I believe customer satisfaction is complex. I don’t mean to use the word to overwhelm but to guide an approach.
Whether you are talking systems, problems, solutions, decisions… it makes a world of difference if you first understand it to be simple, complicated, or complex.
When something is complicated, while having multiple steps there usually is a repeatable path forward. We analyze the situation to identify the complications. Then we create a plan and respond. It may take time, but it will get done. Our sales funnels are often a bit complicated.
When something is complex, there is usually multiple factors at play. Often there is a degree of uncertainty of what comes next. Or the impact a change to one will have on another. One size generally doesn’t fit all. Retaining a customer at times is complex.
We need a different approach. To borrow from Cynefin framework… we need to probe, sense, and respond.
Which is why surveys are a great first step to improving customer satisfaction. It is one way to probe.
Start with you customer satisfaction goals first
Now this is where the one size doesn’t fit all part of it comes in. What I am probing for in my business, and what you are probing for in your business can be vastly different.
Checklists and sample survey questions are great. But decide on those after first deciding your goals for the survey. Your goals will steer you to which ones are best for you.
Where we start takes in consideration the overall health of our business. What we see as vulnerabilities and strengths. Whether we are seeking new information or wanting to confirm something we suspect.
Trends in your ongoing customer metrics may be a guide. Things like customer retention, churn (early loss), repeat buying habits, customer lifetime value, referrals, and even customer service calls. All of these will give you a picture of what is happening in your business.
Check if trends are predictable or random. Look at customer journey stages, to see if there is a point in time or touchpoint that is a problem spot.
NPS, CSAT and CES
Metrics people track from Survey responses are NPS, CSAT and CES. The format of the questions look very similar. It’s usually rate the question on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10. The context and what they measure is different.
NPS is Net Promoter Score. NPS measures customer loyalty. Generally, it is a measure of the customer’s experience with the brand as a whole. The question is how likely you are to recommend our company to someone you know. It can be asked on it’s own or added to another survey. It can be asked at any time.
CSAT is Customer Satisfaction Score. CSAT measures satisfaction in the moment. It is a bit more nuanced. Generally asked at a point in time or right after a specific touchpoint. Like after a sale. Or when a service call completes. With CSAT you can drill down to measuring specific things like the experience, the product, the service, and your staff. To get a more specific look at the satisfaction with each of these elements of your business.
CES is Customer Effort Score. It is a measure of how easy or difficult it is to work with you or use your products. You can ask it after a touchpoint. Or pop up inside an app or web experience. And example question might be how easy was it to find the item you just put into your cart.
The trends for these metrics are a part of your sensing. Deciding what you are trying to make sense of can guide you to which of these questions will be included in your probing surveys. Help you to choose touchpoints or survey questions. And to setup your measurement plans to gather the data.
Next steps are important!
Let’s remember why we are doing this. It costs less to retain a customer than to acquire a customer. Continuously responding to what you sense from your customer satisfaction surveys is key.
As we all saw this year, things can change and change quickly. Customer Satisfaction metrics can be an early warning system of the health of our business. Before you see it in the other metrics like churn, retention, customer lifetime value.
Making sense of what you see can help you to plan initiatives to increase your success or to course correct.
Afterall, the customer is your greatest asset. Listen to them.