By Ritika Puri
You think your customers are happy. But have you ever taken a step back to evaluate (and quantify) what they aren’t telling you?
Customer satisfaction is one of the toughest, most abstract concepts to capture and measure. Satisfaction is often in the eye of the beholder, and if you’re using a tool like a survey, you’re relying on self-reported data that presents only one side of the story. In addition, “success” is multi-faceted: A customer may be happy overall, but there may be some hidden deal-breakers that are hurting your retention metrics.
So how do you tackle this challenge and improve your customer satisfaction scores? The short answer: Measure success from a few different dimensions. In addition to understanding why your customers are happy, you should focus on specific elements that contribute to overall success.
Customer satisfaction is a tricky concept to measure because there are a number of reasons why a person may feel happy or unhappy about a purchase. You may have a great product or service, but your customers will feel frustrated if they’re dealing with long hold times for support.
One way to uncover more nuance is to reframe how you quantify happiness. Instead of looking at a composite score, ask yourself the more fundamental business question, “Are we delivering on the promises we make?”
In the B2B and SaaS world, there are generally three focus areas that contribute to long-term customer success:
You need to be able to measure a concept as abstract as a promise. And you have to accurately capture the dimensions above. To accomplish these goals, ask three very distinct families of questions in your satisfaction surveys. Have your customers rate, on a scale from 1-10:
With this perspective, you’ll have opinion-based, actionable metrics. If you see that you rank low based on promises from your sales team, you know you need to adjust your messaging or make changes to your product. Should satisfaction scores about your help desk fall below 7, you may decide to create more self-serve options.
By breaking up your customer satisfaction scores into their different components, you’ll be able to see what’s working well and what isn’t—and focus on the right improvement drivers as a result.
Opinion surveys are valuable for answering tough-business questions head on. But they’re also prone to a well-studied phenomenon called response bias—the tendency for survey respondents to exaggerate answers or report upon what they think they want survey administrators to hear. The best way to counteract response bias is to figure out what your customers aren’t telling you. That’s where the magic of analytics enters the picture.
Most likely, you’re already collecting a treasure trove of information about your audiences. Between your Google Analytics account and your CRM, you’re monitoring key actions they’re taking, as well as points of friction that may keep them from accomplishing their goals.
Just as you did in the first step, make sure you focus on the right metrics. Here are a few ideas to spark your data collection and analytics process:
Put yourself in each customer’s shoes. What have been your favorite support experiences? What have been your least favorite? Focus on these two questions to determine exactly what you should be measuring.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, you need more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Most likely, your users, audiences, and partners are engaging with your brand through multiple channels. In measuring customer satisfaction, make sure you cover your bases to assess every potential touch point with your business.
Focus on each channel individually so you can create a complete customer satisfaction picture and identify clear areas of improvement. Pay attention to a mix of what your customers are and aren’t telling you.
The beauty of data is that it gets better over time. Statistics is a blend of art and science, which means there’s a degree of subjectivity (and human error) in the metrics that you’re collecting. As you continue to measure the performance of your customer satisfaction programs, you’ll start asking even more questions. In some cases, it may be impossible to answer these questions quantitatively based on the systems you’ve set up. Before changing your analytics strategy entirely, focus on a few non-quantitative methods including:
The key is to give your customers an opportunity to express themselves in an unstructured way. This perspective helps you determine what details—and opportunities to improve your customer success process—could be slipping through the cracks. Remember the golden rule of research: You don’t know what you don’t know. So don’t make assumptions. Find the answers you need instead.
The beauty of this process is that it sets you up to identify actionable areas of improvement. Look for changes over time and pinpoint specific steps that you can take to better support your customers. Always question your metrics and find ways to iterate upon your KPIs. Your data should open up important discussions and identify clear areas for strategic improvement. Treat your analytics as living, breathing assets, and your customer satisfaction scores will skyrocket.
The best way to see how Salesforce is revolutionizing customer service is with a guided tour of Service Cloud. With the guided tour, we can show you how Service Cloud shines in several common use cases and scenarios.
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