What is CSAT, how to measure and improve, and why is it important for the future of your contact center.
Brands are feeling the need to double-down on customer service to maintain or improve customer satisfaction (CSAT). Knowing how and when to engage with customers to resolve issues or otherwise ensure a positive experience is key to improving this metric. But why is CSAT so important for your contact center?
What is customer satisfaction (CSAT)?
Customer satisfaction can be defined as the level of happiness customers experience towards a brand and its products or services. Companies can determine the level of customer satisfaction through surveys, ratings, and other customer outreach. These methods can help brands understand where and how they might improve or change services and products.
How 2020 changed customer’s expectations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on daily life globally. And the changes customers made in 2020 will carry on into 2021 and beyond. As regions of the world start to reopen, brands will find that some changes in customer behavior and attitude prompted by the pandemic are here to stay.
One of these more permanent changes, according to a recent consumer index by EY, is that consumers are now building their lifestyle around their homes, meaning brands need to work harder today to reach the same consumers who would frequent physical stores, restaurants, or offices pre-pandemic.
This shift in where consumption occurs is changing how companies interact with their customers. Brands must now assess how their product or service materializes in a home environment vs. their owned, controlled setting.
Another permanent change? Customers want to engage with brands whose values align with their own.
The same EY index found that—while convenience and price still are considerations—customers are increasingly looking at a brand’s stance on sustainability, sourcing, social responsibility, and other ethical considerations when selecting a product or service.
This started before COVID-19. However, post-pandemic, brand values are key to customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Why is customer satisfaction important in 2021 and the future?
Quite simply, without satisfied customers, there is no business. Satisfied customers tend to become loyal to a brand, which results in repeat purchases.
From a marketing and sales investment standpoint, it is easier to keep an existing customer happy than to continuously recruit new ones. Additional reasons customer satisfaction will remain important include:
- Prioritizing new initiatives. Customer satisfaction insight can help teams identify where they need to improve products and services for better customer experiences and, by extension, customer satisfaction.
- Gaining brand advocates. Satisfied customers are a brand’s most valuable asset when it comes to attracting new customers. Organic testimonials—whether in the form of a review, social media post, or actual verbal recommendation to a friend—can attract more potential customers or leads to a business than any marketing or advertising campaign.
- Helping sales teams. High customer satisfaction scores can make a compelling case for a product or service during the sales cycle. Sales teams can also use positive customer testimonials to identify the differentiating product features when describing the unique competitive offering of a brand.
Digitally Transforming the Customer Experience: The next evolution in contact centers
How to measure customer satisfaction.
There are many ways to measure customer satisfaction. The most common is to conduct customer satisfaction surveys in which customers rate statements about their expectations and perceptions of the product, service, or the brand as a whole.
This information can include a respondent’s age, gender, and other demographic information; how often the respondent uses a specific product or service; their satisfaction with it, and potentially open-ended, long-form responses for more qualitative feedback.
Additionally, there are specific metrics that brands can use to obtain further data and insight. These include:
- Net promoter score. Often referred to as NPS, net promoter score measures customer loyalty by evaluating the probability that a customer will refer a product or service to someone.
- Customer effort score. This metric tracks the customer’s effort to get their issues solved. A lower score indicates an effective customer service process and a happy customer.
- Social media monitoring. Observing what followers are posting to social media can provide additional data points on how customers feel about a brand, and what they might be saying to friends and family.
- Measuring complaints. How many complaints received about products or services sold or survey responses per X number of units. A lower volume of complaints indicates a brand is proactively reducing the number of dissatisfied customers.
How to improve customer satisfaction.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to improving customer satisfaction. In fact, there are as many different solutions as there are customers, as each customer’s experience and expectations are unique.
However, there are a few common activities that can improve customer satisfaction:
- Be honest. Many times, customers have a poor experience due to outsized market claims. Marketing campaigns should be designed to ensure nothing is promised or implied that cannot be met by the product’s or service’s capabilities.
- Know your customer. As mentioned above, each customer is unique; understanding their needs, wants and preferences is a key factor in gaining customer satisfaction. While it is impossible to know each individual with whom a contact center agent or sales representative comes in contact with, brands can get to know general customer commonalities through the collection and analysis of data.
- Listen to your customer. Thanks to the internet and social media, today’s customers have more channels than ever before to comment on their brand experiences. Luckily, keeping an eye on what people are posting and saying is also easier than ever, thanks to new customer service tools that help brands track social conversations, allowing them to address any issue in real-time.
- Be proactive. Listening to customers’ conversations is important when a crisis arises, or to reach out to customers in a positive way. With the right tools in place, a contact center can develop a proactive culture, rather than a reactive one.
The role of the contact center: Now and in the future.
Contact centers and the agents who staff them play a central role in maintaining and restoring customer satisfaction. Many customers only contact a brand when something has gone wrong—a product does not work as expected, a subscription has lapsed, or something has broken. Contact center agents are the first line of defense in turning a potentially disappointed and unsatisfied customer around.
Contact centers must be equipped to handle interactions on the customer’s preferred channel, whether that be on social media, text message, mobile app, webchat, email—or even the old-fashioned telephone.
Offering omnichannel support also gives customers a way to easily transfer between channels, for example, to escalate a web text chat to a phone call with a human agent. Because information from the webchat is transferred to the agent who initiates the phone call, it offers the customer a seamless transition without the frustration of repeating information.
It’s a common understanding that happy employees make for happy customers. Agents who are empowered and happy in their jobs simply provide better service. Studies have shown that employees also perform better when they are appreciated—that personalized “thank you” from a supervisor can go a long way in positively impacting customer satisfaction.
Finally, offer customer service before customers know they need it. These contact points should be timely and personalized to be relevant to the customer, rather than coming off as a nuisance. This strategy can pre-empt potential issues as well as reduce the volume of inbound calls.