The Most Effective Ways to Measure Customer Satisfaction

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
effective ways to measure customer satisfaction

Even though you might have an accurate idea of your businesses’ sales figures and turnover, you need more than that to assess customer satisfaction. Customer insights can give you a detailed idea of what your customers think about you and what you do.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get a handle on just how satisfied your customers are. These go from the most basic overview to the most detailed customer satisfaction metrics

But first things first, let’s start by seeing why it's so important to measure customer satisfaction in the first place. 

Why Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Just trying to keep my customers satisfied, sang Simon and Garfunkel way back when in their ode to staying commercially afloat. But they really weren't doing enough. It's not just about attempting to please your customers with positive experiences and great products. 

You also need to have a way of assessing the level of customer satisfaction. The ugly truth is that unhappy customers cost you money. Loosing unsatisfied customers is bad news, because you then have to attract new customers to compensate for the churn, and new customers don't necessarily come easy. 

Source: Markinblog

Worse than this, if dissatisfied customers elect to go public with their poor customer experience, this will make attracting new customers even more tricky. So, eventually, your customer base shrivels to nothing. And all because you didn't have a way of being sure that you had satisfied customers. 

The good news is that this doesn't have to involve a huge effort — you can build some of these into your routines just as you probably have with marketing automation. For instance, you can send out post-purchase customer feedback emails as easily as you might send out regular update emails. 

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Indicators

Let's look briefly at the main areas that customer satisfaction tools cover. When you're sure which area is most important to you, you'll be better equipped to choose between the available tools. 

1. Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) ratings are the most basic way to determine a customer's take on a product. Basic and straightforward questions are asked about, say, a new vegan sausage, and the respondent can choose from a list of responses to reveal just how much satisfaction that sausage delivered to their lives. 

For each respondent, the total response score is divided by the total number of questions. This figure is then multiplied by 100. That gives a Customer Satisfaction Score in a percentage format. 

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Source: Survivicate

The Net Promoter Score focuses on how likely a customer is to recommend the product to somebody else. Their likelihood of doing so is scored out of 10, whereas 1-6 is considered a detractor score and 9-10 is a promoter score. The percentage of detractors is subtracted from the percentage of promoters. This delivers the overall net promoter score for that product. 

3. Customer Effort Score

This score measures the ease with which customers use your product or service, resolve a support issue, or find the information they need. Customers rate this on a scale of 1 to 7. 

The CES is useful to assess customers’ efforts so that you can reduce friction and provide a more seamless experience and easier solutions. 

4. Customer Happiness Index

This is a relatively new measure aimed at discovering how likely a customer is to terminate a relationship with a business. 

It reflects on how a customer feels about the engagement with your company. Additionally, it gives businesses an indication of whether they will stick with them forever and recommend them to their friends and peers or not.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Tools

There’s quite a range of measurement tools you can use. However, you shouldn't just plump for the first tool that can tell you how many happy customers you have. It's important to appraise the different tools available and pick the one that best suits your business type. 

1. Customer Satisfaction Survey

Image sourced from tidio.com

Alt text: Customer satisfaction survey questions with radio button options

When considering a satisfaction survey, you must consider various elements before actually asking those questions. 

a) How are you going to deliver the survey? There are so many ways now, such as face-to-face, phone, social media, live chat, email survey, or even post. Which you choose will be influenced a good deal by the product itself. 

For instance, if you're trying to find out about customer journeys with a new gaming app, you're probably not going to get far with a postal survey. Conversely, if you're interested in finding out whether your new mobility scooter is on the right track, you might be best advised not to post your survey on TikTok.

b) What's the frequency of the survey going to be? Is it a one-off snapshot of your clientele? Or is it a repeated take on customer opinion over a longer period, aimed at measuring satisfaction over time? In addition, think about how the frequency you choose might serve to maximize the response rate.

c) How is the analysis to take place? Will it be you doing the number crunching? Or is it better to enlist the services of somebody not so close to the brand?

d) And don't forget the most important question: what do you actually want to know? OK, you want to discern satisfaction, but is it with a particular aspect of the product or the overall deal? 

Once you've been clear with yourself about what it is you're trying to find out, you can start phrasing meaningful and relevant questions. If you're supplying various services but you actually just want to know about how your VoIP phone for small businesses division is performing, then focus on that. 

2. Monitoring Forums and Social Media

Image sourced from localiq.com

Alt text: Reddit message board displaying negative comments about a brand

Most social media platforms carry an enormous facility for discussion regarding a brand, product, or service. Consequently, this is an important window into customer opinions on your operation. You need to improve your review management strategy and stay on top of any negative reviews because you can be sure that others will be reading and basing their ongoing opinions on it. 

So, learn from what customers are saying to each other on social media channels about user experience, and, even better, join the discussion. Not to excuse your failings, but to highlight where things are being remedied, and to thank the customer(s) for bringing them to your attention. This can be a very effective form of customer support

3. Qualitative Interviews

These are more in-depth instruments which are intended to go into much more detail with a particular customer. The customer chosen needs to meet certain criteria so as to be somewhat representative of a decent proportion of a business's customer base. These criteria can include age, gender, and geographical location, as well as associated tastes in other products or interests. 

The interview itself will attempt to ascertain the customer's feelings about the product, service, and/or brand, with both multiple choice and plenty of open-ended and follow-up questions allowing customers to expand on their experiences where they wish to. There will also be a good deal of emphasis on discovering a customer's likelihood of being a promoter. 

Qualitative interviews may be a little more resource-hungry than large-scale customer surveys, but they can be very useful at eliciting novel and nuanced responses from customers, especially when it comes to very complex subjects. They can throw up all kinds of interesting insights that a broader, shallower survey will fail to do. 

Say you're selling warehouse systems, and you want to discover how an inventory planner is being received by its users. By rating inventory planner satisfaction with a qualitative interview, you may discover aspects of the planner and its use that would never have occurred to you otherwise. These can even then go on to be used in promotional material in the future. 

4. Sentiment Analysis 

Source: Landbot

Analyzing customer sentiment can take several forms. For instance, if you have a cloud-based phone system, you can use your virtual PBX services to monitor the emotional condition of your callers. This will in turn tell you what specific areas and stimuli tend to result in certain emotional responses. 

You can also seek to get an idea of the overall sentiment of the callers about the business or a product. This can then lead to efforts to enhance your customers' emotional loyalty to your business. 

5. Mystery Shoppers

You know that when you walk into your business, your employees are going to present themselves in the best possible light. In order to discover how customers experience your operation, you need to see how your staff performs on an average day with a regular customer. 

This is where a mystery shopper can help. They'll be tasked with reporting on various aspects of the experience, giving a much more representative take than you would be able to yourself. 

6. Customer Experience Analytics

You can get an exceptionally good picture of a customer journey by attending to where the snags seem to occur on, for instance, a website. Customer experience analytics will tell you where problems such as ineffective CTA point might be tightened up. 

After reviewing the various measurement tools available, it's important to note that there are different ways to measure customer satisfaction depending on your business type and specific goals. It's worth exploring different options and experimenting with different tools to find the approach that works best for your business.

Mind Those Moans!

Happy is great, but unhappy can be better. This is the paradox that we have to get our heads around when dealing with customer satisfaction. 

Everyone loves positive reviews, but it's actually among the weeds of discontent that the possibilities for improvement lurk. This way, you can work towards greater customer loyalty and customer retention. So we have to go looking for dissatisfaction, and the way to do this is to use the right customer satisfaction tool.