You could have the most irresistible product on the market. But if your customer service lags behind your innovative offerings, your profits will surely follow the same pattern. Microsoft’s 2020 Global State of Customer Service report reveals 90% of consumers rank service as a factor when making purchases. That means nine out of 10 of your customers may be one bad interaction away from switching loyalties.
This isn’t something you want to hear, especially on the heels of COVID-related changing consumer sentiment. Plenty of shoppers from countries that practically flatlined economically during the pandemic altered their behaviors for numerous reasons. Per McKinsey research, about two-thirds of those buyers expect to continue flirting with different brands for the foreseeable future.
In other words, your customer service matters more than ever to your bottom line. It’s not just nice to know how consumers are perceiving touchpoints with your company and associates. It’s vital. That’s why you need to have measurements in place to take the temperature of shoppers in the moment. However, using 30,000-foot view customer satisfaction measures (like CSAT) to gauge happiness can provide inaccurate pictures of your business model.
The pitfalls of “umbrella” CSAT measures
Today, companies have the chance to use a variety of means to measure CSAT. Often, they rely upon an overview score focused on the way the customer felt after a transaction. For instance, a shopper might be asked to complete a brief Likert scale survey after talking with a company representative. The shopper would be asked to rate her last experience on a scale topping out at 5. Her response would be added to others’ responses and averaged to create a CSAT score.
Over time, your business would keep track of CSAT number fluctuations until it landed at a baseline. Let’s say it settled at 3.2. At that point, you would probably want to move the needle up. This is where the score becomes problematic: You don’t know how to fill in the gaps. Put another way, you’re not sure why you’re missing 1.8 points. You just know that customers aren’t as happy as you’d like them to be. (And yes, you can ask customers to give detailed follow-ups. Most won’t.)
When a customer provides you with a generalized score, you’re only getting a sliver of a view of what happened. You can’t necessarily know why you’re losing points. Perhaps your customers enjoyed interacting with your customer service representatives, but they were dissatisfied with your company’s return policy, so they gave a low score. This ends up bringing down the whole CSAT score average, but you might not connect the dots because you don’t have the data to dig into either individual agent interactions or team-wide insights. Therefore, you can’t fix the issue and you end up with what MaestroQA defines as an “Experience Blindspot.”
In a piece devoted to addressing Experience Blindspots, MaestroQA recommends analyzing each representative’s performance to boost CSAT. As noted, one online company improved its call center handling time by 30% by tracking individual agent performance. This allowed the company to drill down, identify friction areas, and smooth out any wrinkles.
Strategies to measure CSAT more holistically
You can’t afford to get lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to your CSAT scores. Below are several ways to rate your company’s customer service and support more comprehensively. That way, you can get to the roof cause of what’s lacking in your customer experience and improve scores across the board.
1. Gather diverse types of customer experience data.
It’s getting easier all the time to collect data from every call center interaction. Start thinking about which data points you’re currently missing. Then, look for ways to generate the information. Make sure you focus on data that can be useful for upskilling your employees.
As an example, you may want to look at not just your call center’s first call resolution rate, but each agent’s, too. Knowing the overarching score as well as individual scores can reveal gaps quickly. Once you pinpoint problems, you can move forward with training and coaching plans.
2. Weigh the value of speed versus substance.
Many CSAT scores relate to speediness. This makes sense from a corporate perspective. The more swiftly your team can move customers through support, the more efficient your service department can be.
Think of it from this angle: You could solve some calls in three minutes. But you might miss a chance to show empathy. Taking an extra minute to listen to a caller’s concerns could boost the way the customer feels about your brand. Don’t forget that according to Invesp statistics, losing customers leads to wasteful spending. You could spend up to five times more to replace a buyer than retain one. So speed isn’t always as important as it seems.
3. Tap top performers.
As you begin to get a better handle on where you can make improvements, be on the lookout for stars. These will be your agents whose performances rank highest across the board. Once you’ve identified them, tap into their expertise and make them mentors. Or, ask them to train their peers after helping them develop a branded training curriculum.
Make no mistake: Topping your up-and-comers isn’t just a good way to improve your customer experience. It’s also a method to increase employee engagement and retention. Workers appreciate being called out for what they’re doing right. Therefore, focus as much attention on those doing well as those who require more education.
Your customers chose your brand for a reason. And you want them to become your biggest cheerleaders for the long haul. Assure them that you’re their perfect match by continuously improving their (and your) customer experience. You can start by mining data differently to develop a whole-picture understanding of the true face you show the public.