Step 1: Choose the right key performance indicator
The 3 most popular customer satisfaction scoring systems—CSAT, NPS, and CES—all provide different insights you can use to fine-tune the customer experience.
- CSAT scores allow you to review the customer experience through every interaction people have with your brand.
- NPS scores provide a broad overview of how your past and current customers feel about your business and its offerings.
- CES scores reveal barriers that may prevent people from completing purchases, contacting support, or interacting with your company.
Select the best one for the job by deciding what you want to measure.
Do you want to examine the quality of individual interactions, like completing onboarding? CSAT will allow you to assess the customer experience at key moments. Prefer to pinpoint potential obstacles in the customer journey? Let CES show you the barriers standing in the way. Or use NPS to gauge general customer sentiment about your brand.
Step 2: Decide what customer insights you want
Use your general idea of what you want to measure and narrow it down further. This will help you write your survey questions in the next step. You can focus on gleaning targeted insights or go for a broad overview.
For targeted insights, think at the granular level. For example, to assess onboarding, consider focusing on customers’ satisfaction with your website, product demo, or sign-up process. When it comes to customer service, gauge customer happiness about response times or how well your agents handle their complaints.
If you’re unsure where your company needs work, it’s okay to step back and start from the top. Ask how customers feel about onboarding or if your customer service system is easy to use. You can always narrow it down later once you understand which areas leave customers dissatisfied.
Step 3: Create a customer satisfaction score survey
With your target customer life cycle moments in mind, you’re ready to create your first customer satisfaction survey. Just remember to keep each survey brief and straight to the point to get the highest response rates.
Start by writing several CSAT survey questions that might generate valuable customer insights. Examples of questions you may want to ask include:
- How satisfied are you with your recent shopping experience?
- How likely are you to recommend our subscription service to others?
- How would you rate the responsiveness of our technical support team?
- Were you able to easily create your account for our online portal?
Also, pick a rating scale you’d like to use for all your CSAT surveys, such as 1-3, 1-5, or 1-10. Keep this consistent to accurately gauge how well you’ve improved after enacting changes in response to previous survey results.
Determine the platform you’d like to use to create and send your surveys. Mailchimp allows you to create hosted surveys shareable through email, social posts, and more. There’s also an option to use the poll or survey merge tag to let your recipients respond to the question right from their inbox.
Other survey tools include Typeform, Google Forms, and SurveyMonkey. These options let you send the questions through their system or integrate the account with Mailchimp. If you choose the latter option, it’s simple to view the results and segment your recipients based on their survey responses.
Either way, build your CSAT survey with 10 questions or less. Most questions should have a rating scale but adding at least one open-ended question for more in-depth insights is a good idea. Ideally, CES and NPS surveys should be just one question answerable only with a rating scale.
Step 4: Select your customer satisfaction survey channels
Your customer satisfaction surveys are only helpful if they are filled out and returned for review. And that requires them to reach the recipient at a time and place where they’re receptive to providing feedback.
To achieve this, select your customer satisfaction survey channels with care. Send the survey through the same channels your customers use to reach you whenever possible.
If they engage with your brand through email, deliver your surveys by email. People who interact with your company through your website may respond better to a survey that pops up during their visit.
For the best response rates, set it up so your surveys get delivered when customers complete certain actions, like clicking on a relevant navigation link. Sending CSAT surveys at the moment of engagement increases the chance that your customers will be open to sharing feedback and give thoughtful responses.
Step 5: Calculate your customer satisfaction score
Once your survey results are in, you have 2 main ways to calculate your customer satisfaction score: composite and detailed. If you want to run a customer-centric business, they’re both worth calculating, but you’ll learn more from the detailed view.
Composite customer satisfaction score
The composite customer satisfaction score is the average score of all the survey responses. To calculate it, add all survey scores, divide this by the sum of the highest achievable score, and then multiply by 100.
For example, if your scores add up to 180, but the sum of the highest attainable score is 250, the CSAT score calculation would be:
(180 / 250) * 100 = 72
Your composite customer satisfaction score would be 72, reflecting the satisfaction level with the survey’s area of focus.
Detailed customer satisfaction score
The detailed customer satisfaction score is the percentage of people who report that they’re satisfied with your customer experience. To find that percentage, divide the customers who select satisfied or better by the total number of survey responses, then multiply by 100.
For example, if you got 32 ratings of satisfied or better out of 50 total responses, you’d calculate your score with this formula:
(32 / 50) * 100 = 64
The calculations reveal that 64% of your customers were happy with their experience, but 36% felt it could have been better.
The detailed view separates unhappy customers from satisfied ones, offering a benchmark for improvement in each area of focus. This approach also only considers the top 2 highest-rated responses, which are the most reliable predictors for customer retention.
Step 6: Consider comparing your score to customer satisfaction benchmarks
Every company is unique, so what’s considered to be a good score varies. You can gauge how well you’re meeting customers’ expectations by comparing your CSAT scores to the American Customer Satisfaction Index benchmarks. This resource lists scores by industry and company, so you can see exactly where you stand.
When looking at the different business sectors, you’ll see scores like:
- Fast food restaurants: 78%
- Supermarkets: 76%
- Automobiles: 77%
- Household appliances: 79%
- Banks: 78%
- Search engines: 80%
- Video streaming service: 77%
Hospitals, internet service providers, and other industries with less positive public perceptions have benchmark CSAT scores of 70% or lower.
Typically, most brands strive for scores of 75% or above, but it’s pretty tough to get past the 85% mark. If you’re at or above the industry benchmark, you’re probably succeeding in delivering an exceptional customer experience. It doesn’t hurt to keep making improvements though, especially if your competitors are consistently raising the bar.
Step 7: Analyze the data to go deeper in measuring customer satisfaction
Score numbers offer a glimpse into how your customers feel about your brand, but they don’t tell the whole story. You will need to analyze CSAT survey data to get the inside scoop about each customer’s satisfaction levels.
If you asked any open-ended questions, you’ll quickly get to the reasoning behind many of the ratings. Keep an eye out for recurring words and feelings while reading through the responses. This qualitative data helps you pinpoint the most common things that positively or negatively affect customer satisfaction.
CSAT surveys without open-ended questions require you to break down the data to understand the feedback better. There are many ways to do this, such as:
Combine the analysis results to create a report about what you learned from the survey. Focus on what people love about your company and the areas you could improve. Transform those insights into action by deciding what improvements to make and how to accomplish your goals.
Enact the changes once you’re ready to put your plan into action. Give the improvements time to work their magic, then send out the same survey to gauge customer reactions. Repeat this process until you and your customers are happy with the results.
Best ways to improve customer satisfaction metrics
The best way to improve customer satisfaction metrics is to make targeted improvements based on survey scores and feedback. But there’s another path to improvement: making sure your customers feel heard and valued through all the key touchpoints.
To create that framework, set up all the support channels possible for your customers:
- 24/7 phone support
- Self-service knowledge base
- Monitored forums
Also, train your employees to properly collect and respond to feedback during every customer support interaction. Consider sharing real-time survey results with your support agents to give them all the data needed to provide a superb customer service experience.
Moreover, respond to all negative and positive feedback to show that you’re listening and open to making changes. Address negative survey responses with follow-up questions and offers that can help smooth over the situation until you’re ready to fix the problem permanently. Send customers a thank-you card when they share how happy they are with your brand.
Happy customers lead to increased business success
Happy customers keep coming back, share their love for your brand with the world, and encourage others to try what you offer. They’re your enthusiastic brand ambassadors. And they do it because they’re delighted with the customer experience your company provides. So, it’s smart to continually measure customer satisfaction scores and work to keep customers happy. Ultimately, this proactive approach pays off in a big way by driving growth and increasing your business success