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For every customer complaint, there are 26 unhappy customers ready to jump ship in silence. While this is already bad news for businesses with poor customer service, it gets a lot worse. 56% of customers who have a negative experience won’t return, while 34% will post their negative feedback online through reviews and social media.

With such a crowded marketplace, great customer service is more important than ever. In fact, according to a consumer report by Walker Information, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the most crucial brand differentiator. But how do you know if your customer satisfaction measures up?

How do you measure happiness?

There are several methods used to measure customer happiness, each addressing a different phase of the support process: CES, NSP, and CSAT.

  • The Customer Effort Score (CES) indicates how difficult it is for your customers to find what they are looking for
  • The Net Promoter Score (NPS) highlights customer loyalty by measuring change over time and is the strongest indication of long-term growth
  • Both are extremely important when gauging customer happiness, but neither can stand on their own without first gauging how satisfied your customers are with the products and services you provide. That’s where CSAT comes in.

Takeaway: all 3 measurements are important, but the foundation comes from understanding the level of customer satisfaction and making process improvements as a result of CSAT Surveys.

What is CSAT?

CSAT is the most common way to measure customer satisfaction. It tells you how your customers feel about a particular product or service, immediately following their interaction with your sales or support team.

If you have ever purchased anything online, there is a good chance you have seen the type of survey that leads to a CSAT score:

How satisfied were you with your service?

○ Very Unsatisfied ○ Unsatisfied ○ Neutral ○ Satisfied ● Very Satisfied

Simple but effective, CSAT scores are a clear indication of your customer satisfaction, and can quickly reveal hidden insights about your company, your products, and perhaps most importantly, your customer service.

CSAT scores are particularly versatile because they can apply to anything. After a hotel stay, it is common to be asked about your satisfaction with the room, the amenities, check in, check out, and more. With the information clients provide, hotel managers instantly know which areas of the business are excelling, and which ones need improvement.

Takeaway: CSAT is a quick and simple survey to gauge customer satisfaction in a way that enables you to improve your customer service.

How to make the most of your CSAT data

“95 percent of companies survey their customers, but only 10 percent actually use the feedback to take action.” - 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service

A lot of companies don’t take advantage of their customer data, and that is often because they don’t know what to do with it. Recognizing what your customers don’t like about your service is a good start, but it doesn’t make much difference if you don’t act on it.

1. Aggregate your customer feedback

Let’s say you have a CSAT score of 90%. That’s great! Now what?

First, look at the individual scores that contributed to your average. If your customers are “Very Satisfied” with your product or service but only “Neutral” about your customer support, that’s where your investigation should begin.

Understanding where your customer satisfaction stops is the first step to resolving any issues that stand between you and an exceptional CSAT score. However, it is not enough to implement the changes necessary to achieve it.

2. Recognize common support issues

If your lowest ratings lie with a particular department, consider segmenting your data by individual employees. It might suddenly become obvious which bad apple is ruining the bunch or at the very least, help you recognize trends that are affecting your overall customer satisfaction.

Perhaps your veteran employees always score high while your new recruits are leaving your customers wanting more. This could be a strong indication that it’s time to develop better customer service skills in your team or restructure your hiring process altogether.

If you still can’t put your finger on the problem, take a closer look at your customer surveys and try to find common support issues that may have more to do with your infrastructure than your employees.

Common complaints might include:

  • Long waits
  • Being transferred to the wrong department
  • Not providing enough information to resolve the issue
  • Not receiving any follow up after the problem is resolved

These types of problems tell you more about your general support procedures than your training manual, but still require immediate action if you want to increase customer loyalty and reduce customer churn.

3. Take action

To effectively increase your CSAT score, you must further investigate the root of your customer support issues and implement new procedures to resolve the common problems you discover.

  • Spend time with your employees

Make sure they understand the importance of loyal customers and follow the specific guidelines your company has created. This may require additional training, but the return will far outweigh the cost.

  • Ask questions

In some cases, you will find internal issues that are preventing your support team from doing their job effectively. Maybe there is too much pressure to close support tickets quickly or a particular manager who is making them feel overworked and underappreciated.

The true definition of customer service is more nuanced than it seems, and happy employees are more likely to create happy customers.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

Like most things, great customer service is a matter of trial and error. Once you’ve established what it is your customers don’t like about your product or service, and after listening to your employees to find out what obstacles lie in their way, try something new and track the results.

Modify your customer support procedures or incentivize team members who provide exceptional customer service to keep them involved in the process.

Takeaway: It’s not enough to ask customers for their feedback. The only way to improve your CSAT score is to use the data you receive and act on it.

Keep listening to your customers

The only way to know if your changes are making a difference is to continue listening to what your customers have to say. If your CSAT scores are not improving, then try something different. If they are, let your team know and celebrate their successes. When it comes to customer satisfaction, employee morale can go a long way.

Takeaway: Customer satisfaction is a never-ending process that only brings results when it is seen as a priority.

Customer service is only going to grow in importance and companies with customer-centric cultures will be the last ones standing. If you need help collecting genuine feedback about your customer satisfaction, download a free trial of SmileBack and get the data you need to keep your customers happy.