feelings. Obviously, you need to listen to these feelings, but listening doesn’t mean just reading what customer wrote. It means working hard to solve their issues and acting on what they tell you.

Metrics can help you to get to the core of who you are for the customer. If applied properly, it will get your business to the whole new level. In a world of customer-oriented businesses, one should put every effort to meet the demands for personal and tailored buyers’ experiences. With this in mind, we believe that customer satisfaction is the most important part of the customer feedback process.

George Svash
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