Seven Ways to Boost CSAT and Retain Your Customers

Customer satisfaction concept with hand choosing green smiley face

While everyone acknowledges the significance of customer satisfaction, CSAT scores are an underutilised tool for promoting customer retention. Read on to rediscover how to use and improve CSAT.

“How satisfied are you with the product/service/experience?”  

It’s a simple question, and it’s all a CSAT survey boils down to. However, interpretation is slightly more complex than just ‘the higher, the better’.

Not only are there different ways to rate and calculate CSAT, but there are also different strategies to use when deploying the survey in the first place.

How to Calculate CSAT

Satisfaction is not binary, nor does a yes/no choice provide much insight for customer service professionals.

Most people are accustomed to the well-known CSAT five-point scale which provides a richer understanding while being more user-friendly and less subjective than a ten-point scale.

  1. Very dissatisfied
  2. Somewhat dissatisfied
  3. Neutral: neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  4. Somewhat satisfied
  5. Very satisfied

Whatever the answer, the question that should quickly follow is why the customer chose that option?

Adding a comments box to a CSAT survey is almost standard practice for that reason. It allows willing participants to provide perspective on what influenced their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and potentially even specific action points to follow up on.

When it comes to calculating CSAT scores from these surveys, there are actually two methods, and both are ultimately expressed as percentages.

This is important when it comes to tracking and benchmarking; consistency is key. It’s easy to come to the wrong conclusion when comparing values that haven’t been calculated the same way. Using the CSAT five-point scale, below is an introduction to each method:

Average of “Composite” CSAT Scores = The Sum of All the Scores ÷ The Maximum Possible Score (the number of participants ×5) x100

If all customers were very dissatisfied and scored 1 the outcome would be a CSAT score of 20%. If everyone scored 2, the result would be 40% and so on in 20% increments up to 100% for consistently being rated 5.

A word of caution, polarised results can masquerade as ‘neutral’, a common consideration when using averages.

“Detailed” CSAT Scores = The Number of “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied” Customers ÷ The Total Number of Customers Who Replied x100

By using only positive scores, this represents happy customers and may be a better predictor of customer retention.

When to Use CSAT Surveys

While valuable, CSAT scores only offer a fleeting glimpse into customer satisfaction at specific moments. It’s the context that brings meaning to these snapshots of customer opinion.

As with any KPI, an interpret-with-care warning applies and there are pitfalls to avoid: small sample sizes aren’t reliable. Equally, only sampling one or two touchpoints won’t reflect overall brand satisfaction.

Likewise, extrapolating limited results into generalisations leads to misinterpretation. Consumer surveys, like the CCMA’s Voice of the Contact Centre Consumer, have regularly shown how opinion varies with context: for example, different touchpoints, customer service as a whole versus agent-led service, contact centre versus brand satisfaction.

A winning strategy is to cast a wide net that includes numerous touchpoints and life cycle moments.

This maximises opportunity and avoids an overly narrow focus or an unbalanced one which could yield biased results, for example only sampling agent-led experiences. The following are all great triggers for a CSAT survey:

  • Discovery – after browsing the website or signing up for a newsletter.
  • Post-purchase – feedback on the purchase process and products offered.
  • Post-experience – including self-service and agent-led touchpoints.
  • Renewal or repeat purchases – these customers are not necessarily satisfied; loyalty could be driven by convenience or cost.

Crucially, unless CSAT scores stimulate internal discussion and action, there isn’t a whole lot of point in running the surveys in the first place.

The Art of Improving CSAT

Understanding the drivers of customer satisfaction is the starting point for designing strategies to improve it.

The problem is that the best CSAT strategies aren’t always aligned with optimal operational or business performance.

Theoretically, there comes a point where the costs of trying to increase CSAT further outweigh the benefits.

So, in the quest for sustainable ways to optimise scores, a good starting point is to consider the three C’s of customer satisfaction described by McKinsey back in 2014:

Customer-Journey Consistency

Each experience is part of a more extensive journey. Small inconsistencies may seem insignificant, but it only takes one underperforming touchpoint in a high-traffic journey to have a significant impact.

Emotional Consistency

Positive emotions promote satisfaction, and consistently positive emotions build trust, which in turn promotes positive perception.

Communication Consistency

Key messages that define a brand need to be repeated and embodied in actions that customers recognise; keeping service promises is a central component.

So, with consistency in mind, here are seven practical ways to improve CSAT.

1. Be Intentional About Intent

Customers want rapid resolution, and it’s easy to think that the reasons they make contact largely stay the same.

But often customer service is built on assumptions about the customer that haven’t been tested. Using speech and text analytics to generate an accurate real-time picture of what customers need opens the door to a much more intentional service provision.

Customer language can be used consistently across a range of services to make them more intuitive, and intents can inform the addition of new touchpoints tailored to specific needs. Making it easier to achieve resolution naturally increases satisfaction.

2. Don’t Neglect the ‘Basics’

There are some things customers need to do repeatedly, like making a payment or submitting meter readings.

Providing these ‘basic functions’ won’t score brownie points and might not affect a detailed CSAT score, but getting them right is a huge part of providing a consistently good experience.

Neglecting them, on the other hand, can be a significant source of dissatisfaction, a deal-breaker that will send customers to competitors.

Is the accessibility and effort required to resolve core queries evolving in line with customer expectations?

3. Engineer Resolution

The purpose of any touchpoint should be query resolution, engineered to meet clear objectives, formed through an understanding of customer intent.

This triggers a critical question: is the customer’s intent straightforward or predictable enough for self-service resolution?

If so, the finer details matter – think accessibility, language, tone and format. These nuances significantly impact the quality of the experience and, ultimately, satisfaction.

Self-service experiences should also seamlessly guide users toward agent-led channels when complexity or urgency rises.

Agents are often the preferred route for customers with this type of query; unfortunately, even progress on these channels can be limited by a lack of training and/or access to a customer’s interaction history.

Engineering resolution is ultimately about user empowerment; intelligent design, clear communication and cutting-edge AI-driven technology equip users with knowledge, personalised advice, and next-step suggestions to achieve resolution.

4. Identify Other Drivers of Customer Satisfaction

What delights customers? It’s easy to make some reasonably well-educated guesses, but why speculate when it’s possible to ask?

That’s the beauty of the comments box on the CSAT survey: satisfied customers can specify why they’re satisfied; organisations just need to figure out how to replicate it.

5. Personalise Interactions

Generic messages, or worse, inappropriate advice, quickly undermine satisfaction. Ensure agents can access an integrated omnichannel history to target messaging to customer context and accelerate problem-solving.

Identification and Verification (ID&V) can be partially or fully automated to reduce the effort needed to get more accurate answers.

Self-service queries can also prompt customers having difficulty to move to agent-assisted channels.

The key to reducing frustration is to ensure that the agent has access to all the information previously supplied by the customer in the self-service channel.

6. Build Rapport

When organisations try to keep in touch, with enticing reasons to engage and communicate about values and lifestyle, it can build a more positive emotional consistency.

This relationship can help manage expectations and weather storms along the way, for example, by communicating honestly about any problems or service disruptions.

Customers who feel valued will have a more positive view of their experiences and be more forgiving of any inevitable anomalies in service quality.

Agent communication skills or soft skills play a role in this each time they connect with a customer and that is why chasing ever-lower average handling times doesn’t align with improved satisfaction.

Act on Feedback

Continuous improvement helps improve both brand satisfaction and individual experiences. This is another instance when following up on CSAT comment boxes can provide a gold mine of insights, though in this case, it’s looking for drivers of dissatisfaction that can be rectified or improved.

Communicating any successes is also beneficial, demonstrating to customers that their opinion is valued and makes a difference.

Improving CSAT With CCaaS

Odigo is passionate about designing customer experiences inspired by empathy and driven by technology. It’s this interplay between the human element of service and supporting technology which optimises contact centres for customer satisfaction.

Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions provide an omnichannel foundation on which to build cohesive services.

Automation and AI-driven features enhance efficiency and empower users while analytics and KPI tracking can inform decision making and service evolution.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Odigo – View the Original Article

For more information about Odigo - visit the Odigo Website

About Odigo

Odigo Odigo helps large organisations connect with individuals through world-class, cloud-based contact centre solutions. Our cutting-edge, proprietary technologies enable a seamless, efficient, omnichannel experience for your customers and a satisfying, engaging experience for your service agents.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: Odigo

Published On: 1st Feb 2024
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