Annette Franz, CCXP explains the customer satisfaction metrics that earn loyalty and achieve business outcomes such as renewals, referrals, and more.
Customer satisfaction metrics are always a hot topic among professionals in customer experience — knowing which to track doesn’t just uncover past performance, it also provides a pathway to drive action. You’ll identify and tackle the opportunities that directly impact how customers feel.
As a result of prioritizing and improving the customer satisfaction metrics that matter most to your business, you’ll earn loyalty that keeps happy customers coming back again and again.
But you first need to ask yourself, “What metrics should I use?” In making a decision, evaluate several customer satisfaction metrics. While you might not need every one of them (and there are many), a handful of metrics will satisfy what you’re trying to accomplish. Scan your objectives and goals before considering the metrics that align closely with desired outcomes.
Just don’t be surprised when you realize the relationship between these customer satisfaction metrics. Sure, they’re all unique in what they indicate. Yet they’re also connected in that, as one changes, the others follow. With this in mind, keep an eye on most customer satisfaction metrics to improve customer experience.
Let’s take a look at a couple of metrics and when or how you would use them. Remember that these are not internal metrics such as retention or customer lifetime value for the outcomes you’re seeing as a result of experiences; instead, these metrics tell you how customers score the experience with your brand.
Here are the seven customer satisfaction metrics you need to know:
1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Customer satisfaction reflects how happy or unhappy customers are with a certain aspect of the experience, of the overall experience, or with the brand itself. I like to advocate for this equation: Expectations – Performance = Satisfaction. Customers have expectations, and how well you perform against them leads to some level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).
2. Customer Effort Score (CES): Customer effort score is used to measure the amount of effort a customer believes they expended in the course of interacting with your brand. It’s typically used in the contact center to identify how much effort the customer put forth to get an issue resolved or a question answered.
3. Ease of Doing Business (EODB): Commonly used by B2B businesses, ease of doing business intent is to determine how challenging it is to interact with your brand overall. It’s more of an overall metric, whereas CES is specific to a particular interaction, namely with customer service.
4. Net Promoter Score (NPS®): Net Promoter Score is a metric reflecting how likely a customer is to recommend your brand, product, or service to someone else. If referrals are what your business lives and dies by, this is your metric; otherwise, there are better metrics for you to use.
5. Star Ratings: Not familiar with star ratings? They’re synonymous with online reviews. Customers rate the experience they had from one to five stars. It’s a simple and effective way to find out how customers feel about your app, website, or product. Be sure to include an open-ended question for feedback, though, as it will explain the ‘why’ behind the star rating.
6. Usability: As an ease of use or ease of task metric, usability is important to capture and track to ensure customers are able to use an app, website, or product in the manner in which they need.
7. Task Completion: As the name suggests, this metric measures if customers are able to successfully complete whatever task it is that they wanted to do on your app or your website.
Notice that these are all customer-reported ratings or measures, not your internal metrics. To some degree, they all give us a sense of whether the customer was satisfied with the experience or not. These metrics can, however, be linked to your internal metrics to ensure that the customer and their experience are tied to business outcomes such as renewals, referrals, and more.
Here’s what often happens when we start talking about metrics: Companies focus only on moving the needle rather than on improving the experience. Too many conversations start with, “How do we improve the metric?” rather than with “How do we improve the experience?”
Focusing on what it takes to move the metric can be detrimental and cause inappropriate behavior, gaming, and other undesirables that derail the purpose of listening to customers. And it does nothing to improve the experience — for the customer and for employees. When you focus on the metric, you do things differently than when you focus on improving the experience.
A metric is just that, a metric, and a way of measuring progress. And while it’s good to gauge your performance, the movement of the metric is an outcome down the line — the first area of focus should be: What’s going on with the customer experience and how do we improve it? If you make the metric the endpoint, you’ll fail at the journey.
So here’s how you must use customer satisfaction metrics: to improve the experience continuously! Focus on the experience, and the numbers will come.
Customer satisfaction metrics that you’re tracking come with a wealth of other data, too. Here are five steps to take to go from data to insights to action:
Analysis takes various forms because there will be many different types of data to make sense of. You’ll need a way to cross-tab, predict, identify key drivers, and prioritize improvements with survey data; mine and analyze your unstructured data; and track, review, and prioritize social media inputs and influencers. You’ll conduct linkage analysis to link customer and employee data, customer feedback with operational metrics, and all data to financial measures. And you’ll need to conduct a root cause analysis to understand the why behind it all.
Once data has been broken down and analyzed, it’s most useful for the recipient when it’s been transformed into insights. Put all the pieces of the analysis together to tell a story, to put it into context for those who need to act on it – a story that can be easily understood and translated into a better customer experience.
Insights and their corresponding stories must be shared across the organization and in such a way that people know what to do with it. Insights and resultant recommendations must get into the hands of the right people who will do something with them.
The right people who will do something with the insights must then define the strategy or the action plan. It involves both tactical (how you’ll respond to each and every customer) and strategic (how the business will respond, including operational, product, and process changes) measures. This is where we begin to turn insights into action.
Each department makes their plans for how they will take action, make improvements, and inform customers about those improvements. Then you’ve got to close the loop on your own change management process: track and measure your efforts in order to maintain a continuous improvement cycle.
What’s critical to success when it comes to customer feedback metrics? Doing something with what you’ve heard and learned. When you do, you’ll gain a competitive advantage. We know most brands listen to their customers through surveys and other methods. But not everyone acts on this feedback, and it’s a shame. Imagine what customer experience would be like if all companies acted on real-time feedback.
Ready to launch and optimize a customer experience program? Download the Medallia guide, Ready, Set, Go: How to Launch a Customer Experience Program