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Use Contact Centers to Identify Customer Intent

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is an attitude in response to a moment in time or call center experience. Loyalty is a behavior based on the ability to sustain that moment-in-time happiness across the customer lifecycle. As the communication channels for reviews and commentary about experiences with companies have continued to evolve, new methods for evaluating customer sentiment have been introduced.
The variety of evaluation methods allows companies to gain insights that were hard to come by in the past. By using a combination of CSAT, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Effort Score (CES), your customer service operation can establish a consistent calibration and reporting mechanism to identify progress toward objectives. Your contact center provider can also identify and monitor customer-defined value indicators to ensure that customer experiences are continuously improving over time based on shifting needs, expectations and preferences.

CSAT Can Be Misleading

Although the adherence to the top two boxes for CSAT has remained a standard measure for customer service, used as a single source of information, it can lead you astray. For example, one of the objectives when focusing on the 5 boxes for CSAT is to try to move the customers in the bottom two boxes up the scale. However, focusing solely on detractors and complainers could actually be costing you more than it’s worth. It’s not that you shouldn’t identify and resolve these issues, you should. But don’t let them allow you to overlook other key indicators that could add more value across your customer base.
In our work with a client we began looking beyond the bottom two boxes to understand what other factors could be keeping the top two boxes from reaching the goal our client had set. What we discovered was the bottom boxes were based on one-off situations that weren’t systemic. As we looked farther, we made a pretty astonishing discovery; more than 75% of customers reported only an average experience—more than 6X that of the complainer category.
These customers reported that calls felt too scripted, education was lacking and that they didn’t feel like agents listened to them. With these issues corrected, another 10% of customers were moved to the top box for superior experiences. Had the focus remained on the bottom box scores the client would have missed an opportunity for improvement on a larger scale.

Net Promoter Score is About Intent

The NPS is based on one simple question: How likely is it that you would recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? The answers to this question—based on a ranking scale of 1 – 10—enable a company to determine whether their customers are Promoters (9 – 10), Passives (7 – 8) or Detractors (1 – 6).
Because the question is related to the customer’s willingness to do something that endorses a company or brand, it tends to be more indicative of the entire customer relationship, rather than a moment in time related to a specific experience. By netting off the lowest scores against the top a more defined figure is given indicating customer happiness. Additionally, NPS is a good comparative evaluator of the validity of your CSAT measurements.

Customer Effort Must Be Streamlined

The CES measurement is the new kid on the block, introduced through research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board in 2008. It’s based on customer evaluations of how easy it is to do business with a company. With products becoming more commoditized, research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board found that customer service emerged as the differentiator. But they also found that satisfaction scores didn’t necessarily indicate extended lifecycles or loyalty as more customers they surveyed who indicated dissatisfaction said they intended to stay with the company in comparison to customers who said they were satisfied.
Effort, they found, was the underlying key. Whether the effort to switch between service channels or the expenditure of time and frustration required to reach resolution, companies need to remove obstacles and streamline customer interactions to keep them coming back.

Discerning Intent and Loyalty Can’t Be Done in Isolation

Each of these three metrics—CSAT, NPS, and CES—has a contribution to make toward improving your company’s customer relationships. It’s really in how you ask the questions that are right for your business and what looking across the measurements can tell you based on differences in perspectives. Whether you’re assessing the relationship your overall company has with customers, or their satisfaction about an interaction during a moment in time, your contact center provider can help you apply the different findings in the ways that will offer the biggest payoffs for your company. It’s also imperative to keep an open mind and not to become obsessed with the scores of one measure over another.