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So you think CSAT tells the whole story?
Think again.

By Etie Hertz

June 30, 2021

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Are your customers happy with their experiences to the point where they’ll choose you over your competitors? Customer satisfaction metrics like CSAT may have you thinking “yes,” but studies show that traditional metrics don’t tell the full story. 

To truly understand what your customers think and make meaningful improvements, you’ll need to understand how satisfied they are with you in relation to competing brands, and use more effective tools to eliminate common survey biases. In this post, we’ll examine: 

1. What CSAT actually measures

2. How CSAT and other metrics fall short of measuring loyalty

3. What concrete actions you can take to ensure you’re getting the complete picture when it comes to your customers 

What does CSAT actually measure and why is it so popular? 

CSAT can help you gauge whether or not customers are satisfied with you on a basic level. Answers are typically collected and calculated via an optional customer survey that looks like this:

Overall, how satisfied are you with Loris?

In addition to CSAT, there are a few other metrics that companies use to understand their customers’ sentiment in relation to their brand, such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Some organizations have actually combined CSAT and NPS to create a Transactional NPS score to capture loyalty after certain interactions. 

CSAT and NPS remain popular because they: 

1. Let you hear directly from the customer

2. Give you immediate feedback on your team’s performance

3. Are relatively easy and cheap data points to collect

 

How do traditional metrics like CSAT fall short of measuring true customer loyalty? 

Ultimately, both CSAT and NPS are woefully insufficient for brands looking to understand both customer needs and behavior. There are 3 major reasons for this:

  1. Response rates for optional surveys are typically around 15%, so you only have insight into a small fraction of your customer interactions.
  2. The results are subject to common biases such as:
    1. Response Bias, where your company could influence the survey response using a variety of tactics, like including the agent’s name in the survey question (i.e. How was Jane’s service today?). This may influence customers to give a more positive response.
    2. Sampling Bias, which happens when the only customers surveyed are the ones who complete the customer service interaction (thus leaving out all customers who dropped off after a couple of interactions with your customer service team).
  3. Most importantly, they don’t let you see how you stack up against your competition. A study by Harvard Business Review found that just because your customers said they’d “recommend you to a friend” on a CSAT survey doesn’t mean they will recommend you over a competing brand. If they prefer to do business with your competitors, you’ll be missing out on sales, even if your CSAT results are positive. True customer loyalty comes down to wallet share, which CSAT and NPS do not examine. 
 

So, how can you mitigate these issues?

One effective approach to help you understand where your customers’ other loyalties may lie is to ask them to rank their experience with your brand directly against similar brands. We also recommend including follow up questions that allow your customers to explain what draws them to you and what draws them to your competitors. 

Collecting this kind of data will help you understand where you’re excelling, where you’re vulnerable, whether your competitors may be impacting your bottom line and how customers perceive you in relation to other companies, all of which will enable you to take the appropriate steps to building a more loyal base and gaining a larger share of their wallets. 

Another key mitigation approach is to use a tool that gives you customer sentiment insight across 100% of your conversations, instead of only the 15% from your surveys.

 

Loris’ solution to this is the Loris Satisfaction score, where 100% of messages are scored on a five-point scale based on customer sentiment and tone as they message in. Loris also sends conversations that end poorly to your QA team, so they don’t have to spend time compiling those conversations to review and audit. 

Most importantly, our score has also been tested and refined through hundreds of millions of conversations to eliminate any bias. There’s no way to manipulate the Loris Satisfaction Score.

Want to learn more about how we can give you conversational insights across all digital channels?  Get in touch!