Measuring customer happiness
There’s widespread agreement that customer satisfaction is vital to every organisation. A Gartner poll found that 80% of executives thought it was more important than three years ago, with 95% seeing it as the key way of differentiating from competitors.
Where there’s less togetherness is how you measure the customer experience. For example, many of the traditional metrics used within customer service, such as Average Handle Time (AHT), essentially monitor productivity, rather than how satisfied a customer is with the interaction. So while increasing efficiency by dealing with customer queries faster is normally positive, there is a risk that companies will not take into account higher-value interactions that require more time to complete.
Other methodologies move beyond efficiency to focus on the customer, with many organisations scoring themselves based on customer satisfaction, engagement and loyalty. Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, which ask whether the customer would recommend a company to a friend have consequently grown rapidly in usage. NPS provides a quick, non-intrusive way of measuring satisfaction – after all, few consumers would risk their own credibility by endorsing an organisation that they didn’t personally rate.
Many organisations balance this yes/no response with more detailed questionnaires that delve into the customer experience in more detail. This should enable them to iron out specific issues within the customer journey, which otherwise could be missed. The key thing with questionnaires is to gain sufficient feedback from customers without overloading them with pages of questions that take hours to fill out. We’ve all been on the receiving end of overlong customer satisfaction surveys that drain away any positive feelings for a brand by taking up too much of our valuable time. And often these are received days or months after the communication with the company.
Essentially, companies want to understand customer satisfaction when it matters – at the point where they interact with the organisation, with the minimum of bias involved. This is where analysing customer service data, particularly by using linguistics, provides a powerful, detailed picture of customer satisfaction, both on an individual and wider level. This works in four interlinked ways:
1. Finding the gaps
You can use customer service data to see where a consumer was in the journey and what they were doing before they made contact, what they asked and what they did after that. Is it a specific page or part of the process that is causing confusion and forcing them to call or email for help? Pinpointing these issues, either by redesigning pages or adding easier online support options, such as tailored web self-service or proactive chat can dramatically improve satisfaction.
2. Measuring the buzz
Social media gives everyone a megaphone to talk about your brand – whether you like it or not. Companies therefore need to be continually monitoring for mentions (both positive and negative) on Twitter and Facebook and have a seamless escalation process in place to deal with complaints, even if they are not directly addressed to them.
The majority of customer interaction is now digital, taking place through the email, web or social media channels. This means that linguistic-powered customer service software not only increases efficiency by automatically identifying key terms and providing consistent answers, but also enables analysis of the context and sentiment of the language used. Angry or upset customers can be quickly identified and prioritised and the overall process measured over time. Did the intervention deliver the right result and win or retain the customer?
4. Measuring change over time
When businesses make changes to products and services it can be difficult to measure the impact over an extended period. But by using linguistics companies can monitor the percentage of comments around a particular product that are positive, negative or neutral, and how this changes over time. This can then be used to qualify the impact of changes – and if further amendments are needed.
Measuring customer satisfaction requires a whole new set of tools and metrics that go beyond efficiency. Companies need to understand this and adopt a framework that delivers insight into how their customers really feel, if they are to thrive in increasingly competitive markets.