Customer satisfaction: yardstick, touchstone, the indispensable performance gauge of contact centres everywhere.
In the digital age especially, where time is money, journeys matter more than ever before, and anything less-than-premium service is likely to have users turning up their noses, finding ways to improve customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) is vital for any self-respecting customer experience management strategy.
CSAT Strategy & Your Bottom Line
With the right strategies and tools, you can enhance service quality and create exceptional customer experiences that keep your clients coming back for more.
To put it bluntly, customer satisfaction is your key to business success – in the words of James Cash Penney (founder of J.C. Penney department store chain), “the well-satisfied customer will bring the repeat sale that counts.”
But even the most advanced software can only take you so far. To truly excel, you need to understand the factors influencing customer satisfaction and, more importantly, how to measure and improve them.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the best practices for customer service and customer experience management: from the first touchpoints to social media and beyond. We’ll show you how to use metrics and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement, and provide actionable insights to help you take your CSAT scores to the next level.
So join us as we dive into the world of customer satisfaction and explore the strategies and tools that will take your virtual contact centre to the next level. Every interaction counts; let’s create exceptional experiences.
What Exactly are Customer Satisfaction Scores?
In today’s competitive business landscape, customer satisfaction is more important than ever. It’s the key to building a loyal customer base and driving long-term success. But how do you quantify an abstract notion like ‘satisfaction’?
That’s where CSAT comes in.
CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction Score, is a metric used to measure exactly how satisfied customers are with your products, services, or overall experience, usually revealed via a survey or feedback form.
Cause For Concern?
CSAT monitoring has been around for decades, but with the rise of digital and omnichannel touchpoints, it’s become a code-red priority.
In fact, over 65% of users have higher expectations for service quality today than they did even just three years ago (Netomi), and 50% of users will switch to a competitor after one bad experience (and 80% will switch to a competitor after more than one bad experience) (Zendesk).
The Institute of Customer Service has uncovered some eyebrow-raising findings in 2023. Most notably:
- The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), at 77.7 (out of 100), has experienced a steady decline since 2022.
- 16.5% of users report “a problem” with an organisation – up almost 3% since 2020.
- Improvement in satisfaction with complaint handling has stalled to a halt.
- Almost two-thirds of organisations (63%) have worsened in terms of customer satisfaction.
How Are They Calculated?
Thankfully, calculating CSAT is a relatively straightforward process.
Simply divide the number of satisfied customers by the total number of feedback survey respondents, and multiply by 100 to get a percentage score. As a formula, that’s:
(Number of satisfied customers / Total number of respondents) x 100.
While there are related satisfaction metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES) – and it’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on them – CSAT is the most widely regarded and commonly used. It provides a quick and easy way to measure customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.
Why Satisfaction Scores Are a Big Deal For Your Customer Service Teams
Customers expect a sky-high level of service quality when interacting with businesses; customer satisfaction scores play a crucial role in measuring the success of a contact centre in meeting these expectations.
Unsurprisingly, contact centres that deliver high levels of customer satisfaction are more likely to retain customers and generate repeat business. The one thing they all have in common? Using the right technology to make it happen.
Our Virtual Contact Centre (VCC) is specifically designed to improve CX and CSAT for organisations just like yours.
With the right technology in place, contact centre operators can easily provide the level of service that customers expect. By focusing on service quality and utilising CRM tools, you deliver the best possible customer experience and increase satisfaction scores.
4 Factors That Influence Customer Satisfaction Scores
Like many elements of the digital transformation journey, learning how to improve customer satisfaction scores is an ongoing process. It’s not something you ‘complete,’ in the traditional sense of the word; instead, it’s a mentality, a business culture, and a commitment to implement, test, refine, and improve.
With that said, there are a few things that figure as perpetual influencers on CSAT. Disclaimer: improving CSAT scores is one of those things where the deeper you dig, the more you find.
It really is a world unto itself: that’s why some of the most CX-successful, customer-centric companies have entire departments and budgets dedicated to exploring it.
But without going into microscopic detail, here are a few determining factors that can either positively or negatively impact your CSAT score.
- First contact resolution: Customers want their problems solved quickly and efficiently. If agents can resolve issues during the first interaction, it can lead to high satisfaction scores.
- Agent friendliness and empathy: Agents who are warm and engaging can build a strong rapport with customers and create a positive experience.
- Wait times: Long wait times are bad news and a big no-no. It’s essential to keep customers informed about wait times, and offer alternative options like callbacks or online chat.
- Channel of communication: Customers expect omnichannel communication options, including phone, email, chat, and social media. Offering multiple channels of communication can lead to higher satisfaction scores.
Understanding these factors and optimising them can dramatically help improve customer satisfaction scores and create more positive customer experiences.
7 Practical Strategies to Improve
Improving customer satisfaction scores is critical for any contact centre looking to deliver exceptional customer experiences. With the right tools, technologies, and practices in place, you can quickly boost CSAT and enhance your customer experience.
Here are seven practical strategies that you can implement today:
1. Prioritise Omnichannel Support
Customers expect to connect with brands on their preferred channels, whether it’s phone, email, chat, social media, or messaging apps.
To improve CSAT, you need to provide seamless and consistent support across all channels. With an omnichannel cloud-based platform like our Virtual Contact Centre, you can integrate all communication channels into one dashboard, making it easy for agents to handle customer enquiries with optimal efficiency.
Make time to conduct a channel audit, to determine which channels your customers are using, and invest in training your agents to handle enquiries across all channels.
2. Monitor and Measure Performance
Regular performance monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction are essential for identifying opportunities to improve service quality. Use metrics such as average handle time (AHT), first contact resolution (FCR), and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate agent performance and customer feedback.
This data helps identify gaps in your customer journey and develop strategies to close them. Make sure to provide agents with regular feedback and coaching to help them improve their performance.
3. Empower Your Agents
To improve CSAT, your agents need the right tools and information. To take just a few examples:
- A knowledge base that provides answers to common customer enquiries can save time and reduce customer wait times
- Invest in training and development programs to help agents improve their communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills
- Encourage agents to take ownership of customer enquiries and provide them with the authority to make decisions that benefit the customer
4. Implement Customer Feedback Surveys
Customer feedback surveys are perhaps the most effective way to gather insights into customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Aim to make (non-pushy) feedback requests a part of your customer interaction process, and you might consider incentivising user reviews.
Be sure to act on feedback and share results with agents to demonstrate the impact of their work.
5. Establish QA Programs
Quality assurance programs help ensure that agents are always delivering high-quality service that meets your organisation’s standards.
Use call recording and call evaluation tools to evaluate agent performance and provide feedback on areas for improvement. Action this feedback to develop coaching and training programs that help agents improve their skills and enhance their customer service.
6. Leverage Data Analytics
Data analytics can help you identify trends and patterns in customer enquiries and develop strategies to improve service quality. For example, use customer data to identify the most common user enquiries and develop self-service solutions that allow customers to find answers to their questions without agent assistance. You might also want to utilise data to optimise agent schedules and improve response times.
7. Don’t Rest on Your Laurels
Technology develops; software grows ever-more refined; trends come and go. As the world of customer-centricity evolves, new things become possible – so it’s important to continually and actively search for opportunities to be better.
This is part of what it means to effect true digital transformation. It’s a matter of culture and mindset.
Best practices were, are, and always will be essential for delivering exceptional customer experiences; conduct research and implement industry learnings to ensure that your organisation is providing the best possible service to your customers. Stay up to date with trends, and aim for your brand to be a leader when it comes to CX and satisfaction in your niche.
The Unignorable Role of Technology
Modern technology plays a crucial role in enhancing satisfaction. The future-proof and cloud-based Virtual Contact Centre, for instance, can help ensure that your organisation stays ahead of the curve. In addition, by providing a seamless omnichannel experience for your customers, you can streamline your operations and increase efficiency.
A centralised system with an integrated CRM helps you better understand your customers’ needs, preferences and history, allowing you to provide a personalised and timely service.
With the right technology in place, you can offer a consistent experience across all touchpoints and gather valuable data to improve your service quality continuously.
Technology is the backbone of any successful customer service operation, and investing in the right tools and software can help you achieve your CSAT goals.
The Fast Track to Increase Customer Satisfaction
Implementing these customer satisfaction tips and tricks, and modernising your organisation to align with a culture of continuous improvement and digital transformation, will quickly see your CSAT scores hit new levels.
Whether you’re aiming to turn existing customers into loyal brand champions, respond to and resolve customer requests in record-breaking times, or create a great first impression with new users, the top-level mission remains the same.
It’s all about exceeding customer expectations and delivering a velvety smooth, and ultra-satisfying customer service experience. That means omnichannel accessibility, accelerated response times, and personalised customer experiences, to name just a few.
This is all underpinned by future-proof and cloud-based technology such as our VCC.
Intelligent, purpose-built software is the keystone your organisation needs, the crucial piece in the puzzle to bridge the gap between users and the streamlined service they demand. With the right tools for the job, you’ll see your business pave the way to increasing customer satisfaction both now and in the future.
As a reader of the Call Handling blog, you’re entitled to FREE access to our industry report, ‘The WFH Challenge for Retail.’
In it, you’ll find a deep-dive case study on our partnership with Topps Tiles and specialised insights to prepare your service team for the future of CX. Simply contact us for a no-strings download link.