What Is the Best Way to Measure Customer Satisfaction?

It seems as if the business world is always ripe with new strategies, theories and tests to ensure growth, productivity and success. This is no different in the world of customer experience!

There are plenty of tools, strategies and guides to gauge your customers’ level of satisfaction, and proactively make choices to ensure they remain engaged and a consistent part of your customer family.

You may have heard, read about, or even tested strategies such as CSAT, NPS, CES or other fun acronyms and wondered, which one is best?

The truth is - there is no universal answer. There are many ways to measure satisfaction, and the best one depends on your team, industry, as well as personality and management style. In fact, often, you will need to use a series of different strategies. Here are a few of the most common, and some ways to see if they are a fit for you.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Surveys aren’t necessarily a system like others in the list, but instead, they are a tool. In fact, some of the other systems we mention are built around surveys such as NPS and CES.

Whether part of a larger system or not, surveys are an ideal way of collecting data on customer happiness. They typically consist of asking your customers how satisfied they are, with or without follow up questions. The three most common variations include: In-App Surveys, Post-Service Surveys and Long Email Surveys.

Who Should Use Them?

Everyone! There’s no disadvantage to using customer surveys. However, it is ideal to ensure you’re using the “correct” ones. If you are managing an app, then in-app surveys are ideal. However, if you wait to do an email survey once a customer churns, then it may be too late! Find out which type of surveys fit best for your product.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

This is one of the most common metrics for gauging customer satisfaction. It’s also one of the most straight forward - you simply ask customers to rate their satisfaction with your business. The CSAT score is the average of your customer’s feedback.

The scale typically ranges from 1-3, 1-5 or 1-10. The larger scale isn’t always better. Think about it. How can you really determine how to improve a 6, rather than a 2 or 3? It’s also been discussed that cultural differences may influence these types of surveys.

For instance, in a 1-10 scale, certain countries may consider a 5 to be fine, while others may consider that to be unsatisfactory. Therefore, it’s sometimes easier to keep these in the lower 1-5 or 1-3 ranges.

Who Should Use Them?

This one is another universal method. It’s also a method that can be part of complete systems such as NPS. The charm of these tests are their directness. You just need to ensure your questions are direct and to the point.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likeliness of a customer referring your company to someone, and it’s an incredible way of measuring customer loyalty. Customers are asked how likely they are to recommend the company on a scale from 1 to 10.

One of the benefits of NPS is that it’s not about satisfaction, but if you’re happy enough or willing enough to refer to others. It cuts down the question of satisfaction and goes into your reputation and customer advocacy.

Calculating your NPS score is also very easy. Take the percentage of respondents who fall within the ‘promoter’ category (10 - 9) and subtract the percentage of ‘detractors’ (0 - 6).

Who Should Use Them?

This measure can be used by many, however, many SaaS businesses and apps really enjoy NPS surveys. This is largely because apps rely on high ratings in app stores, and other public review websites. You have the ability to track in-app activity and send push notifications to easily capture this data. There are also easy ways to send users to app stores for reviews.

NPS surveys can easily be applied to shops with physical products as well.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

This method is a bit different from NPS, as it isn’t asking about referring, but about the effort it took for customers to have their issues resolved. Of course, the aim is to lower the average score.

Instead of putting all that effort into delighting the customer, this method argues it should be invested in making the customer experience and problem resolution as easy as possible.

Timing is key here. You have to know when to ask users about their customer experience. Otherwise, the ease of use may be forgotten. That’s why it’s great for in-app or live chat services.

Who Should Use Them?

This measure is ideal for any company that has customer service, however, it can also be used for service-based companies that solve specific issues. That way, it can be used not only to monitor your customer support, but also daily operations.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media is a great ear into the daily chatter surrounding your product. While many businesses actively have help or support Twitter accounts, customers don’t always tag your business to chat about their experience.

That’s why monitoring tools exist to look into customer discussions and gauge sentiment. While it may not be survey based, it could be argued that it's even better. Not every customer is going to answer a survey, but they may go to social media to complain or rave about their experience.

If you don’t already have a social media monitoring tool, such as Sprinklr, Mention or SocialMention, even setting Google Alerts is a fine way to manage discussions, or even searching keywords directly via Twitter or Facebook.

Survey Best Practices

Regardless of which measure you choose to deploy, consider the following best practices for customer satisfaction surveys:

  • Keep the survey short. Try to use no more than three questions and put your most important question first.
  • Set the time expectation. Tell the customer how long the survey will take.
  • Automate the launch of the survey. Immediacy of feedback is key. If you wait several days to issue a survey, your customer won’t remember much about the interaction.
  • Use an open-ended text box. Apply text analytics to analyze the voice of the customer
  • Build a dashboard to measure and monitor survey results in real time.
  • Distribute customer insights throughout the organization and educate your organization on the use of customer insights to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

These are just a few items to explore when you’re developing strategies to measure satisfaction. Keep in mind that it’s not just about the data, but instead, how you use that data. No matter if you’re just sending out an occasional survey, or employing an NPS strategy with in-app messaging and direct outreach, it’s vital to have the right questions, right message and right analysis to ensure you’re capturing the true voice of the customer.