What does it take to start a business? Before any other considerations, entrepreneurs need an idea. Preferably, the idea should be something new and innovative, or at least a new and innovative take on an already-established idea. It should also provide a solution to a problem (or problems). With the right idea, an entrepreneur can find success, topple industries, and change the world. However, there’s much more to it than that.

Approximately 500,000 new businesses are founded in the US every year. This seems to suggest that there is no shortage of adequate ideas on which to build businesses. Unfortunately, as many as half of those businesses end up failing within the first four years. What are the entrepreneurs doing wrong, and what can be learned from from their experiences?

Well, the truth is that many business leaders fail to keep track of their company’s performance, beyond the most basic metrics. They chart profit and loss — two invaluable data sets that certainly should certainly never be ignored — but they don’t look beyond that information to the driving factors behind it. After all, satisfied customers are what grow and sustain businesses, which means that taking your business into the ‘uncharted waters’ of customer satisfaction should always be a top priority.

Despite the vital role customers play in every business, customer satisfaction metrics have only recently begun to gain widespread acceptance. This may be due to how difficult something as abstract as ‘customer satisfaction’ is to quantify. Assigning measurable values to something so intangible is a difficult task — one that has been known to discourage otherwise-attentive businesses. For those who stick with it, however, customer satisfaction metrics can provide a wealth of actionable information.

Through interviews and surveys, businesses can improve their targeted marketing efforts. They do this by creating an accurate, focused portrait of who their customers are and what they want. This helps define not only the client demographic, but also the specific individuals within that demographic. 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts, and 69% of consumers say that personalized care directly influences their loyalty.

In addition to developing a more accurate picture of their clients, businesses can use customer satisfaction metrics to develop a more accurate picture of themselves. Satisfaction metrics can be used to identify potential problems with products, services, or even the structure of the business itself. It can also predict future revenue, giving businesses a more precise idea of what’s coming, both in the short term and the long.

For example, the customer health score (CHS) is a metric that combines a several data types and sources — such as product usage, number of active users, and information related to support case resolution. This data gives businesses a clearer picture of how satisfied their customers are, and can also be used to identify any areas of the business that might be negatively impacting the customer experience.

Measuring customer satisfaction carries with it another benefit: demonstrating to customers that they are valued. 66% of consumers say they’d switch brands if they were treated like a number instead of an individual. By focusing on and tracking customer satisfaction metrics (generally through surveys, interviews, and other feedback options), businesses exhibit a very visible indication of how much they care about their customers. Clients see this, and are more loyal as a result.

Of course, in order to enjoy these benefits, businesses need to understand what types of metrics measure customer satisfaction, and have a clear ‘customer satisfaction’ definition to work with.

Customer satisfaction may mean many things, but at its most basic, it’s a measurement of how happy clients are with a business’s products, service, and support. However, the factors that go into customer satisfaction may vary widely from business to business, or even from client to client. Knowing what to measure, and how to go about gathering relevant data may seem like an impossible task.

Here are three customer satisfaction metrics every business should be using:

  1. CSAT score
    Perhaps the most trusted metric in customer satisfaction is the customer satisfaction (CSAT) score. This, like many customer satisfaction metrics, takes the form of a survey. The customer will answer various questions about the service or support they’ve received, using some form of rating scales (such as 1–10 or five-star scales). The business takes the average of all of the survey responses, and assigns itself a CSAT score.

    This metric may not be as accurate as certain others, given the tendency for unhappy customers to be more likely to participate in the survey, but it can still provide a reliable snapshot of how well a business is doing.

  2. CES
    Taking a step back from what customers generally think of as satisfaction, the customer effort score (CES) measures how much work clients have to do to find solutions to issues. By rating the effort from very low to very high, clients give businesses an idea of how much they are asking of their customers. Forcing clients to exert themselves to solve problems is directly tied to reduced customer loyalty.

  3. NPS
    Given that referrals are 400% more likely to lead to sales than non referrals, a very reliable customer satisfaction metric is the net promoter score (NPS). Again, using a survey with some form of scale, clients indicate how likely they would be to recommend the business in question.

The advantage here is that it’s not asking whether a client is happy or unhappy — two temporary emotional states that might not be an accurate indicator of how effective your product or service is. NPS rates whether the client is satisfied with the business as a whole.

Used in conjunction, these customer satisfaction metrics examples are reliable indicators of client happiness. Businesses can supplement these metrics by tracking overall support requests, complaints, and social media mentions. Of course, tracking customer satisfaction metrics is only effective if you have the tools in place to deliver exceptional customer service. To do this, businesses rely customer relationship management (CRM) tools, such as Salesforce Service Cloud.

Salesforce Service Cloud uses the world’s most trusted CRM platform to give service agents the tools they need to provide prompt, effective service that leaves clients fulfilled.

Service Cloud places the focus on the customer. The cloud-based system gives service agents a single, unified view of each individual client, and can be accessed from any internet-enabled device in real time. Advanced automation frees up employees from having to deal with repetitive tasks, allowing them to spend more time assisting clients. Predictive A.I. in the form of Salesforce Einstein analyzes client data, learning and improving as it goes, and giving users reliable next steps.

Service Cloud also includes advanced self-service options, so that customers who would rather not contact support departments can instead find reliable solutions on their own. Likewise, snap-in capabilities mean that Service Cloud is designed to work seamlessly with user websites and business apps, for a full-service customer satisfaction solution — no matter where the customers are, and with additional capabilities from Salesforce’s advanced helpdesk and customer support application, no client will ever be lost in the shuffle.

Businesses are built on ideas, fueled by customers, and maintained through superior customer service. The right customer satisfaction metrics can help determine whether customer service is at the level it should be, and Service Cloud can fill in the gaps where it isn’t.

Chart the waters of customer satisfaction, with Salesforce.

 

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