January 22, 2018    3 min read

When it comes to measuring customer satisfaction for a company, you may be familiar with the use of a Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a tool for measuring customer loyalty. NPS works by measuring how likely a customer is to recommend your business to a friend on a scale from 0 to 10. From here, they are lumped into three categories – ‘detractors’ (0-6), ‘passives’ (7-8), and ‘promoters’ (9-10). Then the percentage of detractors is subtracted from the percentage of promoters to give a Net Promoter Score. However, using this scale has some obvious downfalls, such as not having an accurate method of calculation, and not qualitatively gauging customer dissatisfaction. Here are a few common alternative surveying techniques for measuring customer satisfaction.

“On a Scale of 1 to Five, How Satisfied Are You?”

The traditional approach to customer satisfaction analysis is the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This scale asks a customer the simple question of ‘how satisfied were you with our service?’ The customer rates their satisfaction on sliding scale, often a 5 point scale with 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied.

This type of survey allows a customer to respond to a variety of questions in different areas of your service, such as having different satisfaction scores for the product, the customer service, and the overall experience. Businesses can consider common statistical measures such as mean, median and standard deviation to understand what the typical customer thinks.

However, the CSAT measurement can’t measure the wider relationship a customer has with a company, and may be considered a passive scale because of the indifference in replies between satisfied customers and dissatisfied ones. This can mean an inability to predict future satisfaction levels. CSAT is commonly used for measuring short-term satisfaction, but may not accurately correlate to long-term satisfaction the way other surveying techniques do.

Overall, CSAT is a good starting point to understand short-term customer satisfaction, and with follow-up questions on why a customer chose the score they gave, businesses can gain insight into what needs to be improved.

“Are We Hard Work to Deal With?”

The Customer Effort Score (CES) is another effective surveying technique, but instead of measuring satisfaction, it measures how much effort a customer had to put into their interactions with a business. The aim of this scale is to offer customers a more effortless experience, rather than solely focusing on positive service interactions. This scale generally asks the question “how much effort did it take to deal with us?”, with participants typically being asked to mark on a scale of 1-5. In this instance, 1 is a low level of effort, while 5 is a high level. It’s worth noting that ‘effort’ is a relative term – the question may be interpreted differently between individuals.

Because of this, adjustments to the measurements can include changing the question to a statement that can be agreed or disagreed with. A template for this could be the statement ‘the organisation made it easy for me to handle my issue’, with the ratings varying from strongly disagree to strongly agree. While this essentially asks a client the same question as a traditional CES survey, it eliminates the use of an arbitrary numerical scale and avoids the use of the term ‘effort’.

Just like NPS and CSAT, this scale is a good starting point for reviewing customer satisfaction, but follow-up questions are crucial. As a business looking to improve, it’s important to get the full picture.

Overall, every customer satisfaction measure has advantages and weaknesses. Just like any survey, the questions must be simple and understandable, and a large sample size should be used to offset individuals varying interpretations of the survey. With a sized good cohort and effective follow up questions, NPS, CSAT and CES are all great ways to understand how well your business is serving its customers.

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