Improving Satisfaction with Digital Customer Service

Satisfied customers are a mark of success for any business. They’re likely to spend more money, be more loyal, and recommend your brand to others. Of course, unsatisfied customers are often the opposite — and they’re even more likely to talk about their dissatisfaction. Dimensional Research reports 95% of customers share poor customer service experiences with others.

Most brands track certain metrics, including customer satisfaction (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), and customer effort score (CES), to gauge how well they’re serving customers. Each calculation gives a numerical value you can use as a benchmark or leading indicator when making improvements to customer service operations or your brand’s customer journey.

These scores provide insight into which experiences and channels drive the most satisfaction, as well as which pain points are negatively impacting customers. Benchmarking scores against ever-changing industry standards and monitoring even subtle shifts over time allows brands to access valuable information about the quality of their customer care.

The most important customer satisfaction metrics

CSAT, NPS, and CES scores are all used to quantify customer satisfaction. Here’s how they work.

CSAT

CSAT — short for customer satisfaction — measures how pleased customers are with a particular product, service, or experience. Brands simply send customers a short survey asking them to rate their experience. Scales can range from poor to excellent, 1–5, or even happy face to angry face.

Average those responses to find CSAT. Usually, this is a numerical calculation, but on simpler scales, it could be how many customers chose “happy” versus “unhappy.” The resulting value is typically a percentage ranging from 0–100, with higher being better. 

NPS

NPS stands for net promoter score and tracks customers’ willingness to recommend, or “promote,” a brand’s products or services. This can be a strong indicator of overall customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers are asked how likely they are to recommend a company or product to a family member, friend, or colleague, usually on a scale of 1–10.

Customers are then scored into three categories:

  • Promoters: A score of 9/10—these are your most loyal and enthusiastic customers.
  • Passives: A score of 7/8—these customers are satisfied with your business, but less likely to recommend it than promoters.
  • Detractors: A score of 0–6. These customers are unsatisfied and may discourage others from engaging with your business.

NPS is a net score, calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters (passives are considered a net zero). You’ll end up with a number between -100 and 100, with higher being better.

CES

CES stands for customer effort score, and measures the ease of engaging and interacting with your brand. Brands ask customers to rank their experience, typically on a scale from one (very easy) to five (very difficult).

Here’s when a brand might use a CES survey:

  • After a customer touchpoint has led to a purchase
  • Immediately after a customer service interaction
  • To track the overall customer experience with your product or brand

To calculate CES, divide the sum of scores by the number of respondents. Unlike CSAT and NPS, CES scores improve as they get lower — as the experience gets less difficult.

How to improve NPS, CES, and CSAT scores

Okay, so we’ve gone over what these scores are and why it’s important to track them. (In case you need reinforcement for that point, Harvard Business Review reports satisfied customers spend 140% more than those with bad experiences.)

But knowing these scores won’t help you unless you also know how to improve them. One of the best ways to do so: invest in digital-first customer care. 

This means reducing your brand’s dependence on legacy systems like phone and synchronous chat and replacing them with modern, efficient systems that use AI and advanced workflows to save your brand money while also improving customer experience. Here are four ways to get started.

Speedier interactions with customer service

Around 50% of respondents have interacted with brands on social media. Of that 50%, most expect brands to respond to their message. About 30% even said they would stop giving a brand their business if that brand didn’t meet the customer’s timeframe expectations for a response. Customers don’t like waiting for a response, which can put a strain on your contact center, especially if you’re not responding on social media. You certainly don’t want 30% of your customers to leave simply because you’re not responding in time.

The best solution isn’t magic — it’s digital. It starts with modernizing your contact center. More modern contact centers deflect calls to digital channels and use chatbots to automate repetitive, predictable tasks. This reduces the strain on your agents, freeing them up to handle more challenging (and interesting) interactions. A good digital solution can also help you implement advanced workflows to direct inquiries exactly where they need to go, reducing the amount of time a customer has to wait for a response.

Accessible conversation histories

Sometimes your customer care team can’t solve an issue with a single interaction. That’s okay — customers may have complex issues. But when that happens, make sure that the customer’s conversation transcript and interaction history transfer with the conversation itself. If agents can’t refer back to conversation history and notes, customers must repeat themselves, causing frustration. 

Frustration decreases CSAT and NPS while increasing CES. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connect Customer report, 68% of customers consider it “absolutely critical” for customer service agents to know their service history so they can avoid spending extra time and effort re-explaining.

Accessibility across channels in one single platform

When your customers need help, make it easy for them to get it. To start, increase the number of ways they can contact you. There are large gaps between the channels consumers want to use and the channels brands actually make available. 

For example, many consumers want to communicate via SMS or social media, but are forced to go on a brand’s website to use their legacy web chat system. If your brand can bridge this gap, you can improve your experience and customer satisfaction metrics. Use a digital solution to offer customers a variety of options — SMS, social media, web chat, messaging, review sites, and more — all through a single platform. This allows customers to reach you on their choice of digital channel, saving them time and trouble in seeking you out.

High survey participation among customers

If the total number of survey respondents is too small to represent your entire customer base, you might not be getting the most accurate data. A small sample size can skew results — especially because people with bad experiences more often leave feedback. The more respondents your survey has, the stronger your data.

How do you improve your survey’s response rate? Personalization. Linkdex reports 79% of customers expect brands to get to know them on a deeper level. They also expect brands to provide tailored offers and experiences. To personalize your survey notifications, A/B test email subject lines and body content, include the customer’s name, or send the survey in the customer’s preferred language.

Mike Betzer is General Manager of Khoros Care.

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